FAQs for Outbound Students
Most MIX partner universities accept exchange students for either one or two semesters; some also offer summer programs.
Most MIX partner universities are open to students in any major; however, a few programs are restricted to certain majors (e.g., Business majors only or Dance majors only).
Students should start by browsing our partner universities and MIX By Major. In their online MIX application, students will be asked to list their top five partner universities, ranked in order of preference. Students will ultimately be nominated to a partner university that is a good overall fit for them, once all factors have been considered (e.g., academic interests, language skills, GPA, strength of application, space available at the partner university, the balance of inbound vs. outbound exchange students, etc.). Applicants should be flexible - students are not guaranteed their first choice.
It depends on which partner university you attend, but usually students take a variety of electives, language courses, and courses towards their major. Many MIX partner universities allow exchange students to choose from all of the courses they offer, allowing a wide range of students to take classes in their major; at some partner universities, exchange students may either choose from any courses that are taught in English, or take classes taught in the local language if they are already proficient in that language at an academic level; at yet other partner universities, a specific curriculum is offered for exchange students (e.g., language and culture classes for foreigners).
Most exchange students live in dormitories or other types of student housing. Some universities have a homestay option, or provide recommendations for off-campus apartments. Students normally receive housing information and applications after they are accepted to a partner university.
Both MIX and SAC provide opportunities for UH Manoa students to study abroad. Students are encouraged to explore both MIX and SAC when considering their options for internationalizing their education. Be sure to visit the SAC website. However, there are some key differences between MIX and SAC:
- Reciprocity – MIX both sends students abroad and receives students from our partner universities who wish to study at UHM for a semester or year. SAC only sends students abroad.
- Location – Both MIX and SAC have programs in China, Japan, Denmark, France, Germany, the United Kingdom, and Australia. However, the programs tend to be in different cities, or cover different academic areas. SAC has programs in India, Italy, Spain, and Argentina, whereas MIX does not. Conversely, MIX has partner universities in Belgium, Canada, Chile, Hong Kong, Fiji, French Polynesia, Korea, the Netherlands, New Zealand, Norway, Singapore, Sweden, Taiwan, and Thailand, whereas SAC does not. Additionally, SAC offers an independent “self-designed” study abroad option.
- Credit – On SAC, students earn regular UHM credits, and the grades they earn are factored into their cumulative GPAs. On MIX, students earn transfer credits, and the grades they earn are not factored into their cumulative GPAs. Regardless of this distinction, credits from both SAC and MIX can count towards students’ degrees. Courses from both SAC and MIX can count towards major and minor requirements, with approval from academic advisors. Additionally, students can use financial aid on both SAC and MIX.
- Tuition & fees – Students who go on SAC programs pay a Study Abroad Fee instead of normal UHM tuition. This fee covers many of the extra expenses associated with studying abroad, such as housing, health insurance, books, excursions, administration, and sometimes even a cell phone. Students who go on MIX pay normal UHM tuition and fees, and pay for their transportation and living expenses separately.
- Housing – On many SAC programs, students are placed with homestay families. At MIX partner universities, students typically live in on-campus dormitories or off-campus apartments. There are, however, exceptions when SAC students live in apartments or MIX students live with homestay families.
- Faculty– A UHM instructor usually accompanies a group of UHM students on each SAC program. MIX students are not accompanied by a UHM instructor; rather, they take all of their classes from instructors at the MIX partner university.
- Numbers– Typically, a group of 10-25 UHM students travel together to the SAC study destination. MIX normally sends no more than three students to each partner university at one time.
MIX is 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. MIX all other programs within the Office of International and Exchange Programs are overseen by Edward J. Shultz, the Assistant Vice Chancellor for International Programs (Dr. Shultz 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.
With careful academic and financial planning, UHM students may go on exchange multiple times. Commonly, a student may go on a summer exchange, and then later go abroad again on a semester or yearlong exchange.
Typically, participation in back-to-back exchanges at two different MIX partner universities is not recommended. In some cases, it is not possible. Many partner universities have conflicting academic calendars, and oftentimes a student will have trouble obtaining a student visa for the second exchange from abroad. Students interested in multiple exchanges should carefully research our partner universities, and also meet with the MIX staff and their academic advisors to discuss in advance.
No, students may not participate in MIX during their 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.
Students who are granted an exception to the Residency Requirement by their college or school dean have several factors to carefully consider:
- Students must take care to meet with their academic advisors to have their MIX courses pre-approved, and to ensure that they will be able to complete their remaining degree requirements from abroad. If students are not diligent in this manner, they run the risk of having to return to UHM for another semester or summer in order to complete any remaining requirements needed for graduation.
- Students must 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 the student’s official transcript to MIX. Then, the partner university 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 a student’s MIX courses are transferred in may their record be processed for official graduation. Students who wish to be admitted to a law, medical, or graduate program directly after completing their last semester of undergraduate studies may be affected by this timeline.
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.
We typically consider applicants who have a 2.5 GPA or higher; however, some of our partner universities prefer students with a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. The higher your GPA, the more options you will have.
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.
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) are eligible to study abroad through MIX during their first semester at UH Manoa.
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.
Yes; 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. 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.). NOTE: 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.
Courses taken at a MIX partner university may be approved by your academic advisor (or faculty advisor for graduate students) to count towards your major or minor requirements. Find more information and download a MIX Academic Advising Worksheet.
Outbound exchange students continue to register as full-time students on their MyUH portals prior to going abroad. Undergraduate students must register for MIX Placeholder Course for a minimum of 12 credits per semester (six per summer), and graduate students for a minimum of 8 credits per semester (four per summer). View placeholder course titles. Students later register for their actual courses at their partner university either upon arrival (at the orientation for international students) or in some cases, online prior to departure.
Yes; students may register for a combination of MIX Placeholder credits and UHM online course credits while abroad on MIX. It is recommended that exchange students take no more than one online UHM course per semester/summer while abroad, so that they have time to focus on their classes at the partner university, and to engage in cultural and social activities outside of the classroom. Students’ 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).
It is never too early to start planning for study abroad! Students 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. Students are also encouraged to talk to their academic advisors about study abroad early on, so that a semester or year abroad can be incorporated into your academic plan.
MIX students register as full-time students at UH Manoa and pay regular UHM tuition. They do not pay overseas tuition.
- Students who normally pay in-state UHM tuition & fees continue to do so while on MIX.
- Students who normally pay out-of-state UHM tuition & fees continue to do so while on MIX.
- Students who normally pay WUE tuition & fees continue to do so while on MIX.
In addition to UHM tuition & fees, MIX students are responsible for all of their living expenses, including health insurance, books/supplies, room & meals, personal expenses, airfare, local transportation, and any costs associated with obtaining a visa (if applicable). It is recommended that you research online to get an idea of how much these expenses will be; the MIX staff can also help you to plan out a budget.
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 Student Budget for Financial Aid Purposes’ form, UHM Financial Aid Services will take into consideration your overseas living and travel expenses when awarding your grants and loans. Learn how financial aid applies to MIX by using the self-guided online workshop.
Since you continue to be a UHM student while on MIX, you can still use any scholarships you get. Additionally, there are scholarships available specifically for students studying abroad. Students are encouraged to spend several hours searching for scholarships that are relevant to them, and several days applying. Remember, it is important to take scholarship applications seriously, and complete them to the best of your ability; mediocre or poorly done scholarship applications will not result in financial rewards. More information on scholarships.
Applications are due during the semester prior to your departure. If you want to go on exchange in the summer or fall, you apply the previous spring. If you want to go on exchange in the spring, you apply the previous fall.
- For programs that start in the Summer or Fall, the priority application deadline is February 1.
- For programs that start in the Spring, the priority application deadline is September 15.
Students who meet these deadlines are given placement priority. Late applications may still be accepted, but you should consult with a MIX staff member before submitting an application after the priority deadline.
The MIX application process is quite simple. There is an online application that you must complete, plus supporting documents that you must turn in to MIX (2 letters of recommendation, a copy of your transcript, and a copy of your passport). Letters of recommendation are not required for summer programs. Click here for more information on how to apply, including a sample online application.
Students should not apply directly to the partner university until they have been officially nominated by MIX.
MIX aims to accommodate every student who wants to go on exchange. Students who submit their complete application by the priority deadline can expect to be accepted to MIX. Because student demand sometimes exceeds the number of spaces available at some UHM partner universities, students will not always be placed at their first choice institution. Students may sometimes need to be flexible about the institution where they are placed. Factors such as a good GPA, a thoughtful personal statement (part of the online application), strong letters of recommendation, and a relevant major are all factors that will be considered when nominations are made.
Once you submit your online application and turn in your supporting documents to MIX, you will be notified of your host university nomination within about six weeks. After that, you will be prompted to complete additional online application forms that are specific to the partner university to which you were nominated, and may also be asked to send some documents to the partner university in the mail. Many months later, you will receive your official acceptance letter from the host university; you may need this letter to apply for your visa or residence permit.
Yes - all outbound exchange students attend a MIX Pre-Departure Orientation the semester before they go abroad. At orientation, students have a chance to make sure they're on track with their pre-departure responsibilities. They also get to hear from a panel of MIX Returnees, meet international students, and make friends with other UHM students preparing to go on exchange!
There is also a self-guided online version of the orientation, plus other helpful pre-departure information, that students can access anytime at MIX Pre-Departure Information.
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.
Entry requirements for each country are different; students who are U.S. citizens can check on the State Department website to find out if they need a visa for their MIX country.
Most often, students who will be on a semester or yearlong exchange 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.
Country-specific visa information can also be found on each MIX Partner University page.
If you need passport photos for your visa or residence permit, you can get two photos for $5 at the International Student Services (ISS) Office, 206 QLC. Passport photos are also available at the Campus Center Ticket, Information, and ID Office.
Details about course registration, health insurance, host university paperwork, academic planning, and more, can be found at Pre-Departure Information.
Most exchange students live in dormitories or other types of student housing. Some universities have a homestay option, or recommendations for off-campus apartments. Students normally receive housing information and applications after they are accepted to a partner university.
Every MIX partner university will administer an orientation or welcome program for international students. Orientations vary from a few hours to a few days, depending on the university.
Most MIX partner universities offer optional field trips, cultural activities, and social events for exchange students. Many also have a buddy program, student mentors, or language exchange partners through which international students are matched with local students.
Fall semester registration occurs in mid-April; Spring semester registration occurs in mid-November. While abroad on exchange, UHM students will need to register for courses for the semester after their exchange via the MyUH portal. Students should remember that registration times are listed in Hawaiian Standard Time.
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 the entire packet to Admissions. The Admissions staff will manually enter the courses you took abroad into your Transfer Report on your MyUH portal.
Students who do not provide course syllabi to MIX in a timely manner may significantly delay the transfer process. It is best to email syllabi to email@example.com 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.
If you want to meet exchange students studying at UHM, please come to International Coffee Hour!
Sinclair Library, 'Ewa Lanai
You may also want to become a MIX Volunteer in order to help with social activities for exchange students. Email firstname.lastname@example.org if you're interested in becoming a MIX Volunteer!
Find lots of helpful information about academic, financial, and re-integration topics on at Information for MIX Returnees.
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. MIX Internships are unpaid; students dedicate approximately eight 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. Students interested in interning at MIX should email email@example.com to inquire when the next online MIX Internship application cycle will occur.