We are excited for you to come to study at HELP in Hawaii! Below are tips for preparing for life in Hawaii.

Weather in Hawaiʻi

As you would expect in paradise, Hawaiʻi has a tropical and warm climate all year. Hawaiʻi’s climate is sunny, tropical and mild (70° to 85° Fahrenheit, 20° to 30° Celsius) with a cooler/rainy season from November to April. Below, you can see the weather for today and a forecast for the coming days.

Please note that June – November is hurricane season. While it is rare for a large storm system to directly hit the islands, occasionally there will be heavy rain, winds, and the risk of flooding. We encourage students to check the weather before going out especially to the beach or other outdoor activities. It is not safe to go in the ocean during bad weather. See our Safety Tips section below for more information on how to stay safe while enjoying Hawaii.


What clothes to pack?

People in Hawaiʻi usually dress more casually than in other places. Casual clothing is appropriate for most situations. Bring a sweater or light jacket, an umbrella and comfortable walking shoes. Light cotton and other cool washable clothing is recommended. Bring at least one nice outfit for special occasions such as graduation. National dress may also be worn for special occasions.

Packing Tips:

  • Do NOT pack or take prohibited items to the airport. Please visit TSA’s “What can I bring?” page to see a list of prohibited items.
    If you bring a prohibited item to the checkpoint you will have to get rid of it before going through. Bringing a prohibited item to a security checkpoint, even accidentally, is illegal.
  • Liquids of 3 ounces or less (by volume) need to be packed in a quart-sized, clear, zip-top plastic bag. For more information, please visit: TSA Liquids Rule page.
  • Checked baggage will go through a security screening process which may differ, depending on equipment, at each airport.
  • Place identification tags in and on all of your baggage. Don’t forget to label your laptop computer. Computers are one of the most forgotten items at screening checkpoints.

Packing List

Here is a recommended Packing check-list for you:

  • Clothes: Shorts, jeans/long pants (thin, not too heavy), T-shirts, sleeveless tops, skirts, sundresses, light jackets, swimsuit, socks and underwear, sun hat, running shoes/flip-flops/sandals, at least one nice outfit for special events.
  • Toiletries: Shower soap, tooth brush, shampoo, lotion/moisturizer, make-up, deodorant, razor and shaving soap
  • Other: Camera, dictionary, sunscreen, sunglasses, study materials (pen, notebook, bag, laptop, etc.)
  • Carry-on the plane items
    • Original I-20 form (students with student visas) and other visa-related documents (see next section for more details)
    • Passport
    • Money-Cash or traveler’s check in US$; credit/debit card (Visa and MasterCard are most widely accepted)
    • HELP Contact Information
    • Jacket
    • Flight / Accommodation Information
    • Computer



Bring these documents with you on the airplane (F-1 students):

  • Passport with F-1 visa
  • SEVIS Form I-20AB/I-20MN, or DS-2019
  • SEVIS I-901 Fee payment receipt
  • Evidence of financial resources, Acceptance letter from HELP, which includes the name and contact information for the Director of HELP, who is the Primary Designated School Official (PDSO).

Flight attendants on board your airplane will distribute CF-6059–Customs Declaration Form before you land at the Honolulu airport or your initial point-of-entry in the U.S. Complete this form while you are on the aircraft. If you do not understand the form, ask the flight attendant for assistance.

Upon arrival at the port-of- entry, proceed to the terminal area for arriving passengers for inspection. As you approach the inspection station, make sure that you have: passport, SEVIS Form I-20 or DS-2019; and, CF-6059 Customs Declaration Form available for presentation to the CBP Officer.

Like all entering visitors, you will be asked to state the reason you wish to enter the United States. If you have a student visa and I-20, tell the officer that you will be a full time student. If you are coming in on a visa waiver, you should say that you are going to enjoy Hawaiʻi and take some part-time language classes.

If the officer has additional questions for you, they may take you to a separate section of customs called secondary. If the officer has trouble confirming your status as a student, please ask the officer to call the HELP program and ask for the Director or a DSO at the program so that we can help to explain your situation.

Once your inspection is complete, the inspecting officer will return your SEVIS Form I-20. Do not lose this form — it is very important! You will need the form to prove you are in status as a student, and to apply for documents such as a Hawaii’s drivers license or state ID.



Hawaii is a wonderful place to live and study! Prepare for exploring everything Hawaii has to offer SAFELY by reading the following information on safety tips:

Safety on UHM Campus

Visit the UH Manoa Department of Public Safety site to read safety tips for campus life.

You can also read their safety brochure in different languages:

More brochures about on-campus safety can be found here: DPS Safety Tips