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 holding flags

Students with flags representing their countries

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 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.

Upcoming Events & Activities

New International Student Orientation

Welcome International Students

Wednesday, August 21, 2019
8:00 am-12:00 pm at the University Classroom Building (UCB) Room 100
(view 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.

Welcome Party!

international student welcome party

Friday, August 30, 2019
5:30 pm - 8:30 pm at the Student Life Center Swimming Pool

Food, fun, prizes! Free! All new and returning international students are welcome to attend this annual party! Bring your UH student ID card. No need to sign up--just come. Rain or shine.

Submarine Trip

Submarine

Saturday, August 31, 2019
7:00 am - 5:00 pm

Tour the exciting underwater world surrounding the Big Island in Kona! The water surrounding Kona is full of beautiful sea life and hidden treasures for you to explore. $35. Space is limited.

Lunch & Learn

Lunch and learn

Friday, September 6, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Come get some free lunch! Topics: How to find a job on campus, campus resources to help you be successful, US classroom culture, plagiarism and dealing with culture shock. And an opportunity to ask questions you have about anything.

Buddy Program "Meet & Greet"

International student buddies

Tenative Date: Friday, September 6, 2019
3:00-5:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Meet your buddy! Enjoy free ice cream and snacks!

Lunch & Learn

Lunch and learn

Friday, September 13, 2019
12:00 pm - 1:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Come get some free lunch! Topics: Staying healthy, how to deal with homesickness and culture shock, and dating and relationships in the US. And an opportunity to ask questions you have about anything!

Mixed Plate Dinner

plate of local food

Date, time & location to be announced

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!

Working in the U.S. After Graduation

Work in the USA

Tuesday, September 17, 2019
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").

Host Family Reception

Host family group photo

Tentative Date: Friday, September 20, 2019
5:30-7:00 pm at the Student Services Center Room W-201

Meet your host family! Light pupu will be provided.

Health Insurance Sign Up for New Pacific Islander Students

health insurance

Date, time & location to be announced

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). Note: Students who have been in the US for more than 60 days will be able to sign up for health insurance in November.

Volunteer Service Activity at Ironman Triathlon World Championship

crowd cheering at the finish line of the Ironman triathlon

Saturday, October 12, 2019

Give back to the community and experience one of the world's greatest one-day endurance sporting event by volunteering at the Ironman Triathlon World Championship in Kona! Details and sign ups will be posted soon.

International Topics Speaker Series

International Speaker Series

Date, time & location to be announced

United Nations Day

students with flags

Tentative date: Friday, October 18, 2019

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.

Kakou: Let's Work it Out!

It isn't enough to talk about peace.  One must believe in it.  And it isn't enough to believe in it.  One must work at it.  Quote from Eleanor Roosevelt

Friday, October 18, 2019
5:00-7:00 pm at the Campus Center Room 301

Workshop on conflict resolution skills in observance of International Conflict Resolution Day.

PacYES

Smiling students

Saturday, October 26, 2019
9:00 am-3:00 pm at the Campus Center Plaza

Youth empowerment day for Pacific Islander students in the community.

Zip Line Adventure

person zip lining

Date, time & location 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 Lili'uokalani

Date, time & location to be announced

Learn about the history of the Hawaiian kingdom and the events that led to its illegal overthrow.

Health Insurance Enrollment for Pacific Islanders

health insurance

Date, time & location to be announced

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).

Maunakea Volunteer Service Trip

Volunteer on the mountain

Date, time & location to be announced

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.

Working in the U.S. After Graduation

Work in the USA

Thursday, February 6, 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").

International Nights 2020

Samoan dancers

Dates & times to be announced

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 6, 2020

Check back for more information!

Waipi'o Valley Trip during Spring Break

Waipio valley

Tentative Date: Monday, March 16, 2020

Join the InterVarsity Christian Fellowship on a trip to Waipi'o Valley! Hike into the valley, work in a taro patch, and learn about Waipi'o Valley. Space is limited.

Merrie Monarch Festival Ho'ike Night

men dancing hula

Wednesday, April 15, 2020
4:00 - 11:00 pm

On Wednesday evening during the Merrie Monarch Festival week, there is an exhibition night of hula and folk dance from around the Pacific. The performances are free to the public, no tickets required. The International Student Association will provide transportation to the Edith Kanaka'ole Stadium for international students who want to attend. Space is limited.

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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 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

Officers

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.