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International Student Services & Intercultural Education

International Education

The University of Hawaiʻi: A Global University

The International Student Services & Intercultural Education (ISS & IE) program has two primary missions. The first is to assist international students with clarifying and attaining their academic and personal goals while complying with the regulations pertaining to their immigration status. ISS & IE serves as an interface between UH Hilo and international students in order to facilitate communication, understanding and appreciation between them. The second mission is 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.

Check out Study Guide to the States for an online, interactive resource to help international students navigate the international student process. Use this guide to learn about 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.

Exchange Students with flags representing their countries

New International Students

Welcome International Students If you have been accepted to UH Hilo for the Spring 2019 semester, view a list of important dates and things you need to do.

Upcoming Events & Activities

Smiling students


Saturday, November 3, 2018
Campus Center Plaza

Youth empowerment day for Pacific Islander students in the community.

person zip lining

Zip Line Adventure

Saturday, November 10, 2018

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 Hawaii Island at more than 2,400 feet in length! Ride the only all side-by-side dual-track zip line in Hawaii. 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.

Queen Lili'uokalani

Hawai'i: The Untold Story

Tuesday, November 13, 2018
5:30 pm - 7:00 pm at UCB Room 118

Learn about the history of the Hawaiian kingdom and and the events that led to its illegal overthrow. Presented by Kalani Makekau-Whittaker.

United States Citizenship and Immigration Services

Immigration Options for Students

Thursday, November 15, 2018
9:00 am - 10:00 am at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Learn about your options to try to obtain permanent residency (a "green card") to stay in the United States. Presentation by Kamana Mathur, Community Relations Officer with the U.S. Citizenship & Immigration Services.

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, November 15, 2018
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Monitoring Indigenous Plant Diversity in a Residential Rainforest in Volcano

Featuring Dr. Emmet Judziewicz, Emeritus Professor of Biology, University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point.

United Nations Day

United Nations Day

Friday, November 16, 2018
Library Lanai

Celebrate the amazing geographic and ethnic diversity represented at UH Hilo during United Nations Day! A Parade of Nations featuring students from around the globe will be featured. Educational displays from countries around the world, music and special performances! Free and open to the public.

Summit of Maunakea

Maunakea Trip

Friday, November 16, 2018

Visit the summit of Maunakea to see the sunset from the top of the mountain and do some stargazing.

Health insurance

Health Insurance Enrollment

Saturday, November 17, 2018
9:00 am-3:00 pm at UCB 207

Students from the Compact of Free Association nations and American Samoa are eligible to apply for health insurance subsidized by the State of Hawai'i. Bring your passport, address, phone number, birthdate, I-94, US social security card/number, and proof of income (if you work, such as a paycheck stub/receipt). To get your I-94, click here. If you do not yet have a US social security number, bring a completed social security application form, your passport, and a copy of your I-94 to the Social Security Administration office located at the Prince Kuhio Plaza in Hilo (open Monday-Friday 8:30 am-2:30 pm, except Wednesdays when the office closes at 11:30 am).

Federated States of Micronesia Flag

FSM Citizen Voter Registration

Saturday, December 8, 2018
9:00 am - 3:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 307

A representative from the FSM National Election Office will be registering new voters and distributing voter ID applications and absentee ballot forms. All registration applicants must be FSM citizens, must be 18 years of age prior to election day (March 5, 2019), and must provide a copy of their passport or birth certificate.

Welcome new international students

New International Student Orientation Meeting

Thursday, January 3, 2019
8:00 am - 10:30 am at the Student Services Center Room W-201
(view a map of the UH Hilo campus for a map of the UH Hilo campus)

All international students are required to attend this meeting. Bring your passport (and, if you are a student on an F-1 visa, also bring your I-20 Form and proof of health insurance). At the orientation meeting, you will learn about important information, such as registration for classes, placement tests, adjusting to life at UH Hilo and on the Big Island, cultural differences, and much more. You will begin to make life-long friends! You will also get your UH ID card and TB test. There is no fee required to participate in this special orientation meeting for international students. Breakfast and lunch will be served.

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, January 17, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Featuring Dr. Lara Gomez, Director of Clinical Education at the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy.

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, February 21, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Featuring Dr. Sunyoung Kim, UH Hilo Psychology Department.

Samoan dancers

International Nights 2019

Friday, February 22 &
Saturday, February 23, 2019
7:30 pm at the Performing Arts Center

See the shows! See the world! UH Hilo's annual event showcasing performances from around the globe. Visit the International Nights webpage for more information.

International women's day

International Women's Day

Friday, March 8, 2019

Check back for more information!

International Speaker Series

International Topics Speaker Series

Thursday, March 28, 2019
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

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 2018-2019:

  • Felicia Andrew (Palau) - President
  • Alik Jackson (Kosrae, FSM) - Vice President
  • Mirei Sugita (Japan) - Secretary
  • Bertha Marie Lotte (Kosrae, FSM) - Treasurer
  • Irie Taguchi (Japan) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Lucy Maino (Papua New Guinea) - Social Media Coordinator


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

Nandar's Story

Mya Yee Nandar

Check out this fascinating story (A Journey of 7,000 Miles Began With a Single Snake) by Mya Yee Nandar, a UH Hilo student from Burma (Myanmar), featured in the International Student Voice magazine. Also check out her two-part story Like Crabs in a Basket. Nandar was also 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 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.