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Questions & Answers

Questions?

I have questions about:

- Hawai'i and UHM
- Eligibility Requirements
- How to Apply
- Getting a Visa
- Financial Planning
- Housing & Meals
- Health Insurance

- Course Registration
- Pre-Arrival
- When I Arrive
- Academics
- Student Life
- Summer / Extending

Hawai'i and UHM

What academic subjects are offered at UHM?
View all UHM Departments & Programs. All areas are open to qualified exchange students, except Medicine, Nursing, Dental Hygiene, and Law. Hoakipa students also may not take Business courses.
When do UHM semesters start and end?

An academic year has two semesters:

  • Fall Semester: Late August to mid December
  • Spring Semester: January to mid May
View exact dates on the UHM Academic Calendar.
What does the UHM campus look like?

To see the beautiful UHM campus, check out these videos and pictures:

Where can I learn about Hawaiian history?

Here are a few online resources that will give you a brief overview of Hawaiian history:

Does UHM have a diverse student population?

Yes! UHM is a diverse and multi-cultural environment. The student population is about 40% Asian, 17% Native Hawaiian and Pacific Islander, 2% Black, 2% Hispanic, 20% White, 14% mixed race, 3% International students, 1% American Indian, 1% unknown.

See UHM Quick Facts for more interesting data.

Is Hawai'i safe? Is there a lot of crime?

Most people report feeling safe in Hawaii. As with any tourist destination, however, it is important to be smart and protect your belongings from theft. Going out with friends tends to be safer than going out alone; drinking in excess or making other poor decisions can put you at risk anywhere.

Read more about Safety in the MIX Handbook for Inbound Exchange Students. Also, here's a helpful article on Safe and Dangerous Places in Honolulu.

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Eligibility Requirements

Who can be an exchange student at UHM?
UHM welcomes inbound exchange students from both partner universities and non-partner universities, as long as they meet the Eligiblity Requirements for exchange students (see Inbound Students).
How do I know if my university is a UHM Partner University?

If your university is listed on our website at Student Exchange Partner Universities, you may qualify for a full UHM tuition waiver.

If your university is listed as a general partner of UHM, you may qualify for the Hoakipa Scholarship Program (15% discount off non-resident UHM tuition).

What is the minimum GPA requirement for exchange students?
2.5 for undergraduates; 3.0 for graduates (out of 4.0).
What is the minimum TOEFL requirement for exchange students?

68 (520) minimum is required. 80+ (550+) is preferred.

Note to graduate student applicants: Some graduate departments require a higher TOEFL score (for example, Business requires at least 80, and Second Langauge Studies requires at least 100).

I already speak English. Do I need to take the TOEFL?

Some applicants are exempt from the TOEFL. These include native speakers of English from Australia, Canada (except Quebec), Ireland, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. Additionally, student who have completed a certain amount of schooling at an English-medium school may be exempt. See the full list of TOEFL Exemptions for details.

Can I use IELTS instead of TOEFL?
Yes - minimum IELTS score of 6.0 can be used in lieu of the TOEFL (score of 6.5+ is recommended).
Can I use Institutional TOEFL?

Institutional TOEFL scores may be considered for undergraduate applicants on a case-by-case basis.

Institutional TOEFL scores will not be accepted for graduate-level applicants (no exceptions).

Can first-year students go on exchange to UHM?
Your home university transcript must show completion of 24 or more credits (excluding English language classes). Or you must have completed at least 12 credits and have at least 12 credits in-progress.
I am not currently a student in my home country. Can I still come to UHM as an exchange student?

No. You may only be an exchange student at UHM if you are currently enrolled in a degree program at your home university.

If you have already graduated from your home university, you might consider applying to UHM to earn your graduate degree or second bachelors degree.

You might also consider coming to UHM through non-credit English learning programs such as New Intensive Courses in English (NICE), or the Hawaiian English Language Program (HELP). These programs do not require you to be enrolled in a university in your home country.

I don't meet the Eligibility Requirements for exchange students. Are there other ways for me to study at UHM?

Yes. If you do not qualify to be an exchange student at UHM, you might consider studying at UHM though one of the following UHM programs:

Can I be an exchange student for less than one semester? Can I attend UHM for just the summer, or for just a few weeks?

Manoa International Exchange only accepts students for one or two semesters of study. Students may arrive in the Fall or Spring semester.

For short-term options, see:

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How to Apply

When do I apply?

We strongly encourage you to submit ALL application materials by the Priority Deadline, or as soon as possible thereafter. Applications will NOT be accepted after the Extended Deadline.

  • For exchanges starting in Fall (August):
    • February 1 - Priority Deadline
    • April 1 - Extended Deadline
  • For exchanges starting in Spring (January):
    • September 1 - Priority Deadline
    • November 1 - Extended Deadline

Please consult with the international office at your home university before starting the application process.

How do I apply?

Carefully follow the application instructions for exchange students:

How to Apply - Undergraduate Students

How to Apply - Graduate Students

Is there an application fee?

Tuition-exempt exchange students do not have to pay the UHM application fee.

Hoakipa and Independent exchange students (who pay UHM tuition) are required to pay the UHM application fee. The fee is USD $70, subject to change.

What if my passport has expired? Can you still accept it?
You will need a valid passport in order to apply for a visa and come to the U.S. If your passport expired, please go ahead and start renewal process immediately. Please email uhmix@hawaii.edu to let us know when your new passport will arrive. In the meantime, you may submit a copy of your old passport. When you new one arrives, please scan it and email us a new copy.
Can I apply online? Do I need to mail any documents?
Undergraduate applicants can submit all documents to MIX via email. Graduate applicants must submit documents via email and also mail several original documents to MIX. See When & How to Apply for details on the application requirements.
Does my home university need to Nominate me?

Students from Exchange & Hoakipa Partner Universities must be nominated to MIX by their home universities. Your exchange coordinator at your home university should complete the online Advisor Nomination Form, or send an email to uhmix@hawaii.edu. Your advisor can access the online Advisor Nomination Form on our website at When & How to Apply.

Independent Exchange Students from universities that are not UHM partners do not need to be nominated.

Do I need to submit high school transcripts?

No. Exchange students do not need to submit high school transcripts. Only university transcripts (in English) are required for exchange students.

Conversely, international students applying to UHM to pursue full degree programs are required to submit high & university school transcripts.

Can I use my TOEFL score report if it is more than 2 years old?
No. Your TOEFL score report must be less than 2 years old in order to be considered valid.
I applied to MIX. How do I know if I am accepted?
You will be notified of your acceptance first via email. Later on, your official acceptance letter and visa document will be mailed to the exchange coordinator at your home university. Please be patient -- the admissions process takes time.
What are my chances of getting in? Are many applicants rejected?

Qualified students who have been nominated by their home university (if necessary) can expect to be accepted. Typically, we only have to reject applicants who fail to meet the eligibility requirements for exchange students. For example, you are unqualified if your GPA is lower than 2.5, TOEFL lower than 68, or if you have completed fewer than 24 credits).

Students who apply after the application deadline will be considered on a case by case basis. We will try to accommodate as many qualified applicants as possible, time permitting. However, late applications cannot always be accommodated.

I missed the Extended Deadline. Can I still apply?

We will continue to accept applicants after the Priority Deadline.

All application materials must be received by the Extended Deadline at the very latest. No exceptions.

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Getting a Visa

What is a visa?
A visa is an official stamp or document affixed within your passport that has been issued by a foreign government granting permission for entry into a particular country for a specific purpose such as tourism, study, or work.
How do I apply for a visa to the U.S.?

First, find a nearby U.S. Embassy or Consulate and read their visa application instructions. From your U.S. Embassy or Consulate website, download a DS-160 form; submit the form and pay the visa fee (USD$160, subject to change).

Next, schedule a visa appointment (interview) with your U.S. Embassy or Consulate. You will need your passport number, the receipt number from your Visa Fee payment, and the barcode number from your DS-160 form.

Attend your scheduled visa appointment (interview) in person; be sure to bring your valid passport and all required documents with you. See your U.S. Embassy or Consulate's website for documents required at your visa appointment. One of the documents you will need is a DS-2019 form (for J-1 visas) or an I-20 form (for F-1 students). UHM will mail this form to your student exchange advisor at your home university, along with your admission letter.

For details, please refer to the U.S. Department of State website. It may also be helpful to read the visa tips on the UHM ISS website.

Should I apply for a J-1 or F-1 visa?

If you are coming to UHM as a tuition-waiver exchange student, we will send you a DS-2019 document and you should apply for a J-1 visa.

If you are will be paying partial or full UHM tuition (Hoakipa and Independent exchange students), we will send you an I-20 document and you should apply for an F-1 visa.

What amount of funds do I need to show to qualify for a visa?

You will need to show that you have sufficient funds to cover your semester(s) at UHM. This includes UHM tuition & fees (unless you are exempt), plus living and personal expenses.

View UHM tuition rates

View the UHM Student Budget / Cost of Living Estimates

Am I guaranteed to get a visa to the U.S.?

There is no guarantee that you will be granted a visa; the U.S. Consulate or Embassy has the right to deny a visa to anyone.

It helps to be 100% prepared when you attend your visa appointment. Carefully review the U.S. Department of State website, and the website for the U.S. Consulate where you will apply for your visa. Please also read the visa tips on the UHM ISS website.

How much does it cost to get a visa?

The cost for a J-1 or F-1 visa is USD$160, subject to change. You must pay the visa fee before you can attend a visa interview.

What happens if my visa expires while I am in the U.S.?
Your visa is only needed for you to enter the U.S., so it usually not a problem if it expires after you arrive. More important is your status (J-1 or F-1, and the duration of your status). You should have valid status for the entire duration of your international exchange period.
What is an I-94, and do I need one?
An I-94 is a form denoting your Arrival-Departure Record. It is used by U.S. Customs and Border Protection. You may go to the U.S. Customs and Border Protection website to retrieve your electronic I-94 number and print a copy of the form.

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Financial Planning

Do exchange students pay UHM tuition?

There are three types of exchange students. Most exchange students are in category 1, and do not pay UHM tuition or fees. Determine your category below to see if you will pay UHM tuition.

  1. Exchange Agreement exchange students 
    Exchange Agreement exchange students come from universities with which UHM has a formal reciprocal student exchange agreement. You pay your normal tuition to your home university, but do not pay tuition or an application fee at UHM.

  2. Hoakipa Scholarship exchange students 
    Hoakipa Scholarship exchange students come from universities with which UH Manoa has a Hoakipa Scholarship agreement or formal partnership. You pay non-resident UHM tuition and an application fee but receive a 15% tuition scholarship.

  3. Independent exchange students 
    Students at universities with which UH Manoa has no agreement/formal partnership pay nonresident UHM tuition and an application fee.
Are scholarships available for exchange students?
Aside from tuition waivers and Hoakipa scholarships, UHM does not provide any other scholarships for inbound exchange students at this time. You are encouraged to find funding sources in your home country that can help to support your semester or year at UHM.
How much money do I need to cover living expenses?

For one semester at UHM, it is estimated that you will need the following amounts to cover your living expenses:

Housing & Meals: $5,200-7,000
Books & Supplies: $500-600
Personal Expenses: $900-2,000

See the Student Budget Overview for estimates.

How much does housing cost?
Per month, you can expect to pay anywhere from $650 for shared rooms to over $1,000 for a private apartment. Most students spend about $800 per month on housing. Find more information at MIX Housing & Meals.
Are meal plans available if I want to eat on campus?
Yes. If you live on- or off-campus, you can purchase a meal plan or dining dollars. These options allow you to add meals or funds to your account, then use your UH ID card as a debit card to purchase meals or food on campus. See MIX Housing & Meals for more info.
How much money will I need for local transportation costs?
With a validated UH ID card (U-Pass), you can ride TheBus for free anywhere on the island of Oahu. If you do not have your ID Card with the U-Pass sticker, you must pay to take the bus (one-way fare is $2.50, subject to change).
Should I bring cash to Hawaii? travelers checks? credit cards?

It is a good idea for you to bring enough cash with you to cover your first few days in Hawaii. You can exchange money when you arrive at the Honolulu airport. It is also convenient to have a debit or credit card that you can use to withdraw money from a bank or ATM machine when you get here. There are ATMs located on campus and around town. Travelers Checks are fine, but may not be accepted in all stores. A credit card will be required for most rentals (scooter, surfboard, etc.), and it is helpful to have a credit card while you are here.

Many exchange students open a local bank account when they arrive.

Should I open a local bank account in Hawaii?
It is up to you, but many students find it convenient to do so. There is an American Savings Bank located on campus, in Hemenway Hall. Other banks located close to campus are First Hawaiian Bank and Bank of Hawaii.

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Housing & Meals

Do I have to arrange my own housing?
Yes. You are responsible for arranging your own housing accommodations for the duration of your stay. See Housing & Meals for on- and off-campus housing options.
Is ON-CAMPUS housing available?

You may apply for on-campus housing (dormitories). See Housing & Meals to apply online.

Please note that there is limited space in the dormitories for exchange students during the Fall semester. During the Fall semester, most exchange students live off-campus.

During the Spring semester, on-campus housing is readily available. If you apply for on-campus housing in the Spring semester, you can expect to get a placement.

Is OFF-CAMPUS housing available?
Yes - there are many private dormitories, residences, and apartments located close to campus and in the Waikiki Beach area (10 minute bus ride to campus). See Housing & Meals for off-campus options.
Can I find an apartment after I arrive?
Yes - it is OK to arrange temporary accommodations for your first week here (in a hotel, hostel, or homestay family). During that week, you can visit local apartment buildings and decide which one is the best fit for you. See Housing & Meals for temporary housing options.
Are HOMESTAYS available?

The International Hospitality Center of Honolulu offers a 1-week homestay opportunity. The program includes airport pick-up, plus a room and meals with a host family. Fees apply. You must apply for the homestay at least 6 weeks prior to arrival.

If you want to live in a homestay for the entire semester, contact Rainbow Homestay LLC or International Student Placements to make arrangements. Fees apply.

See Housing & Meals for links to these homestay options.

Where can I get food?

While you’re here on Oahu, you won’t go hungry!  Enjoy many on- and off-campus dining options. Asian and international cuisines, as well as local Hawaiian food, are abundantly available. 

On-campus Dining
There are many places to eat on campus!  Restaurants and cafes are located at the Campus Center, Paradise Palms (near Hamilton Library), Manoa Garden (near Sinclair Library), and at the Athletics Complex.  There are also several food kiosks and food trucks on campus ever day, for your convenience. 

Meal plans & dining dollars let you conveniently add money to your UHM ID card, and use it as a debit card in campus cafeterias and cafes.

Restaurants
There are many restaurants close to campus, especially around the intersection of University Avenue and South King Street.  The Ala Moana Shopping Center also has tons of restaurants, and is also a great place to go shopping. 

Where can I shop for food?

Grocery Stores
Grocery stores and markets located close to campus are:

  • Kokua Market Natural Foods (2643 S. King Street)
  • Nijiya Market (1009 University Ave.)
  • Down To Earth Organic & Natural Foods (2525 S. King Street)
  • Safeway Grocery Store (888 Kapahulu Ave.)
  • Foodland Market City (2939 Harding Ave.)

Farmers Markets
Every Tuesday and Friday afternoon, there is a small farmers market selling local produce at the Campus Center, down the stairs from Starbucks. 

On Saturday mornings, there are Farmers’ Markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, local products, and hot food at Ala Moana, and at Kapiolani Community College (KCC).

Are Meal Plans available?
Yes! Meal plans, dining dollars, and flash cash let you conveniently add money to your UHM ID card, and use it as a debit card in campus cafeterias and cafes.
I don't like my apartment. Can I break my contract?

Contracts are legally binding, and there may be financial repercussions if you need to break your apartment contract before your lease term is up.

If you are not comfortable signing an apartment contract before you arrive in Honolulu, you should arrange temporary housing for your first week here, and then personally go an visit local apartments before you commit to signing a contract.

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Health Insurance

What are the Health Insurance requirements for exchange students?

International students are required to submit a Health Clearance form indicating the dates of your most recent Measles/Mumps/Rubella (MMR) vaccinations. See Health Clearance & Insurance for details.

Other vaccinations are highly recommended, but not required: Polio, Varicella, Tetanus/Diphtheria/Pertussis, Human Papillomavirus Vaccine, Hepatitis A, Hepatitis B, Meningococcal Quadrivalent.

Upon arrival to UHM, you will need to visit University Health Services to be tested for Tuberculosis (TB). Or you can be tested for TB prior to arrival if your Physician at home has a valid U.S. license number.

What is the Health Clearance Form, and how do I submit it?

Inbound exchange students are required to complete the Health Clearance Form. Please send the completed form to University Health Services by fax or mail. It is OK to submit the form after the deadline, but strongly recommended to submit it before courses registration begins. University Health Services Manoa does NOT accept this form by email.

The Health Clearance Form is five pages long, but you only need to submit two pages.  The first page contains useful information. The two pages that you need to return to University Health Services Manoa are pages 2 and 3. These are the “Health Clearance Form” and the “Immunization Record,” and are actually numbered “1 of 2” and “2 of 2."

  • You may disregard part I ("Tuberculosis Control"). When you arrive to UHM, you will be required to report to University Health Services tor a tuberculin (TB) skin test.
  • You must complete Part II ("MMR") and provide your MMR (measles, mumps, rubella) immunization record. You can either A) have your health care provider complete this page of the Health Clearance Form, B) submit a copy of your school or public health immunization record, or C) submit a copy of a health care provider's record.
  • The "Health Insurance" information on page 4 is primarily intended for U.S. citizens; unless you are a U.S. citizen, you do not need to complete the "Health Insurance Information Sheet" on page 5.

See Health Clearance & Insurance for more details.

I arrived at UHM. Where do I need to submit proof of insurance?

Please bring proof of insurance (either your HMSA receipt or a Health Insurance Provider Certification Form filled out by your current insurance provider) to your ISS Visa Clearance session.

See Health Clearance & Insurance for more details.

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Course Registration

When and how do I register for UHM Courses?

You will register for UHM courses online in your MyUH student portal. Log in, then select 'Add/Drop Courses.'

Registration for the Fall semester begins in mid-August, and in early January for the Spring semester. Refer to the UHM Registration Guide to see exactly when "newly accepted" students may register.

Before you can register online, you must clear any 'holds.' Clear your holds by registering for a Visa Clearance Session, registering for the ELI Placement Test (unless you are exempt), submitting your Health Clearance Form to University Health Services, and getting your Tuberculosis (TB) test at University Health Services. Failure to clear your holds will prevent you from registering for your UHM courses.

For more information, please see Registering for UHM Courses.

What is the minimum / maximum of credits per semester?

The minimum courseload for undergraduate students is 12 credits; the maximum is 19 credits.

The minimum courseload for graduate students is 8 credits; the maximum is 16 credits.

Most courses are 3 credits each.

How do I log in to the MyUH Portal? What do I do next?

Go to the MyUH Portal and log in by entering your UH Username and UH Password. See your acceptance letter for instructions on obtaining a UH Username. Your username is the same as your email address (without @hawaii.edu).

After logging in to MyUH, select 'Add/Drop Courses.' You can search and register for classes.

Can I register for any courses I want?

Exchange students are excluded from taking courses in Law, Medicine, Nursing, and Dental Hygiene.

Some upper-level courses have pre-requisites (previous courses that you must have completed in order to qualify for the course). To register for a course with pre-requisites, you will need an "Override" from the instructor. Email the course instructor to request an Override, or ask for one on the first day of class. Once you get an Override, you will be able to register for the course online in MyUH. Some instructors will want to see your university transcript before they will give you an override -- your transcript will help them to see if you are qualified to take their course.

A course I want to take is full. What do I do?

Some classes have a waitlist option. If a course you want to take is full, you may want to get on the waitlist.

As you wait, you should continue to search for alternate courses as a backup. You may also want to contact the instructor of the full course to inquire, or speak with him/her on the first day of class.

How do Waitlists work?

If you are on the waitlist and a seat in the class becomes available, a waitlist notification will be sent to your UH email address.

The waitlist feature ends the day before classes begin. Once the semester has started, you may register directly into the class if a seat opens up.

Read more at Waitlist FAQs.

What is a Hold? How do I get my Hold lifted?

A hold is a block that has been placed on your MyUH account. A hold prevents you from registering for courses. A hold can only be lifted by the office that put it in place.

To see if you have any holds, log into MyUH and select "View Holds" from the homepage. Here are common holds for international exchange students and how to have them removed:

  • ELI Hold - Register online for the ELI Placement Test.
  • ISS Hold - Register for a Visa Clearance Session.
  • MMR Hold - Submit your Health Clearance Form or proof of MMR vaccinations (Measles, Mumps, Rubella) to University Health Services.
  • TB Hold - Test negative for Tuberculosis at University Health Services.
  • Tuition & Fees - If you are an Independent or Hoakipa exchange student and owe tuition to UHM, you must pay at the UHM Cashier's Office (QLC 105).
  • Residence Hall Rental - If you are living in on-campus dormitories, you must pay your housing bill at Student Housing Services (Frear Hall, first floor).

I don't like one of my courses. Can I change to a different course?
At the beginning of the semester, you can make changes to your registration by dropping and adding courses in MyUH. See the Registration Guide for drop/add deadlines. Remember that exchange students must be registered for a full load of courses (min. 12 credits for undergrad, 8 for graduate) in order to maintain status.
What books do I need for my courses?
You can look up your courses on the Manoa Bookstore website to see which textbooks are required.
I want to improve my English. How do I register for English classes?
After you take the ELI Placement test, an ELI Advisor will recommend specific ELI courses to you, based on the language areas you most need to improve. You can register for those courses online in MyUH. Most ELI courses are 3-credits.
Are 1-credit courses available?
There are a few 1-credit courses available. The department of Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Sciences (KRS) offers 1-credit courses such as Aerobic Fitness, Swimming, Basketball, Weight Training, and Yoga. Other departments that sometimes offer 1- or 2-credit courses are Music (MUS), Tropical Plant & Soil Sciences (TPSS), and Asian Studies (ASAN).
Can I take an online UHM course?
International students may take up to one online UHM course per semester. At this time, there is only a small number of online courses available.
What is an Override?

An Override is permission to register for a class. When an instructor gives you an Override in the MyUH portal, it allows you to register for the course if you were previously restricted. Exchange students may need Overrides in order to register for courses that have Pre-requisites.

What do the course numbers mean?

Undergraduate courses are numbered 100 - 499 (Example: HWST-224)

Graduate courses are numbered 500-800 (Example: SOC-719)

Are there courses in Hawaiian Language / Hawaiian Culture?

Yes! See Class Availability to browse courses in Hawaiian (HAW) and Hawaiian Studies (HWST). Courses popular among exchange students are: HAW-101 and HWST-107.

Also, the Music department (MUS) offers courses in Hula and Hawaiian Chant. You might enjoy MUS-312 or other world music classes.

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Pre-Arrival

How can I prepare for arrival?

Please carefully read all of the Pre-Arrival Resources on the MIX website at Inbound Students, including the MIX Pre-Arrival Checklist and the MIX Handbook for Inbound Exchange Students.

Also read about Student Life at UHM at Inbound Students.

How can I connect with other students prior to arrival?
When should I arrive?
It is advisable to arrive at least one day before the Welcome Orientation. The earliest you can arrive on your student visa is 30 days before the program start.
What if I arrive late and miss the Welcome Orientation?

Please try to arrive in time for the Welcome Orientation. However, if you arrive late and miss orientation, please carefully follow the Pre-Arrival Checklist and the MIX Handbook in order to take care of your other responsibilities. Please come to the MIX office (QLC 206) when you arrive, so that we can meet you in person and answer any questions you may have.

During the first week of class, there will be an off-campus Welcome Party for exchange students. Please attend so that you can meet the other students and do not feel left out.

Can I register for UHM courses before I arrive?

Most exchange students register for courses online after they arrive at UHM. All of your holds must be cleared in MyUH before you can register. Typically, exchange students need to visit University Health Services in person in order to have their TB (tuberculosis) hold lifted.

Check the Registration Guide to see the dates when "Incoming/Unclassified" students may begin registering in MyUH. (Typically, fall semester registration begins in mid-August, and spring semester registration begins in early January).

See Course Registration for more information.

Can I arrive early to take classes in UHM Summer Session?

Yes. If you have been accepted as an exchange student for the Fall Semester, it may be possible for you to arrive early in order to take classes in UHM Summer Sessions.

Please email uhmix@hawaii.edu to let us know your intention to arrive early. Your immigration documents will need to reflect your earlier program start date. You will need to register for a minimum of 6 credits during the summer. (There are two Summer Sessions, so you can either take one 3-credit course per session, or you can take two 3-credit courses during one session.)

Please note that Summer Sessions are not included in the exchange program - all students are responsible for covering their full Summer Sessions tuition & fees, plus living expenses.

How can I prepare to register for UHM courses before I arrive?
Please carefully read all of the information on the MIX website at Course Registration. Browse courses online, and make a list of the ones that interest you (note any that have pre-requisites). Practice logging in to the MyUH portal, and prepare to clear any Holds.

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When I Arrive

What happens when I arrive at the Honolulu Airport?

When you arrive at the Honolulu Airport, you will first pass through U.S. Immigration. Please have your travel documents (passport & DS-2019 or I-20) ready.

After that, pick up your baggage from baggage claim in the International Terminal, and go though U.S. Customs. When you exit the airport, you can use ground transportation (taxi, bus, shuttle) to go to your housing. It is important that you know the address of the location where you will be staying.

Find more details about Airport Arrival and Transportation from the Airport on the MIX Pre-Arrival Checklist.

Can someone pick me up at the airport?
If you plan ahead, you can arrange for free airport pickup service from the International Baptist Center. Email uhairportwelcome@gmail.com.
What do I do when I arrive at the UHM Campus?
Please make sure you complete all of the arrival responsibilities listed under 'When You Arrive' in the MIX Handbook for Inbound Students.
What happens at the Welcome Orientation?

At the Welcome Orientation, you will get to meet the staff from International Student Services (ISS) and Manoa International Exchange (MIX). We will orient you to Hawai'i and UHM, and share practical information with you to help you transition to the campus environment and prepare for a successful semester. Representatives from several UHM departments will also give brief helpful presentations.

You will also get to meet all of the other new international students (both degree-seeking and exchange students). The orientation ends with a brief student-led tour of a few campus facilities.

After the Welcome is a pizza party on campus, which will be a chance for you to socialize with other international students as well as local students.

What happens at the Visa Clearance?
At the Visa Clearance, the ISS staff will check your passport, DS-2019 or I-20 form, and proof of health insurance. ISS will then update government records to indicate that you have officially arrived, and that you are in compliance with your immigration status. You will learn important information about how to remain in status for the duration of your time at UHM.
I'm hungry. Where can I find food?

While you’re here on Oahu, you won’t go hungry!  Enjoy many on- and off-campus dining options. Asian and international cuisines, as well as local Hawaiian food, are abundantly available. 

On-campus Dining
There are many places to eat on campus!  Restaurants and cafes are located at the Campus Center, Paradise Palms (near Hamilton Library), Manoa Garden (near Sinclair Library), and at the Athletics Complex.  There are also several food kiosks and food trucks on campus ever day, for your convenience. 

Meal plans and Dining Dollars let you conveniently add money to your UHM ID card, and use it as a debit card in campus cafeterias and cafes.

Grocery Stores
Grocery stores and markets located close to campus are:

Pharmacy
The closest full-service pharmacy to campus is Long Drugs (2470 S. King Street). 

Farmers Markets
Every Tuesday and Friday afternoon, there is a small farmers market selling local produce at the Campus Center, down the stairs from Jamba Juice. 

On Saturday mornings, there are Farmers’ Markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, local products, and hot food at Ala Moana, and at Kapiolani Community College (KCC).

Restaurants
There are many restaurants close to campus, especially around the intersection of University Avenue and South King Street.  The Ala Moana Shopping Center also has tons of restaurants, and is also a great place to go shopping. 

How do I get to the beach?

Waikiki Beach is about 10 minutes from UHM. From campus, take the Waikiki-bound #13 bus into Waikiki. Walk along the beach, go swimming or rent a surfboard, explore the shops and restaurants, visit the International Marketplace, and have fun! Check out the Waikiki Aquarium and the Honolulu Zoo. Continue 1/2 mile west of Waikiki to arrive at Ala Moana Beach Park and Magic Island.

Once you have a validated student ID card with a U-Pass sticker, you can take The Bus anywhere on the island for free. Explore the many beautiful beaches of Oahu, including Hanauma Bay, Kailua, and the North Shore.

Campus is so big! How can I avoid getting lost?
We strongly recommend that you get familiar with the campus before the first day of class. Use the interactive Campus Map to locate the buildings where your classes are held, and then "walk your schedule" ahead of time so that you are not stressed about arriving to class late on the very first day.

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Academics

What academic areas are available at UHM?
UHM has a wide variety of academic Colleges, Schools, and Departments. Explore academic. Explore classes and read important information for exchange students on the MIX website at Course Registration.
Where are Computer Labs? Where can I scan, copy, or send a fax?
There are public computer labs located in the Sinclair Library and Hamilton Library. You must have a UH username and password to log in to the computers. Printers/copiers are available in both libraries; scanners are available at Hamilton. Fax services are available at the Campus Center ID Ticket & Information window.
Can exchange students use the libraries?

Yes! Visit the UHM Library website for maps, hours, and information about checking out books or other materials. Please note that all students may enter the libraries, but you must show a student ID card in order to check out materials.

I have a learning disability. Where can I get assistance?
The KOKUA Program (located in QLC 013) offers a variety of free support services to students with learning, physical, psychiatric, and other documented disabilities.
I'm struggling in my classes. Where can I get help?

If you are struggling iin a class, we recommend that you communicate personally with the course instructor, either after class or during the instructor's office hours.

Additionally, various support services are available to students:

Where can I get academic advising?

Drop-in advising is available at MIX (QLC 206) Tues, Weds, Thurs 1:30-3:30PM.

For department-specific advising, you can contact department advisors during their office hours.

To discuss how the courses you take at UHM will count towards your degree at your home university, consult an academic advisor at your home university.

Are there physical education classes?
Yes! The department of Kinesiology and Rehabilitation Sciences (KRS) offers a variety of 1- and 3-credit physical education classes such as yoga, swimming, weight lifting, and aerobics. Browse KRS courses at Class Availability.
How can I get a UHM transcript?

At the Orientation for new international students, we will ask you to sign a Transcript Request Form, so that your official UHM transcript can me mailed to your home university after you complete your semester or year abroad at UHM. Transcripts are mailed 2-3 weeks after the end of the semester (Fall transcripts are mailed in late December, and Spring transcripts are mailed in late May).

Independent exchange students from non-UHM partner universities can request official UHM transcripts from the UHM Records Office.

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Student Life

How can I meet new friends and get involved in the community?
I want to play team sports. How do I get involved?

Check out Student Recreation Services (Room 200 in the Physical Education / Athletic Complex on lower campus).

  • Informal Recreation - basketball, volleyball, badminton, table tennis, swimming
  • Intramural Sports Leagues - soccer, volleyball, basketball, softball
  • Recreational Sports - ultimate frisbee, dodge ball, volleyball, basketball, inner-tube water polo, table tennis, badminton, Wii tennis, bench press, and more!
Can I use the fitness center (gym) and the pool?
Yes - with a valid student ID, you can use the Warrior Recreation Center (next to Campus Center) and the swimming pool (located on lower campus).
Where can I learn to surf / stand-up paddle / kitesurf / kayak / sail?
Student Recreation Services offers Outdoor Classes such as beginning surfing, stand-up paddling, body boarding, hiking, kayaking, sailing, SCUBA, and snorkeling!
Where can I learn the Hula?

The department of Music offers a 2-credit course, MUS-312 "Hula/Chant Ensemble." See Class Availability to browse Music courses.

Non-credit hula classes such as Hula, Tahitian Dance, Hula Aerobics, and Ukelele are offered through Student Recreation Services. For a complete list of classes, visit the Student Recreation Services office on lower campus at 200 PE/A (Physical Education/Athletic Complex).

Where can I take Yoga, Dance, or Aerobics classes?

The department of KRS (Kinesiology & Rehabilitation Sciences) offers 1- credit courses in Yoga and Aerobic Fitness. See Class Availability to browse KRS courses.

The department of Dance offers 1- and 3-credit courses in ballet, ethnic dance (Okinawan, Philippine, Japanese, Korean), and modern dance. See Class Availability to browse DNCE courses.

Non-credit classes such as Yoga, Hula, Tahitian Dance, and Hula Aerobics are offered through Student Recreation Services. For a complete list of classes, visit the Student Recreation Services office on lower campus at 200 PE/A (Physical Education/Athletic Complex).

Where can I learn more about Hawaiian language and culture?

The department of Hawaiian Studies (HWST) offers a variety 3-credit courses that are an excellent way for exchange students to learn more about Hawaiian culture.

The department of Hawaiian Language (HAW) offers a 4-credit course in Elementary Hawaiian (HAW-101).

The department of Ethnic Studies (ES) may also offer courses about Hawaiians and Hawaiian culture.

See Class Availability to browse HWST and HAS courses.

How can I get involved in the GLBTQ community?

Check out Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Student Services

LGBTI Student Services offers activities, programs and services that support UH’s commitment to protecting students from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and/or gender identity. An LGBTI and Ally Coffee Hour is held every Wednesday afternoon. Located in QLC 211.

Are there parties or social activities for international students?

During the first week of classes, there is an off-campus MIX Welcome Party for exchange students and local students.

During the semester, there is International Coffee Hour every Friday, 3-5PM, Sinclair Library first floor lanai. It is a great place to make friends!

The International Student Association (ISA) and other Student Clubs have a variety of activities and events.

At the end of the semester, there is a MIX Farewell Party off-campus.

Are there Volunteer and Internship opportunities?

Find out about Volunteer and Service Learning opportunities at the Service Learning Program Center, located in 209 QLC.

Internships for academic credit are available in some academic departments. Discuss this with an instructor or department advisor.

Paid internships or internships with any type of compensation are not permissable; check with an ISS advisor regarding any special circumstances.

Can I get a job?

Exchange students may work on-campus. Check out the Manoa Career Center to search and apply for on-campus work positions.

Exchange students may not work off-campus (except at off-campus UH Manoa facilities). On rare occasions, exchange students may be granted permission from ISS to work off campus, if the position is directly related to their academic studies. Contact an ISS Advisor to discuss.

How does the bus system work? Where can I get a bus schedule?
If you have a validated UHM ID card with a UPass sticker, you can ride the bus for free around the entire island of Oahu! There are several bus stops on campus. Schedules are available at Commuter Services, and at the QLC building first-floor information desk.
Where can I get a bike?

There are several local bike shops that sell new and used bikes. You can also check Craiglists, campus bulletin boards, or advertisements in campus and local newspapers. Cycle Manoa periodically has bike sales for UHM students. Wiki Bikes sells new and used bicycles, and is located close to campus.

Here is a map of bike racks on campus. Always lock your bike!

Please make sure to register your bike with the City and County of Honolulu!

Where can I get a cell phone?
Cell phones and calling plans are available for purchase at the UHM Campus Center and at local shopping centers and retail outlets such as AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, T-Mobile, Mobi, etc.
I'm having trouble adjusting. Is Counseling available?

Visit the Counseling and Student Development Center. Staff is available to help you with any personal, academic, or career concerns. Visit this Center if you need culturally-sensitive assistance with any adjustment issues. All services are confidential and most are free of charge. Located in QLC 312.

Psychiatric counseling is also available at University Health Services.

Is there a lot of crime? What do I do in an emergency?

While the crime rate in Honolulu and Hawai'i tends to be relatively low, it is still wise to practice personal safety behaviors. Avoid certain areas of the city at night when alone, and travel in small groups whenever possible. Be aware of your surroundings and safeguard your valuables.

In case of an emergency, dial 911 to connect with the police, emergency medical services, or the fire department.

For Campus Security, dial 808-956-6911. Or dial 6-6911 from any campus phone, or go to an emergency call box on campus.

I am sick / injured. Where can I see a doctor?

Visit the University Health Services Clinic on campus. Physicians and nurses provide walk-in medical care for illnesses and injuries.

If you have a medical emergency and need to go to the hospital, call 911.

Where can I get birth control / contraceptives / pregnancy test / information about safe sex?

Visit the Women’s Health Clinic at University Health Services.

Services related to women’s health and family planning are offered on an appointment basis. These include education, counseling, pregnancy tests, examinations, contraceptives, tests and treatment for sexually transmitted diseases. Fees are based on ability to pay. Phone: (808) 956-6221

I'm in legal trouble. Where can I get help?
See the ISS website for advocacy, counseling, mediation, and lawyer referral services.
I have taken some beautiful photos here in Hawaii. How can I share them with MIX?
Share your photos of UHM, Hawaii, and fun times with friends using MIX Photoshare!

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Summer / Extending

I want to stay here a second semester. How do I extend?

To extend your exchange period from one to two semesters, first get approval from your advisor at your home university. If your home university approves, contact MIX to let Sara & Darrell know that you would like to extend. Finally, you will need to meet with an ISS Advisor to complete an extension form, so that your J-1 or F-1 status can be extended. For the extension form, you may need to show proof of additional funds to cover your expenses during the second semester.

Can I stay here for the summer after my exchange?

Many exchange students at UHM in the spring decide to extend their stay in Hawaii through the summer. You may attend UHM Summer Sessions, but summer tuition is not waived - all participants must pay the Summer Sessions tuition and fees.

Please see an ISS Advisor before your visa expires to request an extension of your program of study. You may be required to show proof of registration in Summer Session courses before your program extension will be granted.

Can I be an exchange student for longer than 2 semesters?
Two semesters is the maximum exchange duration. However, if you are an exchange student at UHM for the whole academic year, you may attend UHM Summer Sessions the summer before and/or the summer after your exchange period.
Can I extend for Practical or Academic Training (AT/OPT)?
In rare cases, exchange students may extend in order to participate in Academic Training (J-1 status) or Optional Practical Training (F-1). See the ISS website for more information, and make an appointment with an ISS Advisor if you think you qualify.
After I graduate from my home university, can I come back to UHM to get a Masters or PhD?

Certainly! It is fairly common for students who spend a semester or year of undergraduate exchange to later apply to UHM for a graduate degree. We welcome you to return to the beautiful UHM campus! Typically, international students pay non-resident tuition at UHM.

Browse UHM Master's and Doctoral degree programs

Check out the East-West Center Graduate Student Affiliate Program.

To apply, see UHM Graduate Admissions.

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