GATHER ALL U.S. IMMIGRATION DOCUMENTS REQUIRED FOR ENTRY INTO U.S.
- Passport valid for at least six months into the future
- Current F-1 or J-1 student visa in your passport
- DS-2019 form (J-1 students) or I-20 form (F-1 students)
- University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa Letter of Admission
- Official financial support statement/documentation
- Certificate of international vaccinations or health card (recommended)
SETUP UH USERNAME AND EMAIL ACCOUNT
REGISTER FOR YOUR UHM COURSES
Log in to MyUH to register for your courses online (once all of your holds have been lifted). For more information, see the MIX page on Course Registration. More information about registering for courses was sent to you in a previous email. If you have any holds on your account preventing you from registering and you are unsure of how to clear these holds, please let me know.
READ ALL PRE-ARRIVAL RESOURCES ON MIX WEBSITE
Go to http://manoa.hawaii.edu/mix
ARRANGE YOUR HOUSING
It is your responsibility to arrange on- or off-campus housing for the duration of your stay. You may wish to arrange temporary housing in a hostel, hotel, or homestay for your first week here, and search for more permanent housing after you arrive (if you are unable to confirm your housing prior to arrival). View Housing & Meals on the MIX website for more information about your options. As I mentioned in a previous email, a new private housing option close to campus recently became available to exchange students. You can find information about this property here.
As with the other housing options we list on the Housing & Meals page of our website, Manoa International Exchange may be able to assist you by providing information, suggestions and advice, but the final decision will be made by you and any financial obligation made for housing will be yours. Please note that the off-campus housing resources listed above or on our website are not officially endorsed by MIX or UH Mānoa.
OBTAIN PROOF OF HEALTH INSURANCE
All students must have proof of adequate health insurance coverage. You can purchase the University of Hawaii health insurance (UH Student Plan by HMSA). If you already have health insurance that meets UHM’s standards, you can have your insurance provider fill out a J-1 Health Provider Certification Form or an F-1 Student Acknowledgement & Health Insurance Provider form (depending on your visa type – J-1 or F-1). For details, see here. Please try to complete this step before you arrive or it could cause issues with your course registration.
COMPLETE ONLINE VISA CLEARANCE
All international students (in F-1 and J-1 status) are required to complete the mandatory online Visa Clearance provided by UHM International Student Services (ISS). The online session is self-service and will take approximately 1 hour and 15 minutes to complete. Please also RSVP for the Welcome Orientation during your Visa Clearance session. Failure to complete a Visa Clearance Session will result in a hold being placed on your MyUH course registration on the first day of instruction (but will not prevent you from registering in MyUH before the semester starts).
REGISTER FOR A MIX CHECK-IN SESSION
All new international exchange students are required to attend a MIX Check-In Session with MIX staff. Please sign up for one of these sessions during your Visa Clearance or via our MIX Check-In Session sign-up form. The session will take approximately 1 hour and during this time you will meet with MIX staff to go over any Health Clearance issues, removing your registration holds, finding your academic advisors on campus, course registration procedures, and housing issues – in short, everything that is important for incoming exchange/visiting students! This is also a time for you to come and get your questions answers and to meet some of your fellow students.
REGISTER FOR THE ELI PLACEMENT TEST (if required)
You are required to take the English Language Institute (ELI) Placement Test if your TOEFL score was below 100, your IELTS score was below 7.0, or you do not qualify for an exemption. See the ELI website to register for the test: at https://www.hawaii.edu/eli/
MAKE YOUR TRAVEL ARRANGEMENTS
It is recommended that you arrive in Honolulu at least one day before the Welcome Orientation, although a week before would allow you more time to settle in and to work towards clearing any remaining registration holds you may have (i.e. Health Clearance). Details about the Welcome Orientation will be posted here. At the Welcome, you will meet the MIX and ISS staff members, who will orient you to the university. The Welcome is followed by a brief social event where you will be able to get to know other new international students.
CONTACT RETURNEES FROM YOUR UNIVERSITY
Students from your university who have completed an exchange program at UHM (or are currently studying at UHM) can be an excellent resource for you. Ask your international exchange coordinator or advisor to connect you with returnees so that you can learn from them what to expect at UHM. If possible, read reports written by former exchange students to UHM.
GET A TB TEST AT UNIVERSITY HEALTH SERVICES (AFTER ARRIVAL)
University Health Services is located on campus at 1710 East-West Road. Clinic Hours are Monday-Friday 8:00AM-4:00PM. You must visit the clinic two times. During the first visit, the TB skin test is administered. Then, 48-72 hours later, you must visit again to have your skin checked for results. After the second visit, your MyUH registration hold will be lifted if your test results are negative. If they are positive, you may be asked to have a follow-up chest x-ray examination.
GET YOUR STUDENT ID CARD AND VALIDATION (AFTER ARRIVAL)
Once you have registered for at least one course, you may apply for your Student Identification Card at Campus Center 211 (Ticket & Information Window). Valid photo identification is required, so be sure to bring your passport. Once you have paid any fees that are due, your ID card can be validated. With a validated ID card, you can borrow library books, use the recreation center and pool, and get a U-Pass sticker that allows you to ride the bus for free.
Other Useful Information:
CLOTHING TO PACK
Hawaii is a casual place with a comfortable, relaxed lifestyle and a warm climate. Most people dress in lightweight clothing – many students attend classes dressed in shorts, T-shirts, and sandals (more affectionately called ‘slippahs’ here!). Most faculty and staff also dress casually. We enjoy frequent rain showers throughout the year (sometimes light rain, sometimes heavy). You can purchase an umbrella, beach slippers, and summer clothing here. Some suggestions for clothing to bring are:
- Shorts, T-shirts, and jeans
- Comfortable pants, shirts, sundresses
- A nice outfit for special occasions
- Bathing suit, sunglasses, hat, and beachwear
- Sweatshirt or sweater for cooler evenings, for cool climates in higher elevations, and for air-conditioned buildings and classrooms.
- A light water-resistant jacket or windbreaker for rainy or very windy days
- Sandals for everyday wear, a pair of nice shoes, and athletic shoes for hiking or exercise.
Plan to bring enough US Dollars (USD) to cover your expenses for the first week in Honolulu. This will help you to cover the initial costs of transportation, housing, and food. Credits cards are also widely accepted.
You can use ATMs (Automated Teller Machines) and your credit card if you need additional US cash when you first arrive. There are ATMs located at the airport, in Honolulu, and at the UHM campus center.
For identification purposes, a picture ID and a credit card will be required for the rental of vehicles or to exchange currency. Some vendors may require two forms of identification. You may want to get an International Driver’s License with a photograph of yourself to serve as a form of identification. That being said, you do not need a personal vehicle to get around – the Bus, which you will get a pass for, can get you all around the island!
Most exchange students open a bank account soon after arrival to Honolulu. There are banks on and near campus.
If Honolulu International Airport is your US Immigration and Customs Port of Entry:
- You will first pass through US Immigration. Have your travel documents (DS-2019 or I-20 & passport) ready.
- Pick up your baggage from the baggage claim in the International Terminal and go through US Customs. Once you clear Customs, you will pass through sliding glass doors and enter an open-air lobby where telephones and hotel information are located. Note: there are some restrictions on what you can bring into (and out of) Hawaii that you should be aware of, see here.
- If you have not made reservations for accommodations, you can call local hotels listed for room availability. Some hotels have their own shuttle service to transport their guests from the airport (ask the hotel clerk about this service).
TRANSPORTATION FROM THE AIRPORT
It is best to have US cash for ground transportation (unless you use Uber or Lyft, which is currently operating at HNL airport on a trial basis); it may not be possible to pay by credit card. The list below is provided as a service, NOT as an endorsement; we take no responsibility for the quality of service of these companies:
Hawai‘i is a very international and multicultural place. There are two official languages, Hawaiian and English, but you will hear many other languages depending on where you are. Some commonly heard Hawaiian words and phrases are listed below:
- ‘aina = The land.
- “Aloha ‘āina” = is a love of the land.
- Akamai = Clever; smart; intelligent
- Aloha = Love; welcome; hello; good-bye; a common greeting.
- Diamond Head = Commonly used as a direction; i.e. Waikīkī is “Diamond Head” of downtown.
- ‘ewa = Commonly used as a direction (the opposite of “Diamond Head”)
- Hale = House
- Haole = Foreigner (now commonly refers to Caucasians)
- Hapa = Literally “half,” is used to describe a person of mixed blood
- Hau‘oli lā Hānau = Happy Birthday
- Hau‘oli Makahiki Hou = Happy New Year h
- Hui = A group or organization
- Kama‘āina = A native born Hawaiian or longtime resident
- Kanaka maoli = Indigenous Hawaiian
- Kāne = Man or men
- Keiki = Child or children
- Kōkua = Help. “Please Kōkua” means “Please Help.”
- Komo mai = Enter; welcome
- Kuleana = Responsibility
- Kumu = Teacher
- Lanai = Porch; balcony
- Lū‘au = Hawaiian feast
- Mahalo = Thank you
- Makai = Toward the ocean
- Mālama = To take care of; care for; preserve; protect
- Malihini = Newcomer
- Mauka = Toward the mountains
- Mele Kalikimaka = Merry Christmas
- ‘ohana = Family
- ‘ōlelo = Language
- ‘ono = Delicious
- Pau = Finished; ended; done. “Pau hana” is the end of the work week.
- Puka = Any kind of a hole or opening or blank (to be filled)
- Wahine = Woman or women. The UH women’s basketball and volleyball teams are the Rainbow Wahine!
Want to learn more Hawaiian language while you are here? Check out Hawaiian Language and Hawaiian Studies courses online at Class Availability (https://www.sis.hawaii.edu/uhdad/avail.classes?i=MAN).