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International Student Services & Intercultural Education

International Education

The University of Hawai╩╗i: 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

If you have been accepted to UH Hilo for the Spring 2018 semester, view a list of important dates and things you need to do.

Upcoming Events & Activities

International Speaker Series

Thursday, October 19, 2017
Chile: Overcoming the Legacies of Dictatorship
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr.Su-Mi Lee of the UH Hilo Political Science Department. Free.

Let's Work it Out: International Conflict Resolution Day Workshop

Friday, October 20, 2017
5:00 pm - 7:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

In observance of International Conflict Resolution Day, Mala╩╗e Erikson will present a free workshop on "Dealing with Anger: Steps to Understanding and Transformation." Erickson is a non-violent communication (compassionate communication) teacher and practitioner. Register online at Sponsored by Kuikahi Mediation Center, Rotary Club of South Hilo, Hilo Bay Rotary Club, Political Science Department and International Student Services.


Saturday, October 21, 2017
8:00 am - 4:00 pm at the Campus Center Plaza


PacYES is an event that brings Pacific Islander high school students and their families to the UH Hilo campus to motivate, inspire and inform them about higher education opportunities and resources and various careers. The event is designed to expose high school students to college student role models and encourage them to pursue higher education.

Dolphin Trip

Saturday, October 28, 2017
7:00 am - 4:00 pm

Description of photo

Feel the thrill of a lifetime as you touch, feed and swim with a dolphin! Have fun swimming with dolphins in a shallow, waist-deep lagoon on the property of the Hilton Waikoloa Hotel (about 90 minutes from Hilo). The event will include learning about ocean ecosystems in Hawaii. You will also be allowed to spend some time snorkeling in the Hilton hotel lagoon. Cost is $30 (cash only, no refunds). Space is limited. International students can sign up at the International Student Services office starting on Monday, October 16. Other students can sign up at the Student Life Center starting on Monday, October 23.


Saturday, November 4, 2017
Campus Center

Students and citizens from the Compact of Free Association nations can find out about and sign up for health insurance, as well as participate in health screening and learn about wellness resources.

Zip Line Adventure!

Saturday, November 11, 2017
7:00 am-2:00 pm - Meet in front of UCB

Zip living above a waterfall

Join the International Student Association for a 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). (The regular cost is $179, so this is a huge discount!) Space is limited to 30 students. Sign up at the International Student Services office in Room E-202 in the Student Services Center. Deadline to sign up: November 1.

International Education Week

International education week events

International Speaker Series

Thursday, November 16, 2017
Impact of Climate Change on Freshwater Resources
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Yiqing Li of the UH Hilo College of Agriculture, Forestry & Natural Resource Management. Free.

United Nations Day

Friday, November 17, 2017
10:00 am - 1:00 pm on the Library Lanai

flags from around the world

Celebrate United Nations Day and International Education Week! UH Hilo is one of the most diverse college campuses in the U.S. Come check out the tables showcasing the different countries represented at UH Hilo and the Parade of Nations!

International Speaker Series

Thursday, January 18, 2018
Cyber-Security Issues
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Shawon S. M. Rahman of the UH Hilo Computer Science Department. Free.

Workshop: Working in the U.S. After Graduation

Tuesday, February 6, 2018
4:00 - 5:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

If you are planning on graduating in May or August, 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").

International Speaker Series

Thursday, February 15, 2018
Why Animals Matter
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Katherine Young of the UH Hilo Political Science Department. Free.

International Nights 2018

Samoan Dancers perform at UH Hilo's International Nights

Friday & Saturday, February 23 & 24, 2018
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.

Masters of the Currents

Masters of the currents

Thursday, March 8, 2018
7:30 pm at the Performing Arts Center

Calling upon the shared histories of immigrants in Hawaii, Masters of the Currents serves as a creative bridge between new and old immigrant communities. Lead artists Ova Saopeng and Leilani Chan have created a performance project that uncovers the disconnections in the community, explores their underlying causes and opens an ongoing dialog that seeks sustained healing for a fractured community. They have been collecting stories from members of the Micronesian community through interviews, story circles and ensemble workshops. Community leaders, cultural bearers and educators across immigrant groups have come together to inform the Masters of the Currents theatre production. Tickets available at the Performing Arts Center Box Office. UH Hilo/HCC students: $12 advance purchase/$17 at the door.

Thursday, March 15, 2018
Good Health, Well Being
5:00 pm - 6:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

international speaker series

Featuring Dr. Leng Chee Chang of the UH Hilo College of Pharmacy. Free.

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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 2017-2018:

  • Felicia Andrew (Palau) - President
  • Anna Mikkelsen (Denmark) - Vice President
  • Lucy Maino (Papua New Guinea) - Treasurer
  • Annjennette William (FSM) - Secretary
  • Irie Taguchi (Japan) - Volunteer Coordinator
  • Bertha Marie Lotte (FSM) - Volunteer Coordinator
10 ISA students pose with ISA Director Jim Mellon
ISA Officers 2016-2017

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

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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.

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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.

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