Frequently Asked Questions

Essential Questions & Answers to Consider When Choosing to Study Abroad

Important Message and Q&As about Spring 2021 Study Abroad

October 7, 2020

The College has decided to cancel all the Spring 2021 study abroad programs due to the COVID-19 situation. Currently, the CDC's risk assessment for our destination countries is Level 3 (COVID-19 Risk is High). The State Department's travel advisory level for these countries is also Level 3 (Reconsider Travel). Please review the following Q&As regarding the programs and other options.

Q: May I sign a liability release form so that I can elect to study abroad?
A: No. This option is not available this time.

Q: If I want to defer my application to Fall 2021 or Spring 2022, what should I do?
A: Please contact the Global Education Office at to request for changing the term in your study abroad account. You do not need to reapply or pay the $50 application fee again.

Q: If I decide not to defer my application, will my application fee be refunded?
A: Yes, because the College canceled the programs. Please send an email to to request for the refund.

Q: I am a sophomore. Can I study abroad during my junior year?
A: It is possible depending on your major. Please consult with your academic advisor. Here is the information about “Best Semester to Study Abroad by Major” for your reference. Given the pandemic situation, departments might be willing to help you plan study abroad for junior year even when it is not the most ideal.

Q: I am a junior. Can I study abroad during my senior year?
A: It is rare, but also possible depending on your major and academic progress. Please consult with your academic advisor.

Q: Are the Summer 2021 Programs canceled as well?
A: No. You may still apply for the summer programs. The College will make the decision around March 1, 2021.

Q: If I want to study abroad in the summer, what are my options?
A: Saint Mary’s offers more than 15 summer programs in different countries. Students are encouraged to attend the summer programs if the conditions allow. Explore Saint Mary’s programs.

Q: Is there any financial aid available for the 2021 summer study abroad programs?
A: Yes but limited.
* Pell grants – Only students who did not use all of the Pell in the fall and spring semesters and students who are Pell eligible and who will be enrolled at least half-time (6 credits)
* Parent PLUS loans (if parents are willing and able to borrow) - students must be enrolled at least half-time
* Private alternative loans (if students can get co-signers) - students do Not Have to be enrolled at least half-time

Q: Is there any study abroad scholarships or grants I can apply for if I attend a 2021 summer program?
A: Yes. You may apply for the CWIL Student Travel Grants and other study abroad scholarships. You may apply for the 2021 CWIL grants even If you are not receiving financial aid.

Q: May I apply for a virtual summer study abroad program or remote summer global internship program?
A: Yes. The College can accept the virtual summer program credits offered by our existing partners. The CWIL Student Travel Grant will support this kind of virtual summer programs. 

Q: May I attend a non-affiliated virtual summer study abroad program?
A: Yes. The program needs to be pre-approved by the Student Academic Services and Global Education Office. Institutional grants are not available for non-affiliated programs.

Program Choices

There are a variety of options available when considering studying abroad. The choice of programs makes study abroad appealing and possible for a broad range of students.

Q: Where can I go?
A: Anywhere! Saint Mary’s offers more than 30 study-abroad programs that explore Asia, Western Europe, Central America, the Caribbean, Africa, and Australia. Explore Saint Mary’s Programs 

Q. How long will I be abroad?
A. It is up to you! Programs last from 10 days to one year. Saint Mary's offers programs during spring break, summer session, each academic semester, and for the full academic year. Only Oxford Program students and students who attend language immersion programs can study abroad for a whole year.

Q. When should I go abroad?
A. Sophomore, junior, or first-semester senior year. At Saint Mary’s, most students go abroad during their sophomore year. Saint Mary’s students are eligible to go after attending one semester on campus and/or one semester before graduating. Here is the information about "Best Semester to Study Abroad by Major" for your reference.

Q. Can student athletes study abroad?
A. Yes, they can. Here is what works best for them if they do not want to miss their sport season: 

  • Volleyball, Cross Country, Soccer: are fall sports, so a spring or summer program works best.
  • Basketball spans both semesters, so the athletes must make the choice of either missing part of their sport season or choose a summer/spring break program to participate in.
  • Golf and Tennis are considered split season sports, so they - like basketball - compete in both semesters. The athletes may choose a summer or spring break program.
  • Softball and Lacrosse are spring sports, so a summer or fall program works best.

Q. What should I do if I want to participate in other external programs?
A. If there is a particular place that interests you, Saint Mary's can assist you in finding an accredited program to take you there.  Check the current procedures and policy on Leave for Non-Affiliated Abroad Programs


Q. How much will it cost?
 In addition to Saint Mary’s home campus cost of attendance, semester program students need to pay a $1500 study abroad fee. The year-long Oxford Program is the only one that has a surcharge. Saint Mary’s is committed to encouraging study-abroad programming by extending most financial aid and scholarship packages to students who select to study abroad on Saint Mary's sponsored programs. In addition, Saint Mary’s assists students in applying for intercultural learning grants and scholarships designed to encourage study abroad. Learn more about Financing Study Abroad

Q. Are there grants and scholarships for study abroad?
 Yes. The Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership offers intercultural learning grants especially designated for Saint Mary’s students. In addition, there are several local and national scholarship opportunities available for students. Keep in mind that applicants need to apply early. Stop by the Global Education Office for assistance in applying for grants and scholarships. Learn more about  Financing Study Abroad.


Q. Can I take courses in my major?
 With approval. Students are encouraged to use study-abroad credit to fulfill their general education requirements. Students need department chair approval to obtain credit towards course work in their major. 

Students attending a Saint Mary’s program from a college or university other than Saint Mary’s should check with their home campus for specific policies regarding transferring academic credit and grades.

Each program’s web site has information about specific course offerings. Please contact the program faculty coordinator for independent study options. For more information about course offerings see each program.

Q. Do I need to complete the Writing (W) Program before studying abroad?
 It is strongly encouraged that students have completed their W program before studying abroad, however, under certain circumstances, this requirement can be waived upon the recommendation of Student Academic Services. 

Q. How many credits will I receive?
Depending on the length and rigor of the program. All students attending a semester or full-year program are required tobe enrolled in a full academic course load, which will be equivalent to a minimum of 12 credit hours at Saint Mary’s. Credits awarded for summer and semester break programs vary depending on duration and academic rigor.

Students attending a Saint Mary’s program from a college or university other than Saint Mary’s should check with their home campus for specific policies regarding requirements for full-time status and transferring academic credit to their institution.

Q. How will my grades from study abroad affect my G.P.A.?
 Grades are counted the same. All the grades that a Saint Mary’s student receives while abroad on a Saint Mary’s program will appear on her transcript and will be calculated into her grade point average.

Students attending a Saint Mary’s program from a college or university other than Saint Mary’s should check with their home campus for specific policies regarding transferring academic credit and grades.

Q. Do I have to speak a foreign language to go abroad?
While certain programs do have language requirements, there are other programs that only suggest course work in the host country’s language. Language requirements should not prevent you from studying abroad.

Many programs that are located in host countries where English is not the native language do offer classes in English. Saint Mary’s programs in Rome, Morocco, Greece, South Korea, China, and Ecuador are taught in English…and of course…the UK, Ireland & Australia, too! Chart of requirements.


Q. Where do I get an application?
 Here. You can apply online.  More about Applying to Study Abroad.

Q. When do I have to decide if I want to study abroad?
 Going abroad takes planning. If you are even considering studying abroad, discuss the idea with your academic advisor, family, study-abroad advisor, and faculty coordinator.