International Student Services

International Student Services

International Education

The University of Hawai╩╗i: A Global University

International Student Services (ISS) supports international students with achieving their academic and personal goals while complying with the regulations pertaining to their immigration status. ISS serves as an interface between UH Hilo and international students to facilitate communication, understanding and appreciation between international students and the UH Hilo community. ISS also aims to facilitate and assist all students at UH Hilo, regardless of national origin, with developing intercultural competence. Ultimately, the goals of international education are to advance learning and scholarship and to increase intercultural awareness, understanding and competency in our increasingly global community.

Information about applying for admission to UH Hilo can be found on the Admissions website.

Students from different countries holding flags

Know Before You Go: Travel During the COVID-19 Pandemic

Due to the fluid nature of the COVID-19 (coronavirus) situation, International Student Services recommends that students weigh the urgency of travel. In addition, with the increase in COVID-19 cases and entry restrictions in the U.S. and abroad, students should prepare for any event if they plan to travel, domestically or internationally. Before traveling, consult with the ISS Director and refer to the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention's information for travel. Another resource to consult is the National Association of Foreign Student Administrators.

New International Students

If you have been accepted to UH Hilo, view a list of important dates and things you need to do. Also check out Study Guide to the States for an online, interactive resource to help international students navigate through the process of studying in the United States. Topics include what to consider if you want to study in the United States, how to apply for a visa to enter the United States, how to maintain your status while in the U.S., guidelines for traveling back home, and working in the U.S.

Upcoming Events & Activities

Resilient Pacific: Cultural Connections among People from the Micronesian Region as Protective Factors

Micronesian peoples

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
12:00-1:00 pm by Zoom

Register to receive the Zoom link here. Presentation by Rebecca Stotzer of the UH Manoa School of Social Work. Diverse people from the geographic region of Micronesia present one of the newest and fastest growing groups of newcomers in Hawai'i, but many people from Micronesia face significant hardships when they migrate. This talk will examine data collected from Micronesians living in Hawai'i to assess their experiences with anti-Micronesian bias, as well as examining both anxiety and depression. Given the stressors associated with migration, this analysis also examines how feeling pride and connection to cltures of origin can serve as protective factors for people from the region and can be a source of resilience and strength.

Working in the U.S. After Graduation

Work in the USA

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
4:00-5:00 pm online via Zoom

If you are planning on graduating in December (or May), you are invited to come to a workshop to learn about your option to work in the U.S. after graduation. Learn OPT (Optional Practical Training) and H1-B visas ("work visas"). Contact the Director of International Student Services for the Zoom link and passcode.

Resilience in Palau

Rock islands in Palau

Wednesday, September 23, 2020
12:00-1:00 pm via Zoom

While Palau is one of the last COVID-free countries on Earth, it has not been unaffected by the ongoing pandemic. This presentation by Elsei Tellei will endeavor to describe the current climate in Palau, sharing how Palauans are already thinking about how to be more resilient both during and after Coronavirus. In particular, we will talk about some work ongoing for the Palau National Marine Sanctuary and how work is being done to empower locals to take control of the domestic pelagic fishery, for both economic diversification and food security. Register to receive the Zoom link here.

Resilient Pacific: Understanding Adaptive Capacity in Micronesian Fishing Communities

man holding fish

Wednesday, September 30, 2020
12:00-1:00 pm via Zoom

Free online presentation by Supin Wongbusarakum, Coastal Fisheries Social Scientist with the Pacific Island Community, and Matt Gorstein, Coastal Economics Specialist with the South Carolina Sea Grant Consortium. Register to receive the Zoom link here.

Kakou: Let's Work it Out

conflict resolution day: an annual international celebration

Friday, October 16, 2020
5:45-7:00 pm via Zoom

Free workshop on conflict resolution skills in observance of International Conflict Resolution Day featuring speaker T. Ilihia Gionson, Board President of the Hawaii Island United Way and Principal, Hiehie Communications. When we approach issues with a clear vision and focus, grounded in aloha for the people and places affected by the issue, we can express our values and concerns in a productive way. In this interactive session, we will explore examples of individual and community advocacy that resulted in positive change in Hawaii and beyond. Take away some communication skills for the real world--no matter the media--that you can use with aloha. Register online here to get the Zoom link.

Health Insurance Enrollment for Pacific Islanders

health insurance

Date, Time & Location To Be Announced

Once-a-year opportunity for Pacific Islanders to apply for low-cost health insurance.

Orientation for New International Students

welcome international students

Thursday, January 7, 2021
8:00 am at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Meet new international students at this special orientation session for new international students! Learn about important things you need to know as your begin your journey at UH Hilo. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.

Lunch & Learn

lunch and learn

Friday, January 15, 2021
12:00-1:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Special session for new international students about topics such as how to get a job on campus, dealing with culture shock, and resources on campus to help you succeed! Lunch provided.

Health Insurance Enrollment for New Pacific Islanders

health insurance

Date, Time & Location To Be Announced

New Pacific Islanders should attend this session to sign up for low-cost health insurance.

Mixed Plate Dinner

Hawaiian food

Date, Time & Location To Be Announced

Learn about Hawaiian culture and values from Native Hawaiian students. Dinner provided. Advanced sign up required.

International Nights

Samoans dancing

Dates, Time & Location To Be Announced

UH Hilo's annual show featuring performances from the many different cultures represented at UH Hilo! Click here for more information.

International Women's Day

international women's day on march 8

Date, Time & Location To Be Announced

Zip Line Adventure

person zip lining

Date, Time & Location To Be Announced

Zip Line Adventure near Hilo! Take your need for speed to new heights on this thrilling zip line adventure. Covering nearly two miles of gorgeous tropical river gorges, you will view multiple different waterfalls while soaring over 160 feet above them. The certified staff will guide you over one of the longest lines on Hawai╩╗i Island at more than 2,400 feet in length! Ride the only all side-by-side dual-track zip line in Hawai╩╗i. Cost: $50 (cash only, non-refundable). Space is limited to 30 students. Sign up at the International Student Services office in Room E-202 in the Student Services Center.

Hawai╩╗i: The Untold Story

Queen Liliu'okalani

Date, Time & Location To Be Announced

Learn about the untold story of the overthrow of the Hawaiian kingdom and American imperialism and colonization.

Waipi'o Valley Trip During Spring Break

group of students at the top of Waipio valley

Date, Time & Location To Be Announced

Ho'ike Night at the Merrie Monarch Festival

group of men dancing Hawaiian hula

April 2021
Time & Location To Be Announced

International Student Association (ISA)

International Student Association ISA is a student club for international students and their friends. The club's motto is "Unite, Serve, Educate". The club organizes trips, social events and service opportunities throughout the year, as well as UH Hilo's annual International Nights. Visit the International Student Association website for more information.

ISA Officers for 2019-2020:

  • Mirei Sugita (Japan) - President
  • Amanda-Rose Bagadouwe (Nauru) - Vice President
  • Sinarleen Peres (Kosrae, FSM) - Secretary
  • Darla Raymond (Pohnpei, FSM) - Treasurer
  • Akaraporn Phongsuwan (Thailand) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Masasinge Hideos (Palau) - Social Media Coordinator


Follow ISA on Facebook , Twitter & Instagram (@uhhisa)!

Nandar's Story

Mya Yee Nandar

Mya Yee Nandar, a UH Hilo student from Burma (Myanmar), was interviewed on BBC's One Square Mile .

About the Director

Jim Mellon, Ph.D.

Jim Mellon has been the Director of International Student Services & Intercultural Education since 2011. Jim earned his bachelor's degree from Duke University and master's degree from the University of Hawai╩╗i at M─ünoa, where he was immersed in intercultural programs as a grantee with the East-West Center. He previously served as the Assistant Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs & Dean of Students at UH Hilo.

Goals: Facilitate the success of international students and promote the development of intercultural competence among all students with an emphasis on social justice.

Did You Know? He swam 28.5 miles around New York City, won the 10-mile Maui channel swim from Lana╩╗i to Mau╩╗i, competed in the Ironman Triathlon World Championships four times, and lived and worked on the island of Pohnpei in Micronesia as a volunteer teacher for three years.