Before You Go


Before you Go

Congratulations, you'll be studying abroad soon! With the application process behind you, there are just a few things you need to do in order to prepare for your time abroad.

Please review the requirements that you need to complete before you leave campus, as well as information that will help you get ready for your experience. In addition, you should be receiving program specific information directly from your program or university.

We are thrilled you have been selected to participate in a study abroad program.  Our goal is for you to maximize your time abroad by continuing to research your host country, university/program so you can transition to your new living environment with ease.  This section of our website contains useful information to further prepare you for this life-changing journey.

Safe travels!

Pre-Departure Checklist

This meeting brings together students who have been approved to study abroad. We will go over important information to help you prepare for your time abroad. You will receive an email with details about this event, including the date, time, and location.

Prior to your departure you will need to submit the following forms through your Study Abroad Portal:

  • Completed Learning Content and Assessments (
  • Photocopy of Passport (if renewing)
  • Photocopy of Student Visa (if required by host country)
  • Copy of Flight Itinerary(electronic version OK)
  • Copy of Overseas Health Insurance Card / Document (not U.S. Health Insurance)
  • Proof of Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) enrollment

We encourage students to check in with the Financial Aid Office, and review the Financial Aid Clearance Form (Cost Sheet) that they developed during your study abroad application process.

If you are currently living on-campus, you will need to cancel your on-campus housing for the term that you will be studying abroad by completing the Campus Housing Withdrawal Form. 

If you are enrolled in a program for the Fall or Academic Year:

First Risk Advisors will send you an email to your SMC email account with all of the information, links, and instructions to waive out of the medical insurance plan that Saint Mary's offers. You need to complete this waiver before the deadline in order to be waived from the medical insurance plan. If they do not receive a completed waiver, or if your current medical insurance plan does not meet the requirements to waive, then you will automatically be enrolled in and billed for the Saint Mary's medical insurance plan, and Saint Mary's will not be able to waive the medical insurance fee.

As a reminder, medical insurance waivers are valid for one academic year only. Each year that you do not want the medical insurance plan provided by Saint Mary's because you already have U.S.-based medical coverage, you must actively complete a waiver to remove yourself from our coverage. Taking no action will automatically enroll you in Saint Mary's plan, and will result in you receiving a bill on your student account for the amount of the plan.

If you do waive United Healthcare plan for the duration of your time abroad, and wish to enroll upon return, you can do so within 30 days of your return to the U.S. 

If you are enrolled in a program for the Spring:

If you are currently enrolled in the SMC medical insurance plan provided by United Healthcare, your insurance policy will cover you while abroad.

We recommend consider the following when playing your travel & logistics:


  • Check the expiration date of your passport. For entry to many countries, your passport must be valid for at least six months beyond the last day you plan to be in the country. If your passport expires before that date, you will need to renew it.
  • U.S. citizens should visit the U.S. Department of State's website for information about renewing a passport. International students should research passport renewal for their country of citizenship and be aware of how renewal may impact their U.S. student visa.
  • Check to see if you have empty pages for a visa stamp, if necessary.
  • Make a copy (or take a photo) of the biographical page and relevant visa page(s) in your passport. Keep a copy/photo for yourself and share one with your family in case your passport is stolen or lost. This will help make the replacement process easier.


A visa is an official document issued by a foreign government that allows the bearer to legally enter their country. The visa is usually stamped or glued into the bearer’s passport. There are several different types of visas, each of which afford the bearer different rights in the host country. 

Visa requirements vary by host country and country of citizenship. U.S. Citizens applying to the following location(s) will need to acquire a Student Visa for entry into their host institution:

  • Italy
  • Spain
  • France
  • Greece
  • Germany
  • Ireland
  • United Kingdom
  • Japan
  • South Korea
  • China

You will need to have a valid passport in order to apply for a visa. If you plan to travel to other countries after your program, be sure to check those countries' entry requirements as well (you may need another visa).

We recommend reviewing the following pages on our website for more information on the following:

Communication & Mobile Phones

We recommend you research your mobile phone plan options before leaving to study abroad. Depending on your study abroad destination, you can either:

  • Ask your current cell phone provider for information about international calling, texting, and data plans. Most U.S. providers will offer international plans. However, you should understand how much data you regularly use before buying a limited data package.
  • For some destinations, it may be more affordable to use a local SIM card or to purchase a phone in-country. If you would like to use a local SIM card on your U.S. mobile phone, check with your carrier to see if your mobile phone can be unlocked.

If you will have a limited data plan, try to save data for emergencies and try to use Wi-Fi for all other communications. However, don't assume that Wi-Fi will be readily available everywhere you go.