Frequently Asked Questions

Essential Questions & Answers to Consider When Choosing to Study Abroad

Important Message and Q&As about Spring 2022 Study Abroad

November 12, 2021
The College has decided to move forward with study abroad for Spring 2022. Students will continue to work with study abroad program coordinators to finalize course selection and complete all pre-departure requirements, with the understanding that
1) College policy prohibits students from studying abroad in countries with a Department of State or CDC Travel Advisory Level of 3 or higher;
2) All students will be required to adhere to the College health and safety protocols in place at the time of your departure;
3) All students should be fully vaccinated in order to study abroad. The COVID vaccine booster shot is currently not required, but strongly recommended.
4) Everything is contingent on the status of the pandemic at or close to the time of departure.

COVID Info, Safety, and Insurance

Q: I am interested in studying in a country with a Department of State or CDC Travel Advisory Level 3 or higher. Is this possible?
A: Yes. Students can sign a release of liability waiver. Click HERE for the form, download/print/sign it, and then upload it to your Saint Mary's study abroad account. 

Q. Where can I find the information about COVID protocols of my host institution?
A.
The following host institutions are committed to welcoming study abroad students.
Here are the links to their COVID guidance.
France: Centre International d’Etudes Francaises (CIDEF), Angers
Hungary: Budapest Semesters in Mathematics
Ireland: Maynooth University
Italy: John Cabot University in Rome
South Korea: Ewha Womans University, Seoul
Spain: Spanish Studies Abroad, Alicante
UK: St Mary’s University, Twickenham, London

Q. Where can I get the latest information about the State Department’s Travel Advisories?
A.
https://travel.state.gov/content/travel/en/traveladvisories/traveladvisories.html/

Q. Where can I find the latest information about the CDC Risk Assessment Levelfor COVID-19?
A.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/map-and-travel-notices.html

Q. What are the CDC International Travel Recommendations for fully vaccinated people?
A.
https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/travelers/international-travel-during-covid19.html

Q. Do I have to be vaccinated against COVID in order to study abroad?
A.
Yes. Saint Mary’s requires students to be vaccinated to enroll at the college. While limited exemptions from the vaccine are available for enrollment at the College, only students who are fully vaccinated against COVID will be permitted to study abroad. Please contact the Global Education Office at abroad@saintmarys.edu if you have any questions.

Q. How do I know whether the program site and the host country are safe?
A.
Your safety and well-being is a top priority for Saint Mary's. Once you are admitted to a Saint Mary’s Study Abroad program, we will provide in-depth information on your program location and onsite orientations.

In addition to the Department of State and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Travel Advisory Levels, Saint Mary’s College will use additional criteria to determine Covid-19 related health and safety of a host institution and destination country: entrance and exit requirements of the destination country; ability to acquire a student visa; availability of international flights to your destination; available medical infrastructure in your destination; vaccination rates in your destination; host institution Covid-19 health and safety standards, including availability of quarantine and isolation space; host institution’s ability to provide in-person classes and academic support.

Q. May I travel outside of my host country after I arrive?
A.
We strongly suggest you not plan on extensive travel outside of the host country during your program in case of sudden border closures, which may prevent you from returning to your study site. It is better for you to wait until after your program ends to conduct personal travel.

Q. Does the College have an Emergency Response Plan?
A.
The CWIL-Global Education Office (GEO) has formulated an emergency plan for students studying abroad, which helps Saint Mary’s College, CWIL-GEO, program coordinators, resident directors, and study abroad students get prepared in the event of an emergency. Please check the Study Abroad Emergency Response Plan (pdf) for more details.

Q. Do I have to purchase international insurance?
A.
No, you do not need to purchase any international insurance. The College provides GeoBlue Insurance for you. It is covered by your study abroad fee. Here is the GeoBlue Student Member Guide for your reference.

Q. Is the GeoBlue Insurance valid in countries with a Department of State or CDC Travel Advisory Level of 3 or higher?
A.
Yes, it is valid in any countries (including those with Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory) except the U.S.

Q. What if I get sick or injured while abroad? Can the GeoBlue Insurance cover Covid-19 related expenses, including testing, quarantine/isolation, and medical services related to Covid-19 infection?
A.
Should you get sick (including testing positive for COVID-19) or injured while abroad, immediately contact the onsite program director at your host institution and seek local medical care. You should also contact GeoBlue for help. For serious and prolonged illness, the CWIL Global Education Office, GeoBlue, and the host institution staff will work together to support and help you.

Medically necessary treatment for COVID-19 is covered as an illness under the policy. The plan covers prescribed testing from a doctor, contact testing, and medical facility admission testing. Non-diagnostic testing as a prerequisite for work, school or entry into country will not be covered by the GeoBlue policy. These costs may be covered by your domestic insurance. You may check with your domestic insurance company to find out whether they can cover the precautionary testing.

Costs associated with a mandatory quarantine, when not medically necessary, are not covered under the plan. For example, if a student tests positive for COVID-19 but is asymptomatic and forced to quarantine in a hospital, those hospital charges will not be covered by the plan as these costs are not considered medically necessary. More information about GeoBlue can also be found on their COVID-19 Updates – Group Members webpage. Isolation accommodations are specific to each program; contact us for specific information.

Q. What to do in the Event of a Medical Emergency?
A.
All Eligible Participants are entitled to Global Assistance Services while traveling outside the United States. In the event of an emergency, they should go immediately to the nearest physician or hospital without delay and then contact GeoBlue at the number listed on the back of your insurance card. GeoBlue will then take the appropriate action to assist and monitor the medical care until the situation is resolved.

Q. Are there COVID related reentry restrictions to the U.S.?
A.
Yes. Here are CDC’s requirements.

  • Before you arrive in the United States:
    • All air passengers coming to the United States, including U.S. citizens and fully vaccinated people, are required to have a negative COVID-19 test result no more than 3 days before travel or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 in the past 3 months before they board a flight to the United States (effective January 26, 2021; updated November 10, 2021). Please see the CDC's Requirements for Air Passengers Arriving in the United States for additional information.
  • After travel:
    • Get tested with a viral test 3-5 days after travel.
    • Self-monitor for COVID-19 symptoms; isolate and get tested if you develop symptoms.
    • Follow all state and local testing and quarantine recommendations or requirements after travel.

Q: If I want to defer my application to Fall 2022 or Spring 2023, what should I do?
A: Please contact the Global Education Office at abroad@saintmarys.edu 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: 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: How will SMC prepare me to go abroad during this time? Who can I or my parent(s) contact if we have any additional questions?
A:
The CWIL Global Education Office and the program coordinators work closely with the onsite staff of the host institutions and will offer in-person and/or virtual pre- departure orientation sessions to accepted students, which cover intercultural learning strategies, health, safety, insurance, visa and arrival quarantine (if required), COVID-19 test, courses, room and board, and other program specific information to get students prepared. All the host institutions will offer arrival orientation sessions and some of them last for a week.

You may email the Global Education Office at abroad@saintmarys.edu or contact the program coordinator(s) if you have any additional questions. Their contact information is at the bottom of each study abroad program webpage.

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. Students are eligible to go abroad after one semester in residency at Saint Mary's College through the first semester of their senior year. Students who hope to study abroad during the first semester of their senior year should consult with their academic advisor to determine feasibility. Here is the information about "Best Semester to Study Abroad by Major" for your reference.

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 2022 summer programs if the conditions allow. Explore Saint Mary’s programs.

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.

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.

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. 

Finances

Q. How much will it cost?
A.
Students pay Saint Mary's College tuition, room & board, and a study abroad fee. The year-long Oxford Program is the only one that has a surcharge. Students on the Budapest Program need to pay additional cost for food/rental fee out of pocket. The program cost for short-term and summer programs can be quite different. You may click the Application Information button on each program page for more information. 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?
A.
 Yes. The Center for Women’s Intercultural Leadership offers intercultural learning grants for Saint Mary’s summer programs (including the CAPA Remote Global Internships Program) and the Oxford Program. In addition, there are several local and national scholarship opportunities (e.g. Gilman Scholarship) 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 Finance and Scholarships

Q: Is there any financial aid available for the 2022 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

Academics

Q. Can I take courses in my major?
A.
With approval. Students are encouraged to use study-abroad credit to fulfill their Sophia (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 coordinator for independent study options. For more information about course offerings see each program.

Q. Where can I find the Sophia (general education) courses information?
A. Click HERE for the list of the Sophia Advising Sheets for the study abroad programs. You will also find the links to the Sophia Advising Sheets in the Program of Study Section on each semester program webpage. 

Q. Do I have to defer my graduation in order to study abroad?
A. No. Study abroad is part of your 4-year college education. The academic departments have created a departmental study abroad plan/guide for their students. Click HERE for the related information. Contact us at abroad@saintmarys.edu if you have any questions about how specific majors work with our study abroad programs.

Q. Do I need to complete the Writing (W) Program before studying abroad?
A.
 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?
A.
Depending on the length and rigor of the program. All students attending a semester or full-year program are required to be 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.?
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?
A. 
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.

Application

Q. Where do I get an application?
A.
 You may visit the webpage of the programs, choose a destination, and click the “APPLICATION INFORMATION!” button to start the application process.

Q. When do I have to decide if I want to study abroad?
A.
 Going abroad takes planning. If you are even considering studying abroad, discuss the idea with your academic advisor, family, study abroad program coordinators and peer advisors. Application deadlines can vary by program and are usually due around the mid-semester point of the semester prior to going abroad. Contact the relative study abroad program coordinator for exact due dates.

How to Apply for Study Abroad Online:

All Saint Mary's College study abroad programs require an online application. Please select the program you are interested in from the CWIL Study Abroad webpage and follow the directions below to begin your study abroad application.

  • First choose a study abroad program you are interested in. Click HERE for a complete list of the Saint Mary's programs.
  • To start your application, please click the "APPLICATION INFORMATION!" button at the top of the program webpage. You will be directed to the online application program brochure page which provides more details about the program you chose.
  • To start the application process, click the "Apply Now" button on the program brochure page.
  • Next, you will be asked whether you are currently a registered user at Saint Mary's. Saint Mary's College students click "Yes" and then enter your regular SMC username and password. This begins the application process. Your application is submitted once you have started the process, there is no actual "submit" button for the overall application. 
  • Non-Saint Mary's students, please click "No" and follow the User Identification Wizard. You need to complete the New User Form (login new user) to create your application account. An automatic email will be sent to the email address you provided. Please follow the login instructions in the email you receive, to log in to the application process.
  • For future login, both SMC and Non-SMC users may save the URL of https://saintmarys.studioabroad.com.