International Student Services

International Student Services

International Education

The University of Hawaiʻi: A Global University

The core mission of International Student Services (ISS) is to facilitate the academic success and personal development, growth, and transformation of international students as they pursue their educational and career goals. ISS provides a holistic approach and array of services designed to assist international students with clarifying and achieving their academic, career, and personal goals while complying with 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 awareness, understanding, and competency in our increasingly global community. In addition, ISS advocates for and supports efforts for advancing internationalization on campus.

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

Students from different countries holding flags

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 US. Topics include what to consider if you want to study in the US, how to apply for a visa to enter the US, how to maintain your status while in the US, guidelines for traveling back home, and working in the US.

Connect Virtually

Not on campus and need to connect with International Student Services? Easily schedule an appointment online here. Contact the Director at 808-932-7467 or email mellon at to set up a virtual meeting. You can also make an appointment to connect virtually with the Director using STAR Balance (look for UH Hilo International Services under "Specialized Student Services") or by sending an email

Upcoming Events & Activities

Welcome with map of the world

New International Student Orientation Meeting

Thursday, January 5, 2023
9:00 am at the Student Services Center Room 201

All new international students are required to attend this orientation meeting. You will learn about important information such as visa regulations, health services and health insurance, important dates and deadlines, and upcoming events and activities. Immediately following the meeting, we will take you to get a TB test and any other required vaccinations you may need, get a UH ID card before the campus-wide orientation program begins, and a tour of campus. Bring your passport (and cash or card if you need to get a TB test and/or other vaccinations). Breakfast and lunch provided.

university of hawaii at hilo campus

Meeting for New Pacific Islander Students

Tuesday, January 10, 2023
7:00-8:00 pm online on Zoom

Join this follow-up orientation session on Zoom for new Pacific Islander students and learn about how to get a job on campus, a U.S. social security number, and health insurance. Also learn about upcoming events, activities, and deadlines, and resources on campus to help you be successful! Check your UH email for the Zoom link and passcode.

lava flowing in volcanic caldera

Volcanoes National Park Trip

Wednesday, January 18, 2023
6:00-9:00 pm

View the spectacular lava flow at Kilauea volcano at the Volcanoes National Park! Check your UH email for more information and to sign up. Space is limited.

ancient philosophers

International Speaker Series: Why the Idea of "Western" Philosophy is a Racist Myth

Thursday, January 19, 2023
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

Featuring Dr. Christopher Lauer of the UH Hilo Philosophy Department. Co-sponsored with the United Nations Association-Hawaiʻi Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

image of a rabbit with the words "2023 year of the rabbit"

Chinese New Year Celebration
Monday, January 23, 2023
10:00 am-1:00 pm on the Library Lanai

Check out the displays of Chinese handicrafts, papercrafts, spring couplets, and of course, Chinese zodiac signs! Student volunteers will host calligraphy tables, papercraft tables, and recreation corners, including lion costumes, Chinese birdie kicking, pitch pot, and fan dance. Come pick your zodiac, a cute paper rabbit, spring couplets with best wishes, try brush writing, and get your name written in Chinese with good meaning, while enjoying soothing traditional Chinese music! Put on lion costumes and try to make it blinking and its ears wiggling! Sponsored by the Chinese Studies Certificate.

man teaching a student how to make a lei

Ku'u Lei Hilo

Tuesday, January 24, 2023
5:00-7:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

Join us for an introduction to the Hawaiian language and other activities to introduce you to Native Hawaiian culture. Check your UH email for details and to sign up. Space is limited.

students in the forest

PIPES Internship Information Session

Thursday, January 26, 2023
4:00 pm at the Pacific Islander Student Center

Come learn about paid summer internships for Pacific Islanders in environmental-related careers with PIPES (Pacific Internship Program for Exploring Sciences)! Applications are due January 31 (but may be extended to February 7).

work in the USA

Working in the US after Graduation

Wednesday, February 15, 2023
4:00-5:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room 201

Students on F-1 visas have the option of staying in the US after graduation and working for one year or more. Come to this workshop to learn about this option and the application process.

US Agency for International Development from the American People

Pacific Islander & Asian American Voices: Inclusivity for a Stronger World

February 15-17, 2023
Virtual conference

This virtual event will bring together students, alumni, faculty and administrators from Asian American and Pacific Islander serving institutions, as well as other members and friends of the diverse Asian American and Pacific Islander community to learn about USAID (the US Agency for International Development), careers in international affairs, and how to build new partnerships. Speakers will include members of USAID senior leadership, staff, and guests from the public and private sectors. Click here for more information and to register.

man holding a Ukraine flag in front of destroyed and burning buildings

International Speaker Series: The Ukraine Crisis: Its Implications

Thursday, February 16, 2023
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

Featuring Dr. Su-Mi Lee of the UH Hilo Political Science Department. The Russian invasion of Ukraine began almost one year ago. Why couldn’t the United Nations stop Russia from invading Ukraine? Why doesn’t it deploy troops to put an end to Russia’s atrocities? This talk reviews the scope and capacity of the United Nations and discusses what the United Nations can and cannot do in dealing with global issues like the Ukraine crisis. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Association-Hawaiʻi Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

canoe sailing on the ocean

Voyage through International Night

Friday, February 17, 2023
11:00 am-2:00 pm on the Library Lanai

Get ready for International Night by voyaging through educational booths about the places that will be performing at International Night! Food, music, and free giveaways.

forest in the pacific islands

USDA Pacific Islands Graduate Fellowship - Information Session

Wednesday, February 22, 2023
4:00 pm online

Join this information session to learn about the USDA Forest Service's Graduate Fellowship for students in the master's degree program in Tropical Conservation Biology & Environmental Science from the US-affiliated Pacific Islands (Guam, American Samoa, CNMI, Palau, Marshall Islands, and FSM). The fellowship comes with generous support for two years, including a stipend, tuition costs, health insurance, and costs for travel and supplies. To join the Zoom meeting, click here - passcode: API.

Samoan students dancing

International Night

Friday, February 24, 2023
7:30 pm at the Performing Arts Center

International Nights feature performances from the many different cultures and countries represented at UH Hilo. International Nights is a long-standing tradition at UH Hilo that spans over four decades, and is a favorite event on campus among students, the community, and visitors. See the shows, see the world! For more details, go to the International Nights website.

Puipuia le ola protecting life study

Puipuia Le Ola: Protecting Life Study

Wednesday, March 1, 2023
12:00 pm online

Gain insight into the inequitable effects of Covid-19 on Pacific Islander communities and the underlying social and cultural factors that contribute to health outcomes. Register here.

Image of 5 women from different countries

International Speaker Series: Women Rising

Thursday, March 9, 2023
5:00-6:00 pm online on Zoom

In observance of International Women's Day, hear the voices of UH Hilo women from around the world as they talk story about gender and women's issues in their countries and cultures and their experiences in the US. Co-sponsored by the United Nations Association-Hawaiʻi Island Chapter. Click here to join the meeting (passcode: 891058).

giant stone statues on Easter Island

Me'e Hakaha'ere-'ere Moai (Transporting giant moai on Rapa Nui)

Thursday, March 23, 2023
4:00-5:00 pm at Haleʻōlelo, Conference Room Lumi Pāhiahia

Rapa Nui, famous for its nearly 1,000 giant statues (moai), has been widely misunderstood by visitors and researchers alike. Drawing on more than two decades of field research, Dr. Terry Hunt will share how the multi-ton moai were transported to every corner of the island. Dr. Hunt’s book (with Carl Lipo), The Statues that Walked, won a national award from the Society for American Archaeology and his research has been featured in National Geographic (July 2012) as well as in a full-length Nova-National Geographic TV documentary. Dr. Hunt is a graduate of UH Hilo and presently a Professor of Anthropology at the University of Arizona.

Grant Muagututia

Fafaga'i 'Upu: Drawing on Linguistic Research to Inform Language Pedagogy

Friday, March 24, 2023
4:00-5:00 pm at Haleʻōlelo, Conference Room Lumi Pāhiahia

Presentation by Dr. Grant Muagututi'a, Assistant Professor of Linguistics at California State University, San Marcos. As a Samoan speaker from Oceanside, CA, he works closely with Samoan communities in the diaspora to maintain their language and cultural heritage through linguistics and the performing arts.

Questions about GTP?  Join a live session

Tax Sessions with a Live Professional

April 10, 11, 13 & 17

Free tax sessions with a live professional (including questions and answers) for students on visas. Contact the ISS Director for details about how to join one of the sessions.

two students in caps and gowns with lei

Pau Hana! Graduates Recognition and End-of-the-Semester Dinner

Friday, May 5, 2023
5:00-7:00 pm at the Pacific Islander Student Center (Campus Center 307)

Take a break before final exams and celebrate the end of the semester as we recognize students who are graduating this semester. Free food!

whale in the ocean

Whale Watching Trip

Date & Time To Be Announced

Take a boat trip in Hilo Bay to see the humpback whales! More details coming soon.

Guy zip lining over a waterfall

Zip Line Adventure Trip

Date & Time To Be Announced

Zip line over waterfalls on the Hamakua Coast! More details will be forthcoming.

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 2021-2022:

  • Chloe Molou (Vanuatu) - President
  • Alvin Radford (Pohnpei, FSM) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Natsumi Takeda (Japan) - Secretary
  • Ginate Mahuru (Papua New Guinea) - Treasurer
  • Mio Kamioka (Papua New Guinea/Japan) - Social Media Coordinator
  • Leoshina Kariha (Papua New Guinea) - Volunteer Coordinator


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

About the Director

James “Jim” P. Mellon

Executive Director, Global & Intercultural Education Programs; Director, International Student Services & Intercultural Education

+1 (808) 932-7467

+1 (808) 932-7471

Student Services Center, room E-204

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 Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, 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 Lanaʻi to Mauʻi, 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.