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

Orientation for New International Students

Welcome international students

Wednesday, August 19, 2020
8:00 am at the University Classroom Building (UCB) Room 100

All new international students must attend the required meeting for new international students. 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, TB test, and a tour of campus. There is no fee required to participate in this special meeting.

Welcome Back Party!

Students eating

Friday, August 28, 2020
5:30 pm at the Student Life Center

Food, fun, games & prizes! Annual party to welcome new international students and welcome back returning international students. Bring your validated UH student ID card. Free!

Lunch and Learn

Lunch and learn

Friday, September 4, 2020
12:00-1:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Meeting for new international students -- lunch provided! Topics include how to get a job on campus, dating and relationships in the United States, and staying health in your new home. Free! No need to sign up -- just come!

Host Family Reception

Students with their host families

Friday, September 11, 2020
5:30 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Reception for new international students to meet their host families. Light pupu and refreshments provided. Advanced sign up required.

Working in the U.S. After Graduation

Work in the USA

Wednesday, September 16, 2020
4:00-5:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

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").

Mixed Plate Dinner

Hawaiian food

Date To Be Announced

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

Zip Line Adventure

person zip lining

Date 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 To Be Announced

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

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.