13: On-Campus Orientation

I have been working as an orientation leader for two semesters. I have been working for all new incoming students. Some of my major jobs are interacting with new students, leading campus tours, and hosting some events during orientation. My job is not only during orientation. I also contact students before they come to Hilo and answer their questions. I love this job because I love meeting new people. I can meet over 300 students in just one week. Actually some of the new students from this year are good friends of mine now. In addition, being an orientation leader is not only fun stuff, but also it is very responsible. I always keep in mind that I, an orientation leader, am a representative of UH Hilo.

Briefly, orientation is a welcoming event from school and a new student’s “head start” of new life at UH Hilo. During orientation, students will have opportunities and chances to participate in many different sessions and workshops. Through which they’re able to learn about school facilities and resources available to them. One of the biggest events new students may be excited about is meeting new people and making new friends. The orientation is a great opportunity to meet new people from different places, different countries, and be friends with them.

Now, let me explain some events happening during orientation. The first thing that new students have to do is check in for orientation. That is usually one day before orientation starts. One of the events new students are expected to participate in is convocation, which is a formal welcoming ceremony. During the orientation, several welcoming parties are also held. During orientation, many different types of sessions and workshops are offered such as academic sessions and employment workshops. Students will meet some faculty from their majors too. Field trips, activities, and tours are offered. Through orientation, campus tours are available too. I recommend you go on one of these tours, so that you can be familiar with various locations on campus.

For international students, there are some special programs. New international students may be asked to take English placement exams. They may be also asked to participate in different sessions in which they can learn about some special programs that are available to new internationals students.

So, orientation is important because, as I have explained, there are many important sessions and workshops in order to start a new student life here at UH Hilo successfully. Students are able to get used to this culture and place ahead of time. Also you can try new things and make many new friends during orientation. It’s a lot of fun! So we hope to see you soon at orientation!

12: Communication

While you are away from home and attending school in Hawai’i, you will probably want to stay in touch with your friends and family. You will also want to connect with new friends that you make in Hilo. This section provides some tips and advice about communicating with your friends and family and connecting with new friends.

Communicating with Friends and Family at Home

Most students use Facetime , WhatsApp , Messenger or Line to maintain contact with friends and family at home. We recommend establishing and testing whatever program you choose to use before you leave home so you can be sure that this will work when you are at UH Hilo. You should be able to easily contact family when you arrive in Hilo as the residence halls at UH Hilo have both wireless and ethernet capability. Also, wifi is available throughout campus and it can be accessed with your UH log-in username and password (the same log-in and password for your MyUH Services account).

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11: Cultural Differences

Nellie: One of my favorite things about UH Hilo is diversity. I came here alone, but I was able to make a lot of friends especially from Japan, China, Korea, Micronesia, Samoa as well as the Native Hawaiians and people from the mainland. So I’m so excited and I am not homesick anymore.

Renee: And as for me, my favorite is the food. Here the food is so delicious because you know back home there’s no fast food and stuff, but anyways the Hawaiian and local foods are amazing. It’s my favorite. And also being an ISA officer is also my favorite because I have the opportunity to work with other groups in different cultures and also meet new people. So that’s why I really love here.

Hitomi: My favorite thing at UH Hilo is very small classes. We can interact with professors very easily and professors remember every student’s name, face and personality. And also really easy to make friends too. So, I think this environment is the best way to study.

Quang: What I like about UH Hilo is that you can imagine the campus is just like a big family, a big house, every student is a member of a family. And every activity takes place inside the campus, like when you hungry you can go to cafeteria or dining hall or if you want to do exercise you can go to the gym. I really like doing exercise–look at my muscle: even though it’s small, I think ten years later I will become bigger than Angelo.

Angelo: One thing I like about this campus, I like so many things but one thing that stands out is outdoor adventure. UH Hilo provides outdoor adventure where international or national students, you can get a chance to explore the island to go to different places of this island and you get to see so many things. One thing is the lava flow, no where in the world but here.

Imelda : Mine is I think the International Nights. I love International Nights. It’s an event held every year in UH Hilo and you have a chance to watch performances by different countries. It’s just amazing, you should watch.

Han Sang: I think the most challenging thing here was school work. There are several reasons. First, because English is not my first language, it was hard for me to understand the professors and the lectures. And another thing was, I choose to study a different subject from what I used to study and those are other reasons. The last thing is, U.S college has a different teaching method from where I’m from. For example, In Korea professors are just talking and teaching so it’s basically a lecture base. But here, students and teachers can discuss in the class. But now when I look back, even though it was a hard thing for me, it was such a great experience. Thank you.

Imelda: I think staying away, far away from my family is the biggest challenge for me. I do feel homesick when I came here for the first two and three months. But however I found a way to overcome is to engage in many activities like International Student Association and Geography Environmental Science club, so I do feel better now although I do still miss my parents and my sisters.

Hitomi: Mine is, I didn’t have a culture shock, and I didn’t have a homesick. I think one of the reasons is Hawai’i is really similar as Japan. Like food is very similar: spam musubi, sushi, or those stuff is similar. And also people knows Japanese culture very well. I think I really shift change Japanese life to Hawai’i life, I could do very easily.

Renee: Well for me, It’s the same thing. I didn’t get homesick, is that I wanted to live independently. So I really enjoy being here, also I have a lot people that are also from Micronesia, so it made me feel not getting homesick or culture shock. And also the environment here is also same as the environment back home. So pretty much, I never had some difficulty, it was really good and I also like to wanting to meet new people. Being the Volunteer Coordinator I’m in it’s really good position for me because I’m friendly and I like to meet new people from new countries.

Quang: One thing that I’ve experienced when I first come here is that I feel lonely because I don’t see any Vietnamese student here and everybody speaks English, different culture. I also miss my parents, my family and my country. However, after one or two months I joined different clubs, make new friends and study. Also helped to keep me busy and I don’t have a lot of time to miss my family. And especially making new friends from different cultures was a good experience for me.

Angelo: One of the main challenges for me was when people talk in English, really fast like when I learn English it’s slow. But when I got here it’s completely new. It’s like a new language but the good thing is, you are immersed with the culture and the language so it’s easy for you to adjust with the language. I believe that in two or three months to really adjust with the language.

Annabelle: The biggest challenge for me when I first came here was financial management. Back home, I have my mom and my dad, my family; they manage everything for me even when I was in college. But then when I came here I had to learn how to be independent and it was hard. So I started looking for a job, but it wasn’t easy. I looked everywhere and thanks for International Student Services I got my first job and then went on to my next job, which is my current job at Admissions and it’s pretty great ever since.

Nellie: Well, my biggest challenge was time management. Back home we call “PNG time” or “island time,” and we come up late and stuff like that. But I had to cope with that and I’m working on it right now. And also one of the biggest challenge was to manage my studies as well as other student activities that were going on campus because there are a lot of activities going on and you really have to manage it and put your priorities first to maintain your grades as well as enjoy your life here.

10: International Student Association

Aloha! On behalf of the International Student Association here at UH Hilo, I’d like to welcome you to the University. ISA has been around for about 40 years now. Not only is it one of the oldest student organizations, it’s also one of the largest student organizations here on campus.

The ISA model is to unite, to serve, and to educate. We all come from different backgrounds, different countries. UH Hilo is known to be one of the diverse universities. It is represented by multiple ethnic groups. So, one of the things that ISA strives to do is unite all of the students from different countries through activities or social events.

The third part of our model is to educate. A lot of people here in Hilo don’t know much about cultures of different countries. We find it important to not only teach ourselves and learn about other cultures within ourselves, but also to teach the community here at UH Hilo. Some of the activities that we have done so far are going to Waipi’o Valley, which is a very beautiful place here on the Big Island. We’ve gone on other outdoor adventures with the outdoor adventure club here on campus. We’ve done community service, like painting community buildings. We also have special events like the International Night, which is a very big event here on campus. It’s a two night event that brings in together different cultures. Different student organizations participate and show their ethnic dancing.

We hope you will join us for some of our upcoming activities and we would love to hear some of your ideas on how we can make International Student Association a fun organization for you. We hope to see you soon! Mahalo!

9: Campus Life

Aloha! I’m Kana from Japan. I graduated from an American community college in Japan and transferred to UH Hilo two years ago. Now I’m a senior Psychology major. There are many things to do both on-campus and off-campus. Let me start by telling you a little about things to do on-campus. We have an amazing outdoor adventure program on-campus. Every weekend there are trips somewhere on the island. I went to many beaches such as A-bay, Kua bay, Hapuna beach and so many other beaches. All beaches are so beautiful and great spots to snorkel. There are other trips to go to Mauna Kea summit. You may be able to sea snow in Hawai’i. And a submarine trip–that was awesome. I saw many beautiful fishes. There are other activities such as canoeing, sailing, paddleboard and kayaking. One of the great points about adventure programs is that most of the trips are free and leaves from campus.

Let’s talk about the Student Life Center. We have a gym and they are usually open 6:30 am to 9:00 pm weekdays and they are also open weekends with different hours, so you can work out everyday. At the gym, various kinds of fitness classes are offered such as yoga, spin, hip hop dance, hula dance, total fitness and abs and core. They are all fun and the good thing about the fitness classes is that they are totally free. We also have an Olympic size swimming pool, a half size basketball court and a beach volleyball court. For outdoor activities, you’re able to rent kayak, scuba tank, paddle board and so forth. Of course we have locker rooms and shower rooms. UH Hilo offers certification programs. We have different kinds of programs such as scuba diving, training to drive school vans, first aid and CPR.

Outside of class, there are always things happening. For example, we have movie nights, some dance performances, live music, lectures by guest speakers and world class shows and concerts at the school theater. Many events are happening on campus everyday. There are many athletic home games such as baseball, softball, basketball and women’s volleyball.

UH Hilo has lots of different student clubs. Join one! There are sports clubs, religious clubs, clubs for different majors and countries, service clubs and dance clubs. No matter what you are interested, you will probably find a club whose members have similar interests as you.

UH Hilo also has many major events on campus every year. One of the biggest events is International Nights which is an annual cultural event. Many cultural groups perform, dance, sing, play on the stage. Another event is Earth Day which is an annual world wide event. This event is aimed at demonstrating support for environmental protection. There is a lot of music and dance performance. We also have the annual Ho’olaulea. This is a famous program–a big musical festival featuring many local bands and musicians. You will enjoy their live music. Off-campus there are movie theaters and a large shopping mall. Downtown Hilo also has lots of shops and restaurants. Here we have local Hawaiian, Japanese, Chinese, Korean, Vietnamese, Italian, all kinds of restaurants. There is lots of things to do. Take advantage of everything that Hilo has to offer!

8: Travel and Transportation

Aloha! One of the most exciting things about your journey is making your plans to travel to Hilo. For most of you, it will be a long journey to get to Hilo, but we assure you it will be well-worth it!

In this section, you will learn about:

  • When you should arrive in Hilo
  • What to expect at the airport when you arrive in the United States
  • Getting from the airport to campus
  • What you should bring with you
  • What to pack

We will also talk about how to get around in Hilo and the Big Island during your time as a student at UH Hilo.

Hawai’i is one of the most beautiful places on earth, and we look forward to greeting you with a “warm aloha” when you arrive in Hilo!

7: Health Requirements

Hi, my name is Erika! I’m an international student here at UH Hilo and I also am a current intern at the Student Health and Wellness Programs. This section of the online orientation program is about health and wellness. It is important that you stay healthy while you are attending UH Hilo so that you will be able to be successful and enjoy everything that UH Hilo has to offer.

Student Health and Wellness Programs at UH Hilo provides medical and mental health care services. There are medical services available on campus staffed by nurse practitioners and most of your health care needs can be taken care of at the Student Medical Services Clinic on campus. There are also counseling services available on campus. Counseling services provides personal counseling and a supportive environment to help you develop your unique potential. Counseling services provides a safe setting where students can improve mental health and wellness and define and achieve academic and personal goals.

In addition, we also hold events and activities throughout the year to promote health, safety, and wellness. There are important health related things you will need to do, such as getting health insurance and your TB test. You will learn about them in this section, so be sure to pay attention. Don’t be afraid to ask if you don’t understand something. Also, the health care system in the U.S. can be different from other parts of the world, so it is important to learn about the health care system in the U.S. and know what to expect. We look forward to welcoming you and meeting you when you arrive. Thank you!

6: Visas and Immigration

As an international student coming to study in the United States, there are some important rules and regulations that you need to be aware of. This section explains the steps you need to take to obtain a visa, and it will also explain some other important rules and regulations that you will need to follow during your time studying at UH Hilo in the United States. If you’re from one of the Compact of Free Association nations—Palau, the Marshall Islands or the Federated States of Micronesia—you do not need a visa to enter the United States. So most of this section does not apply to you. You can skip toward the end of this section where we talk about Social Security numbers, because the section on social security number does apply to you.

Don’t hesitate to contact the International Student Services office at UH Hilo if you have any questions. We are here to help, and we hope to see you in Hilo soon!

5: Money and Banking

Aloha!  My name is Todd Shumway and I am the Director of Global Exchange at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.  We look forward to welcoming you to our new student orientation this fall at the University of Hawai’i at Hilo.

Today I would like to talk to a little about your financial part of your planning for coming to school in Hilo.  As a student there are financial things that you need to plan for.  For example, tuition, student fees, housing costs, your meal costs, textbooks, and of course the other costs that you will have living in Hilo.  Hilo is a moderately priced town, so it is not necessary to spend a lot of money here, but of course you need to have good financial planning before you come.  So this section of the orientation will give you examples of the types of costs, the deadlines you need to be aware of and of course how you can make your payments to the University.

We are also always available for questions and please follow up and let us know if you have questions or concerns about this and about the financial portion of your stay at Hawai’i.  So once again we look forward to seeing you this fall and we say aloha.

3: Housing

One of the first things you should do after you decide to come to UH Hilo is find a place to live. Living on campus is a lot of fun, and it’s a great way to meet and get to know other students. You will make life-long friends with other students in the dorms.

UH Hilo has five residence halls, or dorms, on campus. One of the dorms, Hale ‘Alahonua, just opened in 2013. The name of each dorm starts with “hale,” which means “house” in Hawaiian.

There are several dining halls–or cafeterias–on campus. At each meal, there is a variety of food to choose from, including vegetarian options. If you live on campus, you will be required to be on a meal plan, except if you live in Hale ‘Ikena – which is the on-campus dorms that has its own kitchen in each apartment.

To live on-campus, you have to submit a housing application. Apply early, because spaces are assigned on a first-come, first-served basis. Unfortunately, there is usually not enough space in the residence halls for everybody who wants to live on campus.

Some students prefer to live off-campus. There are several apartments within walking distance to campus. You will find out more about these options in this section of your online orientation.

The Housing staff at UH Hilo looks forward to welcoming you and meeting you when you come to campus! Aloha!

Aloha, my name is Hang Sang Lee and I am from South Korea. Today let me introduce Hale Kauanoe, which means, “ house of misty rain” in Hawaiian. Hale Kauanoe consists of three buildings. That building behind the tree is girls’ Kauanoe and this building right here is where Hale Kauanoe office is in. You can use TV and a kitchen. This building is where boys live. So now let’s see where I live.

So here we go. As you can see I live in by myself. I don’t have any roommate, which is great and I have a nice bed, cozy bed and two closets, which is this and this. And of course I have a desk so I can study and do whatever I want. I hope you guys enjoy the time while you’re staying in Hale Kauanoe or other hale. Thank you.

Let’s take a look. So here we have our kitchen, we have our refrigerator, it’s pretty old looking but it still works so that’s what matters. We have our stove right here, four burners, we also have an oven. We have a counter and two sinks and this is where we put/wash our dishes, put it in here and our cabinets. And this is our kitchen table, where we sit to eat.

This is what the living room looks like. So that’s the couch, and you have the coffee table and outside there’s a balcony, where you can see the cars, and the library, solar panels and the sidewalk.

The moment you’ve been waiting for, the bedroom. So let’s go inside. This is the bed. We have a window over there. This is our dresser, one for another person and one for your roommate. Over here is the study table, where I do most of my studying. And we also have light, so you can study anytime at night.

That’s the closet, where you can put a lot of stuff up on top. As you can see, I have my books there, some papers and where you put the hangers and put your clothes on.

Here’s the bathroom, that’s the toilet and that’s the shower room and that door is connected to the other side, so your roommates from the other side will be coming from there.