Department of Indo-Pacific Languages & Literatures

Information for IIE FLTAs at UHM

Welcome to Hawaiʻi

Congratulations for having been accepted as an IIE Foreign Language Teaching Assistant at the University of Hawaiʻi. The Department of Indo-Pacific Languages and Literatures is very happy to learn that you will be working with us this coming academic year and we are very much looking forward to meeting you. In this message, we will briefly go over several items of interest about our language programs, about the University of Hawaiʻi, about our city, Honolulu, and our state, Hawaiʻi.

The language-teaching section where you will be hosted is part of the “Department of Indo-Pacfic Languages and Literatures” at the University of Hawaiʻi’s main campus located in the Mānoa Valley at the foot of the Koʻolau mountains. The city of Honolulu lies along the southern coast of the island of Oahu between the ocean and the Koʻolau mountains. Honolulu has a population of about 400,000 and a very pleasant, mild tropical climate. We have about 20,000 regular students at this campus and our campus is part of the much larger state university system, which has 10 campuses across the islands of our state and accommodates altogether about 55,000 day-time and night-time students. The head of our campus is the Chancellor of the University of Hawaiʻi at Mānoa, Dr. Tom Apple.

A total of 14 languages are taught in our department which is chaired by our professor of the Samoan language, Dr. John Mayer, and is part of the College of Languages, Linguistics, and Literature, whose dean is Dr. Robert Bley-Vroman.

Most of our language programs regularly teach four levels of the language and some languages also offer high-level reading & research courses on demand for advanced M.A. and Ph. D. research students.

Please be assured that we are very much looking forward to having you here at the University of Hawaiʻi for upcoming academic year.


The following information will guide you through the sometimes rather complicated process in getting settled in Honolulu. After you are notified by IIE that you have been accepted at UH, it is of utmost importance that you contact us immediately, and that you check your email at least twice a week. Failure to do so may jeopardize your status!

The very first thing you have to do is to apply for admission. Do not wait. You have to do this immediately after you have been accepted as an IIE FLTA. The UH Admission Office has provided a separate webpage that contains all the information that you need. Please read the following pages carefully, and start the admission process as soon as possible. In the past we had many problems, FLTAs either did not apply or applied at the wrong place. It is absolutely crucial that you are sure that the university has received your application!

Admissions procedure for FLTAs


Once you have completed the admission procedure, or even earlier, you should look for accommodation. Accommodation in Honolulu is very expensive. A tiny little one-bedroom studio costs at least $1000 per month, but you can rent a room for as little as $500-$800 in one of the several dormitories if you book early enough! Most dormitories are fully booked by mid-June so make sure you book in May or better even earlier! Please note that finding a place to stay is your own responsibility. Please don’t contact us a few weeks before your arrival requesting our assistance. Both the Indonesian as well as the Thai supervisors are overseas during the summer break and unable to assist. Here are some places that you may want to contact:

  1. SHINSHU KYOKAI MISSION DORMITORY. This co-ed dormitory has 46 single rooms that is along a bus route to the university. The room rates are $550 and $600 (lanai or balcony) per month. You share bathroom and kitchen with other occupants. The rooms are large: about 13m2. A security deposit of $550 is required when turning in an application. For information call (808) 973-0150, fax (808) 973-0157, or write to 1641 South Beretania Street, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96826. The place is aged, and some rooms are quite hot in the summer, but otherwise it is clean, safe and in a convenient neighborhood, close to shops and bus stop. 20 min walk to Waikiki beach. (Please note that the crime rate in Honolulu is low compared to the mainland but is likely to be higher than in your home town!).
  2. ATHERTON (YMCA) This co-ed dorm is directly across the UH campus and houses 52 bed spaces. In the Charles H. Atherton house double rooms for the Fall 2008 semester are $2,240.00, single rooms are $3,280, and quad rooms are $2,392.00. In the Mary Atherton Richards house double rooms for the fall 2008 semester are $2496.00 and single rooms are $3536.00. Coin operated washer/dryer facilities are available. Fees include a $30 application, $200 deposit and $5 for membership. Call (808) 946-0253 (808) 946-0253 ext. 225, or email contact@athertonymca.org, fax (808) 955-0893, or write to: 1810 University Avenue, Honolulu, Hawaiʻi 96822, U.S.A.
  3. Mānoa. We do no longer recommend Philmund (Phil) Lee’s place in Mānoa. It is conveniently located, but our FLTAs had too many problems with the hosts and the place is overcrowded, lacks in cleanliness, and has far too many cockroaches.
  4. Other off-Campus Housing Info


  1. Please bring with you materials that you wish to use in class. Useful items are magazines, comics, videos (especially documentaries).
  2. You don’t need to bring too many personal items. Although Hawaiʻi is quite expensive, you don’t need to bring ten toothbrushes and three bottles of shampoo. There is also no need to bring 10kg of rice. The rice we buy here is from Thailand, and is as good as the best rice in your country! You can get all these things at a reasonable price in Hawaiʻi. It is sufficient to bring a few sets of clothes – Hawai’i has a warm climate, where the average maximum temperature varies between 26.7 C (Jan) and 31.5 C (Aug), and the average minimum temperature is 18.6 C in January and 23.4 C in August. In Hawaiʻi, you can dress leisurely even when you teach, but a slightly formal attire is desirable.


You will arrive at Honolulu International Airport. Airport pickup may be available – either through your dorm or your supervisor, but you may have to take a taxi (about $25-30) to your dorm.

Immediately after arriving in Hawaiʻi there are several important things to do. Please read through the following list, but please also note that things may have changed in the meantime. If so, please report to us, so that we can update this informational page.

√     Report yourself to IIE

  1. You will get a welcome packet from IIE and your first month paycheck. Inside the packet you will find Student Report Form, Address Report Form and Work Authorization Letter from IIE.
  2. Complete the Student Report Form and Address Report Form
  3. Copy your DS-2019 and I-94 forms, Visa
  4. Fax the Student Report Form (signed and dated by your supervisor), Address Report Form and photocopies of your DS-2019 and I-94 forms, Visa.

√      Get the keys to the office

  1. You can get the keys to the office from the departmental secretaries. Contact Sandra or Jo Ann (956-8712) at Room 255, Spalding Hall. Click here for the UHM Interactive Campus Map.

√     Apply for a Social Security Number (SSN)

  1. Upon arrival you must apply for a Social Security Number in order to receive payment for your FLTA duties.
  2. Go to the Federal Building on 300 Ala Moana Blvd, Honolulu, HI-96850. Ask Dr. Kozok. He may be able to arrange transport for you (if all FLTAs go together).
  3. Bring your passport, work authorization letter and terms of award. You must present those letters to the appropriate officer when applying for a SSN.

√     Open bank account

  1. Go to the bank and open a bank account. We advise to open an account at the University Of Hawaiʻi Credit Union. You can walk to the campus branch at 2010 East West Road. Tel: 983-5500. The campus branch is open from 8:00 – 13:00.
  2. Bring your passport, and your first paycheck.
  3. You will be asked whether you also want checking account or not. It is convenient to have a checking and saving account at the same time. If you have a checking account you will get a debit card to withdraw money from an ATM, and you can also use the card for shopping.
  4. If you open an account at the University of Hawaiʻi Credit Union, you also need to bring your UHM admission letter.

Since we talk about money. The remuneration that you receive from IIE is actually quite good, and completely sufficient. After having paid your rent, you still have about $1000 to spend. If you live frugally, you may spend considerably less. Remember, the less you spend, the more you have to take home where your money is worth much more!

√     Go to the University Health Service

  1. Go to the University Health Center (In front of Hale Mānoa)
  2. Ask for a TB- Skin Test. You have to do the test even though you already had TB-Skin Test in your home country.
  3. You need the result of the test so that you can register for classes.
  4. You also need to report the result of the test to Hale Mānoa.

√     Take an English Language Placement Test

  1. Before you register for classes you must sit an English language placement test at the English Language Institute.  You can register online for the ELI placement test.

√     Register for classess

  1. You will register for classes online so you must have a UH username before class registration. With the username you will also have UHM email.
  2. Open http://myuhportal.hawaii.edu and you will find information on how to get a UH username.
  3. As soon as you have your UH username, you can register for classes.
  4. You can take classes on a credit, credit/non-credit or audit base. If you want to audit, you should contact your professor and get his/her approval. After you get his/her signature, you should report it to registration office at Queen Lil’uokalani Building (Center for Student Services).

√     Get your student ID

  1. As soon as you have paid the service fee, you can get your student ID at Campus Center. With the student ID you have access to the UHM libraries, and you can also get student discounts and kama’aina discounts at several tourist-oriented services, including free entrance to Hanauma Bay Nature Park. 

√     Report yourself to IIE

  1. You will get a welcome packet from IIE and your first month paycheck. Inside the packet you will find Student Report Form, Address Report Form and Work Authorization Letter from IIE.

Your Duties

Your supervisor will let you know what your duties are. You are expected to work between 15 and 20 hours for your language department. Your duties may include teaching, organization of cultural clubs, development of teaching materials, etc. Usually you will teach under the supervision of an instructor or the language coordinator, but in certain cases you may have to teach independently.

You have to take two courses each semester. You can freely choose your courses, but there are two requirements: 1. You have to take a course relating to American culture, history, etc. This is an IIE requirement. We suggest that you take one of the courses offered by the American Studies Program. A course we recommend is “AMS 150 America and the World” but you can also enroll in any other course at UH that has an American component. The second course that is required by some of our language programs is IP365b Southeast Asian Language Teaching – a course that is tailor-made to the needs of our FLTAs. It will introduce you into the methodology of foreign language learning that we use in our department, and to Computer Assisted Language Learning (CALL). IP365b has to be taken in the Fall semester.

All FLTA are also required to join the “Teaching-Assistant Survival Society” (TASS). Please send an email to the Second Language Teaching & Curriculum Center (sltcc@hawaii.edu) that is administering the society. The society is a forum where TAs can socialize and share ideas/resources on issues of importance to them. You will also learn about classroom management, lesson planning, task design, grouping students, handling homework, dealing with problem students, etc.


You are expected to be available during the entire length of the academic year, including the winter break. If you want to travel, you may depart only after commencement day (end of semester) and you should be back on duty two working days before the start of the Spring semester. If you want to travel outside of this off-duty period you need the consent of your supervior. If you want to leave the country during the break, you must inform your supervisor and IIE of your travel plans.


  1. If you plan to travel outside the United States during your assistantship, in order to comply with the US visa regulation you must inform IIE of your travel plans.
  2. You must enroll in at least two academic courses per semester and one of the courses should be in American Studies.
  3. You should report your new address in case you move to a new place
  4. If you have any problems you can contact:

FLTA Program
Institute of International Education
809 United Nations Plaza
New York, New York U.S.A 10017
Telephone: (212) 984 5494 Fax: (212) 9845484
email: flta@iie.org