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International Student Services

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

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

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.

plate of local food

Mixed Plate Dinner

Tuesday, January 22, 2019
5:30 pm - 7:30 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

Are you interested in learning about Hawaiian and local cultures, values and history? New international students are invited to come to a casual "mixed plate" dinner featuring local food and the opportunity to learn about Hawaiian and cultures from Native Hawaiian students. Free, but space is limited!

Health insurance

Health Insurance Sign Up for Pacific Islanders

Monday, January 28, 2019
2:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

New 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. Come to this session to apply for health insurance. 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).


Whale Watching Trip

Saturday, February 2, 2019
Meet at 7:30 am at the Student Life Center, return to campus around 10:30 am

Special whale watching trip in Hilo Bay for international students and their friends! Sign up online by January 25. Space is limited to 35 students. Free!

Songs of struggle

Songs of Struggle: Filipino Traditional Music

Tuesday, February 5, 2019
12:00-12:45 pm
Student Services Center Room W-201

Free guest presentation by Dr. Dominic Gregorio, Associate Professor of Music at the University of Regina in Canada.

Work in the USA

Working in the U.S. After Graduation

Thursday, February 7, 2019
4:00 pm - 5:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

If you are planning on graduating in May (or summer), you are invited to come to a workshop to learn about your option to work in the U.S. after graduation. Learn about OPT (Optional Practical Training) and H1-B visas ("work visas").

Volunteer on the mountain

Maunakea Volunteer Service Trip

Saturday, February 9, 2019
8:00 am - 3:30 pm

Spend a day doing volunteer work on magnificent Maunakea! Help pull invasive plant species at the Visitor Information Center (9,200 feet elevation, not at the summit) and learn about Maunakea. Lunch, snacks and water provided. Click here to sign up. Deadline to sign up: February 1.

Collaboative international

COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning) Workshop

Tuesday, February 12, 2019
11:45 am - 2:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Faculty and staff are invited to this workshop to learn about COIL (Collaborative Online International Learning). COIL is an emerging way to open opportunities for global learning and cross-cultural experiences to a greater number of students through virtual and non-virtual methods. Originally developed at the SUNY system, COIL has been adopted by many universities in the US and worldwide, using technology and collaborative partnerships to bridge learning and teaching internationally. The workshop will be presented by Dr. Jon Rubin, the founder and director of the SUNY COIL Center, and Dr. Keiko Ikeda of the Center for International Education at Kansai University in Japan. Dr. Rubin will also be available for individual meetings from 2-4 pm.

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

Gender Inequality in Korea

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.

Suicide Prevention Workshop

Friday, March 8, 2019
2:00 pm - 3:30 pm at the Student Services Center Room E-216

QPR (Question, Persuade, Refer) is an evidence-based suicide prevention program that teaches people how to become suicide prevention gatekeepers. You will increase your knowledge about suicide, learn to recognize warning signs and how to ask if a person is thinking of suicide, and get them to the help they need. To sign up, send an email to

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 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.