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Questions & Answers

I have questions about:

- General Information
- Eligibility Requirements
- The MIX Application
- Academic Planning

- Financial Planning
- Pre-Departure
- While I'm Abroad
- After I Return

General Information

Where can I go on International exchange?

UH Manoa currently has student exchange agreements with over 50 universities in 25 different countries. We have partner universities in various parts of Asia, Oceania, the Pacific, Europe, and North America.  See them all under MIX Partner Universities (left).

How long are exchanges?

Most MIX partner universities have semester or yearlong exchanges; some also offer summer programs. MIX Summer programs vary in length, from as short as 2 weeks to as long as 10 weeks.

Can students in any major go on MIX?

There are options for students in all academic areas. Most MIX partner universities are open to students in all majors; however, a few are restricted to certain majors (e.g., Business majors only or Dance majors only). 

If you want to take courses related to your major while you're abroad, browse MIX by Major to view partner universities that might be a good fit for you.

How do I choose a Partner University?

Start by browsing Partner Universities and MIX By Major.  In your online MIX application, you will be asked to list your top five partner universities, ranked in order of preference.  You will ultimately be nominated to a partner university that is a good overall fit for you, once all factors have been considered (academic interests, language skills, GPA, strength of application, space available at the partner university, the balance of inbound vs. outbound exchange students, etc.). Please be flexible about your nomination - you are not guaranteed your first choice.

What courses will I take while I'm abroad?

It depends on which partner university you attend, but usually you will take a variety of electives, language courses, and courses towards your major. Sometimes, a specific curriculum is offered for exchange students (e.g., language and culture classes for foreigners). At some partner universities, you may have to select from the courses that are taught in English. If you have adequate language skills, you may take regular university classes taught in the local language. Many partner universities open all of their courses to exchange students, while others have restrictions in certain academic areas.

Where will I live?

Most partner universities offer dormitories or other types of student housing.  Some universities have a homestay option, or provide recommendations for off-campus apartments.  If you have extended family members near your overseas university, you may arrange to live with them and commute to class. You are responsible for paying all your housing costs.

What's the difference between MIX and the UHM Study Abroad Center?

Both MIX and UHMSAC provide excellent opportunities for UH Manoa students to study abroad.  Courses from both MIX and UHMSAC can be used towards completing your degree, with approval from academic advisors. You are encouraged to explore both MIX and UHMSAC when considering your options for going abroad.  Be sure to visit the UHMSAC website.  The key differences between MIX and UHMSAC are:

MIX
UHMSAC
Exchange - True exchange program, managing both inbound and outbound students
Study Abroad - Sends groups of UHM students overseas (does not bring international students to UHM)
MIX Locations - Australia, Belgium, Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic, Denmark, Fiji, France, French Polynesia, Germany, Hong Kong, Indonesia, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Philippines, Singapore, South Africa, Sweden, Taiwan, Thailand, and UK

SAC Locations - Argentina, Australia, China, Denmark, France, Germany, India, Italy, Japan, Spain, United Kingdom

The Study Abroad Center also has an Independent "Self-Designed" study abroad program option.

Transfer Credit - Courses will transfer in and appear on your Transfer Report. The grades you earn abroad do not affect your cumulative UHM GPA.
UHM Credit - Courses will appear on your UHM transcript. The grades you earn abroad will be factored into your cumulative GPA.
Regular UHM Tuition - You will continue to pay your normal UHM tuition (Resident, WUE, or Nonresident). Additionally, you are responsible for all living expenses, including airfare, transportation, books, room & meals, health insurance, etc.
UHMSAC Program Fee - You will pay a study abroad program fee instead of your normal tuition. Housing, insurance, books, excursions, and some other program costs are already included in the fee. Fees vary by UHMSAC program.
Dorms or Apartments - MIX students typically live in dorms or apartments. Some universities offer homestays.
Homestay - UHMSAC students are placed with homestay families on most programs.
Local Instructors - Exchange students take classes from local instructors at the partner university. 
UHM Faculty - A UHM instructor usually accompanies the UHM students on each UHMSAC program. 
Independence - MIX normally sends no more than three students to each partner university at one time. MIX students should be prepared to be more independent and able to take initiative.
Group dynamic - Typically, a group of 10-25 UHM students travel together to the UHMSAC study destination. Participants may enjoy the group dynamic of UHMSAC. Groups are accompanied by a UHM instructor.  
What's the difference between MIX and National Student Exchange (NSE)?

MIX is for student exchanges to universities in countries outside of the U.S. (e.g., in Japan, Korea, Germany, etc.)

National Student Exchange (NSE) is for student exchange to universities within the U.S. (e.g., in California, New York, Colorado). However, NSE also has a few exchange partners outside of the U.S. mainland (e.g., in Canada, Guam, U.S. Virgin Islands). For more information on NSE, contact Sandy Davis (email: sandyd@hawaii.edu, office: 205 Physical Sciences Building).

Who runs MIX?

MIX is jointly run by two full-time professional staff members: Darrell Kicker, International Exchange Coordinator, and Sara Otis, International Exchange Specialist.  There are also several MIX student interns, and a team of student volunteers who help out.  MIX all other programs within the Office of International and Exchange Programs (OIEP) are overseen by Andy Sutton, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Programs (Dr. Sutton is also the Dean of the School for Pacific and Asian Studies).  MIX is also supported by faculty from many of UHM’s Colleges, Schools, and Centers. 

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Eligibility Requirements

Do I need to speak another language?  Are there classes taught in English?

At many MIX partner universities, exchange students may take classes taught in English, and do not have to have any foreign language skills to participate.   At other partner universities, students are requested to have some background in the country’s language (for example, one year of Japanese) prior to participating.  At a few partner universities, students take regular university courses taught in the host country’s language, and must already have advanced proficiency in that language in order to participate. 

What is the GPA requirement?

The preferred GPA requirement is 3.0. However, if your GPA is at least 2.5, we will consider your application but you will have to be flexible about your placement. The higher your GPA, the more options you will have.

Can FRESHMEN go on exchange? 

Students who enter UHM as freshmen can participate in MIX as early as the summer after their freshman year.  To go abroad for a semester, new freshmen should complete at least two semesters at UHM and reach sophomore standing in credits before going on exchange.  Juniors and seniors are welcome to go abroad on MIX, and should work with their academic advisors to incorporate courses taken abroad into their academic plans.   

Can TRANSFER STUDENTS go on exchange?

Yes; an incoming transfer student should complete at least one semester at UH Manoa before going on exchange, but preferably two.

However, students transferring from UH Community Colleges (with at least sophomore standing) with a cumulative GPA of 3.3 or higher are eligible to study abroad through MIX during their first semester at UH Manoa. Please contact uhmix@hawaii.edu before you apply. You will also need to email a copies of your community college trancript and your UHM admissions letter to uhmix@hawaii.edu, in addition to the regular application materials.

Can GRADUATE STUDENTS go on exchange?

Graduate students are welcome to go on exchange at many, but not all, MIX partner universities.  Careful academic planning is necessary for graduate students, and it is important to communicate with your faculty advisor and the MIX staff well in advance.  Some MIX partner universities allow graduate exchange students to take graduate level courses taught in the host country’s language, if the student is already proficient in that language; a few offer graduate level courses taught in English. 

Graduate students who go on international exchange should communicate with their faculty advisors to discuss using courses taken abroad towards degree requirements.  

Can I go abroad twice?

With careful academic and financial planning, you may be able to go on exchange multiple times.  It is common to go on a summer exchange, and then later go abroad again on a semester or yearlong exchange. If you want to go abroad multiple times, be sure to make a plan with your academic advisors so that you stay on track towards graduation.

Can I do back-to-back programs in two different places?

Participation in back-to-back exchanges in two different MIX locations is not recommended.  In some cases, it is not possible.  Many partner universities have conflicting academic calendars, and you might have trouble getting a student visa for the second location if you are already overseas.  If you are interested in multiple exchanges, please meet with a MIX staff member to discuss it well in advance. 

Can I go on MIX right before I graduate?

You may not participate in MIX during your last semester or summer towards graduation, unless permission has been given for graduation in absential by the appropriate college or school dean. This is due to the UHM Residency Requirement, which states that a degree candidate must be registered and in attendance during the semester (or summer session) he or she completes the requirements fore his or her degree.

If you are granted an exception to the Residency Requirement by your college or school dean, you will have several factors to carefully consider:

  • You must take care to meet with your academic advisors to have your MIX courses pre-approved, and to ensure that you will be able to complete your remaining degree requirements from abroad.  If you are not diligent in this manner, you run the risk of having to return to UHM for another semester or summer in order to complete any remaining requirements needed for graduation. 
  • Also keep in mind that it takes time for MIX courses to transfer back to UHM.  Upon completion of a semester (or summer) abroad, the partner university must first send your official transcript to MIX.  Then, the courses must be manually entered into your academic record.  These processes may take up to four months after the end of your term abroad.  Only after your MIX courses are transferred in may your record be processed for official graduation.  If you wish to be admitted to a law, medical, or graduate program directly after completing your last semester of undergraduate studies, this timeline might not be feasible for you.
Can I go on MIX after I graduate?

MIX semester and yearlong exchanges are only for current/continuing students. See Information for Returnees for ideas on how to teach, intern, or volunteer abroad after you graduate.

However, one exception is for you to go on a MIX Summer Program right after you graduate. MIX Summer Programs categorized as 'Independent' may be options for you. Please talk to the MIX staff to discuss before you apply.

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The MIX Application

When do I apply?

Apply to MIX at the beginning of the semester before you want to go abroad.

For example, apply in early Spring to go abroad in the Summer or Fall. Apply in early Fall to go abroad in the Spring.

For Summer, Fall, and Academic Year exchanges:

  • Application Opens: Dec 1
  • Priority Deadline: Feb 1
  • Extended Deadline: Apr 1

For Spring exchanges:

  • Application Opens: July 1
  • Priority Deadline: Sept 1
  • Extended Deadline: Nov 1

Please complete the application process by the Priority Deadline! We will continue to accept applications until the Extended Deadline, but space at certain partner universities may no longer be available. For the best results regarding your nomination, please apply by the Priority Deadline.

What's the difference between the Priority and Extended Deadlines?

Students who apply by the Priority Deadline will be considered first for nomination. All students are encouraged to apply by the Priority Deadline.

After the Priority Deadline, MIX will continue to accept applications and make nominations on a rolling basis. Space at some MIX Partner Universities may have filled, and you may have to be more flexible about your nomination.

Students who miss the Priority Deadline can still apply up until the Extended Deadline.

How do I apply to MIX?

The MIX application process is a simple 3-step process:

1. Complete the Online MIX Application

2. Email us a 1-page Statement of Purpose (not required for Summer)

3. Email us a scanned copy of your valid passport ID page

See the Outbound Students page for detailed application instructions.

How long does it take to complete the Online MIX application?

It should take about 10 minutes to complete the Online MIX Application.

One thing you will need to do to prepare is decide on the top 5 MIX Partner Universities that interest you. In your Online MIX Application, you will have to list those universities in order of your preference.

Can my top 5 partner universities be in different countries?
Yes! Students often choose partner universities based on their major.s For example, a business student's first choice might be Germany, and their second choice Singapore. A TIM student might choose universities in Canada, Thailand, Fiji, Australia, and Hong Kong!
May I print my Statement of Purpose and passport copy and drop them off at the MIX Office, or do I have to email them?
Please email your MIX Statement of Purpose and passport copy to uhmix@hawaii.edu. Paper copies are not acceptable. If you need a scanner, please go to a computer lab in Hamilton or Sinclair Library.
Is it OK if my essay is longer than 1 page?

Please limit your essay to one page. It can be single or double spaced, depending on how thoroughly you wish to answer the prompt. Please carefully follow the formatting and content instructions under 'Apply to MIX' at Outbound Students.

What happens after I apply to MIX? 

Within a few weeks after you apply, you will receive an email from MIX stating your Nomination & Next Steps.

That email will let you know the Partner University where you are placed, and provide detailed instructions on that university's admission process for exchange students. Please save that email for reference, and follow the instructions in it carefully.

I received my nomination. What happens next?

Once you have been nominated, you have to complete the partner university's application process for exchange students.

Each university has a different application process - some have online applications, while others require you to send documents in the mail. Some universities require letters of recommendation, while others do not. Many universities require official transcripts, ID photographs, health forms, and other paperwork.

Your nomination email from MIX will contain detailed instructions of your overseas university's application process, and the date by which you must complete it. Please follow instructions carefully, and submit your partner university application on time!

Is MIX competitive?  What are my chances of getting in?

MIX aims to accommodate every eligible student who wants to go on exchange. We encourage you to apply!

Because some partner universities are impacted, you might not get nominated to the partner university listed as your first choice. However, if you are flexible, we will be able to send you abroad to a university that makes sense for you.

If your GPA is below a 2.5, you are ineligible for MIX will have to improve your GPA before you can apply. If your GPA is above 2.5 but still below 3.0, only certain partner universities will be open to you. As such, you will have to be flexible about your nomination.

Are letters of recommendation required?

When you apply to MIX, Letters of recommendation are not required. The only MIX application requirements are: Online MIX Application, Statement of Purpose, and Passport Copy.

However, based on your Nomination, you may later have to submit one or more letters of recommendation with your partner university application. Some overseas partner universities require letters of recommendation, while others do not.

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Academic Planning

Will I get credit for the courses I take abroad?

You will receive transfer credit (not UH credit) for the courses you take overseas on MIX. In order not to delay your graduation, you should take classes that are the equivalent of courses you need to take here at UHM (see your academic advisor to discuss using courses from abroad towards your major or minor).

To receive transfer credit for a three-credit course, be sure the course is considered a three-credit (or equivalent) course at the overseas university. (A three-credit class should meet for 45-48 class hours.).  It is important that you save all of your course syllabi. You will need to submit copies of syllabi to MIX so that the UHM Office of Admissions and/or UHM faculty can confirm the appropriate course equivalencies.

Can I use MIX courses towards my major or minor?

Your academic advisor (or faculty advisor for graduate students) can approve MIX courses to count towards your major or minor requirements. Download the MIX Academic Advising Worksheet at Pre-Departure Information.

Can I use MIX courses towards my General Education Requirements?

It is normally possible to complete your Diversification requirements abroad on MIX. Typically, you need to complete your Focus and Foundations requirements here at UHM. In some cases, it may be possible to complete some Foundations requirements abroad, although this is difficult.

How do I register for my courses?

There are two steps to registration. First, you need to register for a MIX Placeholder Course in your MyUH portal. The MIX staff will email you with a course code and CRN at registration time.

When you arrive at the overseas partner university, you will register for the courses you will take there. Some partner universities have a pre-registration process that you will complete a month or two before you go abroad.

What is a MIX Placeholder Course?

A MIX Placeholder course is what you register for in the MyUH portal so that you are a full-time, tuition-paying UHM student while you are on international exchange.

When you return from overseas, your courses will transfer in from overseas and you will see them in your MyUH Transfer Report. At that time, the MIX Placeholder Course will be removed from your transcript.

How many credits can I transfer in from MIX?

Full-time UHM tuition is the same for undergraduates taking 12-19 credits. Even though you are registered for a 12-credit MIX Placeholder Course in MyUH, you may transfer back up to 19 credits per semester from your overseas university.

Graduate students: full-time enrollment is 8-16 credits.

Can I take UHM online courses while I’m on exchange?

Yes; you may register for a combination of MIX Placeholder credits and UHM online course credits while abroad on MIX.  It is recommended that you take no more than one online UHM course per semester while you are abroad, so that you have time to focus on your classes at the partner university, and to engage in cultural and social activities outside of the classroom.  Your MIX Placeholder and UHM online course credits must add up to a minimum of 12 per semester/six per summer (undergraduate) or eight per semester/four per summer (graduate). 

When should I start planning for international exchange? 

It is never too early to start planning for international exchange!  You are welcome to stop by QLC 206 to talk to the MIX staff during our Drop-In Advising Hours: Tues-Weds-Thurs 1:30-3:30 PM.  We are happy to help you explore your options and answer your questions.  You are also encouraged to talk to your academic advisors early on, so that a semester or year abroad can be incorporated into your academic plan. 

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Financial Planning

How much does it cost to go on international exchange?

You pay normal UHM tuition when you go on MIX. Your tuition category (Resident, WUE, Nonresident, etc.) stays the same.

In addition to UHM tuition, you are responsible for all of your transportation and living expenses when you go abroad (insurance, books & supplies, room & meals, personal expenses, airfare & local transportation, and any costs for getting a visa. These costs vary, depending on where you go. Browse the MIX Partner Universities pages to see estimates of living expenses.

Can I use my Financial Aid while I'm on exchange?

Yes; since you are still a registered UHM student while on MIX, you continue to be eligible to receive financial aid (loans, grants, and scholarships).  Remember that even though you are taking classes at a UHM partner university overseas, you are still a UHM student.  If you complete a FAFSA and submit a ‘MIX Financial Aid Budget’ form, UHM Financial Aid Services will take into consideration your overseas living and travel expenses when awarding your grants and loans.  Get more information about MIX Financial Aid.

Are there scholarships available for MIX?

Since you continue to be a UHM student while on MIX, you can still use any scholarships you get.  Additionally, you should browse Study Abroad Scholarships and other funding sources highlighted on the MIX website.  Plan to spend several hours searching for scholarships, and several days applying for them.  Remember, it is important to take scholarship applications seriously, and to complete them to the best of your ability; mediocre or poorly done scholarship applications will not result in financial rewards. 

I understand that my financial aid is released 10 days before my semester abroad starts. What if I want to buy my plane ticket before that time?

It is usually more cost-effective to purchase your plane ticket well in advance of your departure. As your departure date approaches, the cost of airfare tends to increase. We recommend planning ahead for this expense, setting aside some money to purchase your plane ticket before your financial aid is disbursed for your semester abroad.

If your finances are tight, you might consider booking your flight through STA Travel. STA gives the option to put $300 down on their ticket, and pay off the rest once your financial aid is disbursed.

I'm a Veteran. Can I use my VA benefits on MIX?

Veterans may qualify to continue receiving VA educational benefits while on international exchange, with approval of their courses from UHM Veterans Affairs. All courses used towards VA educational benefits, including those taken on an international exchange program, must be required for your degree program.

I'm abroad and my aid for next semester got cancelled. What do I do?

Until your courses from abroad are transferred into UHM, your aid for the following semester may be cancelled. This is perfectly normal, especially for students going to Japan, Australia, or New Zealand, where the semester ends much later than ours.

As soon as your courses transfer in, just send an email to finaid@hawaii.edu to inform your financial aid advisor that your courses have transferred, and to request that your aid be reinstated.

Can I get Financial Aid for a MIX Summer Program?

MIX Summer Programs fall into two different tuition categories: Regular Exchange (pay UHM tuition), and Independent (pay overseas university tuition). Only students taking at least 6 credits on a Regular Exchange program may apply for a summer financial aid award. To apply, there are two MIX Financial Aid Forms you need to complete.

Summer financial aid awards typically consist of any students loans from the previous academic year that you did not use.

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Pre-Departure

Is there a Pre-Departure Orientation?

Yes - all outbound exchange students attend a MIX Pre-Departure Orientation the semester before they go abroad. At orientation, we will cover important pre-departure information to make sure everyone is on track to go abroad. After that, a panel of MIX Returnees will share their advice with you on a variety of important topics. At the end of the orientation, you will get to mingle with other students going abroad, based on geographic region.

View a self-guided version of the orientation at: MIX Pre-Departure Information.

What other pre-departure tasks are there?

There are some required Pre-Departure Forms, which you can access at Pre-Departure Information.

On that page, you will also find details about course registration, health insurance, academic planning, and financial aid.

Do I need a passport?

Yes; all students need valid passports to go on exchange. Your passport should be valid for at least six months after the end of your term abroad. Apply for or renew your passport at the Campus Center, or visit travel.state.gov/passport.

If you will be using a passport from a county other than the U.S., or if you have passports from two different countries, please consult with the MIX staff regarding your travel plans.

Do I need a visa?

Entry requirements for each country are different; students who are U.S. citizens can check on the State Department website to find out if you need a visa for your MIX country.

Country-specific visa information can also be found on each MIX Partner University overview.

Most often, if you will be on a semester or yearlong exchange, you will need to apply for either a student visa or a residence permit. Typically, students going on a summer exchange can travel with a tourist visa. However, requirements for each country are different. The most comprehensive and up to date visa information can be found at the Consulate General or Embassy website for the country where you will study.

What exactly 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 the country for a specific purpose.

Typically, you can apply for a visa at the Consulate or Embassy of the country where you will be studying. Some countries have consulates here in Honolulu, while others do not (in which case you may need to apply for your visa through the mail, or in rare cases, visit a consulate in another state such as California). To apply for a visa, you typically need to submit your valid passport, your official acceptance letter to the overseas university, plus other required forms and documents (each country has different requirements). Oftentimes, there is visa application fee. Americans traveling abroad can visit Travel.State.Gov to read more about getting a visa to another country. Citizens from other countries can look on the destination country's consulate website to see if they need a visa.

Where can I get passport photos?

If you need passport photos for your visa or residence permit, you can get two photos for $5 at the Campus Center Ticket, Information, and ID Office.

When should I buy my plane ticket?

Start browsing airfare early, but don't buy your ticket until you have program dates and arrival instructions from the partner university. You are responsible for arranging your own airfare, and should decide what works best for you. It may be helpful to talk with Returnees or other students going abroad to get tips about good deals.

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While I'm Abroad

Where will I live while I’m abroad on MIX?

Most exchange students live in dormitories or other types of student housing.  Some universities have a homestay option, or recommendations for off-campus apartments.  You may be asked to fill out a housing form, or even put down a housing deposit, before your exchange program starts. Browse MIX Partner Universities to view housing options at each location.

Will there be an orientation when I arrive?

Yes; every MIX partner university holds an orientation or welcome program for international students.  Orientations vary from a few hours to a few days, depending on the university.

Are there any field trips or cultural activities for exchange students?

Most MIX partner universities offer optional field trips, cultural activities, and social events for international students. Many also have buddy programs, student mentors, or language exchange partners that can help you to make friends and get involved.

When do I register for my next semester's courses?

While you are abroad, you will need to register in MyUH for courses for your next term back at UHM. Check your MyUH portal, and don't be late! Remember that registration times are listed in your portal in Hawaiian Standard Time.

Summer Registration: early April

Fall Registration: mid April

Spring Registration: mid-November

If you are going to be on MIX for two semesters, the MIX staff will email you another CRN for the MIX Placeholder Course prior to your second semester abroad.

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After I Return

How long does it take for my courses to transfer to UHM?

It can take up to four months after the end of your program for the courses you took on exchange to transfer back to UHM. First, the partner university has to produce your official transcript, and send it to MIX. Then, MIX will attach the syllabi you provided to your transcript, and send it to Admissions. The Admissions staff will manually enter the courses you took abroad into your Transfer Report on your MyUH portal.

If you do not provide syllabi to MIX in a timely manner, the transfer process may be delayed. Please email syllabi to uhmix@hawaii.edu before the end of your exchange to avoid delays. That way, when your transcript arrives, it can be forwarded with your syllabi immediately to Admissions.

How can I meet international students at UHM?

If you want to meet exchange students studying at UHM, please come to International Coffee Hour!

Fridays 3:00-5:00

Sinclair Library, 'Ewa Lanai

You may also want to become a MIX Volunteer in order to help with social activities for exchange students. Email uhmix@hawaii.edu if you're interested in becoming a MIX Volunteer!

Where can I find info for MIX Returnees?

Find lots of helpful information about academic, financial, and re-integration topics on at Returnee Information. You will also find lots of resources for ways to travel abroad after graduation to teach, intern, or volunteer.

How can I get an internship at MIX?

Every summer and semester, Sara and Darrell train and support several MIX Interns to assist with outreach projects, event coordination, peer advising, and social networking tasks. Students dedicate approximately six hours per week towards their Internship. MIX Interns gain a wealth of pre-professional experience and valuable transferrable skills, and get to help other students by engaging in a variety of meaningful and rewarding projects. Starting in Fall 2014, MIX interns will each be compensated with a $2,000 tuition scholarship per semester of service.

If you are interested in interning or volunteering with MIX, please complete the form at Returnee Information or contact a MIX staff member to discuss.

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Still have more questions? Email uhmix@hawaii.edu

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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