FAQ's

“Travel will make you appreciate the familiarity of home. It will restore your sense of childlike wonder for what was already there. And when you return, you will remember what it is to truly be alive again.” — Jessica Yurasek

What is the best time for me to visit my student?

We encourage you to travel to your student’s host country before or after they have completed their program, or during official university breaks which will be provided to the students during their on site orientation. We ask that you try to avoid visiting at times when students need to be in class. Parents are not allowed to participate in any student-related activities.

If my student is being receiving medical treatment in the U.S., will they be able to continue treatment abroad?

In order to ensure that medical support is available abroad, it is very important that your student disclose any health issues in their Health History Form during the application process. This includes, but is not limited to, medical conditions, psychological issues, learning disabilities, and eating disorders. Disclosure of such information will not affect your child’s overseas study participation and will only help staff better advise your student about their options.

Prescriptions written in the United States cannot be filled abroad, so we recommend that students bring enough prescription medication to last the entire stay overseas and discuss this in advance with their doctor and insurance provider. Ask doctors for any prescriptions (eyeglasses, allergy medicines, etc.).

Prescription medications should be carried in their original, labeled bottle with the generic name of the drug. Students should have the prescription on hand in case a customs officer requests it. Some prescriptions are not legal in other countries although you have proof of the prescription written in the United States. Check that you may bring the prescription drug(s) into the country at www.rxlist.com or at the host country’s consulate or embassy web page. Do not send prescriptions through the mail. Doing so may result in medications being withheld in Customs and legal repercussions.

We also recommend that students take an extra pair of eyeglasses or contact lenses. Students with medical problems which are not easily recognized (e.g., diabetes, allergic reactions to antibiotics or bee stings, heart conditions, epilepsy) might consider obtaining a medic alert identification tag from a doctor or pharmacy as these are internationally recognized.

What does the Center for International Programs office or Saint Mary's College do to address safety and security?

Saint Mary's College of California and the Center for International Programs(CIP) office has established emergency protocols and all students at SMC-sponsored study abroad locations are covered under the provisions of these protocols. The home campus CIP office works cooperatively with our onsite host university staff to help ensure the safety and security of students overseas; however, our ability to influence emergency responses depends on the level of support available through specific programs at sites abroad. In order to prepare students for their overseas program, Saint Mary's College of California includes health and safety information in our mandatory pre-departure orientation sessions.

All students must arrive at their program location by the designated arrival date in order to attend an extensive onsite orientation, unique to each program. If you have any questions concerning Saint Mary’s College's emergency response plans, please feel free to contact the CIP office directly.

You can be comforted by the fact that there are dedicated local staff available if your student becomes ill or encounters a serious emergency. The CIP staff is readily accessible to your student at all times and has many years of experience dealing with student concerns overseas. If your student contacts you with a concern, please encourage him or her to keep the local host institution staff informed since they are best equipped to handle any situation.

Again, according to the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act of 1974 (FERPA), the CIP staff on-campus and host institution staff abroad are not permitted to discuss issues pertaining to an individual student with parents, family, or other third parties. The student must conduct all contact directly.

Where can I find more information about the Program and the costs?

All SMC-sponsored programs will be charged the same SMC tuition as if they are taking classes on campus. All other costs (i.e. housing, transportation) can differ from program to program and country to country. The exact breakdown of each program cost and details can be found on the Program Brochures which can be accessed through our Explore Your Options section of our webpage.

Will Financial Aid be available?

In most cases, financial aid will be available for study abroad participants. SMC Financial Aid will follow your student abroad if they choose to attend an SMC-sponsored program. We offer one in house scholarship for Pell Grant recipients and offer scholarship workshops for our students. However, we encourage students to research and apply early as many scholarships have deadlines at least one semester prior to your student plans to go abroad. Please see the Scholarship information page for more information.

How often should I be in contact with my student while they are abroad?

You should discuss communication with your student as early on in their study abroad application process as possible. While this discussion will most likely manifest differently for each family, it is important you communicate your interest in both supporting your student and giving them room to grow as an independent adult. We recommend setting a Skype meeting for 2-3 times a month so you can catch up and share stories without causing your student to miss out on all opportunities presented to them while they are abroad.