1. Can I study abroad and still graduate on time?
Yes! Classes you take abroad fulfill major, minor, CORE, and graduation requirements, so you can study abroad and still graduate on time. Be sure to work with your academic advisor to make sure that you’re staying on track! And we’ve even had students who have studied abroad three times during their time at St. Mary’s and have graduated on time-with good and early planning, anything is possible! The key is to start thinking about it early.
2. When can I study abroad?
You can study abroad sophomore, junior, or senior year. We recommend your Sophomore year, so you can have the more flexibility with your course requirements, which means starting to plan in your Freshman year! Sometimes you have to take pre-requisite classes or some SMCM classes you need might only be offered in the Fall or Spring.
Please keep in mind that if you study abroad during your senior year, you will most likely need to appeal the credit-hour policy through the Academic Policy Committee. For more information on the appeal process you can check out the “Policies” page, and you can also chat with your Study Abroad Advisor and the Registrar’s Office.
3. What are the eligibility requirements for studying abroad?
In order to study abroad you must have a minimum GPA of 2.5 or above, have at least sophomore standing by the time you go abroad, and be in good behavioral and academic standing. You can appeal these policies through the Academic Policy Committee. For more information on the appeal process you can check out the “Policies” page, and you can also chat with your Study Abroad Advisor and the Registrar’s Office.. Participation in SMCM Study Tours now have a lower GPA requirement: at least a 2.0 GPA.
4. Are the programs listed on this website my only options for studying abroad?
No. You can go to our page on Non-SMCM programs to learn about other programs, especially if you have a more specific academic interests. We recommend you look at our partner provider programs first. Regardless of what program you choose, you will still work closely with us throughout the process. Please be advised that financial assistance and scholarships could be applied differently than SMCM pre-approved programs.
1. How much does it cost?
The cost of your SMCM study abroad program depends on the program. Every program page features an estimated budget sheet which breaks down the numbers and at the bottom there are additional scholarship opportunities specific to the program, so be sure to check that out!
2. Does my financial assistance apply and are there scholarships available?
If you do an SMCM program, then all financial assistance, federal, state, and local assistance, and any scholarships and grants you already receive for going to St. Mary’s apply to the cost of the program. If you do a non-SMCM program, then your federal aid may apply.
There are also scholarships available! If you do an SMCM program, then you are eligible for an SMCM study abroad scholarship, and if you do an SMCM or a non-SMCM program there are a wide variety of scholarships you could apply to. Click here a list of scholarships to help you start your search so be sure to check that out!
1. Is there a program that fits my major?
Yes! No matter what major you are studying, there is an SMCM study abroad program for you. SMCM study abroad programs correspond with every major St. Mary’s offers, so you’ll be sure to find a match. Click here for a list of majors and corresponding programs.
2. How do I find courses?
Take a look at the program specific course catalog of the institution abroad by scrolling down to the bottom of the program page and click that link to get an accurate view of current classes offered abroad!
You can also look at our SMCM course database to see how past students have transferred classes. Please note this is not an exhaustive or up-to-date list of courses available. Make sure to look directly at the program providers’ or universities’ course catalog to get a better idea of what classes are currently offered, some are linked at the bottom of each program page.
3. How do courses transfer?
Courses transfer through the course pre-approval process, which is facilitated by the Registrar’s Office. If you do a language program, your credits will transfer retroactively. For an idea of how courses can transfer, you can consult the SMCM course database found on every program page. Please note that this is not an exhaustive list. For more information on the course transfer process you can check out the Transfer Credit page and chat with the Registrar’s Office.
4. If I don’t see my major/academic interest listed on a specific program page, does that mean they don’t have the courses I want/need?
Not necessarily. The academic fields listed on the specific program page are the most popular courses offered. You should check the program partners’ or universities’ direct course catalog to see whether they have the courses you would like to take.
1. How do I apply?
2. How long does the application take?
We recommend starting the application at least 3 weeks in advance of the deadline because you will need to request for judicial checks and academic recommendations which sometimes require a couple of weeks. You can send these before you have finished your application.
3. When will I hear back about my approval/acceptance?
You should hear back within a week. Having all of your application components in by the deadline will speed that process up.
1. What do I do about on-campus housing?
If you will be studying abroad for Fall semester, the Office of Residence Life (ORL) does recommend that you select housing with a housing group in the housing selection process. This will give you a space to which you’ll return from your study abroad experience – and will also allow you to have a back-up plan if you decide not to go abroad. (If you decide not to go, please consult all withdrawal deadlines and financial repercussions with your program directly.)
2. How do I finalize my contract release for Fall or Spring semester?
The ORL will send out a Contract Release Application to all students registered for housing in April/May. The initial contract release date (to be released without a cancellation fee) will be at the beginning of May. However, if you are unsure of your study abroad commitment, you can complete the form at a later date. The ORL will not impose late cancellation fees on study abroad participants, unless they request the release after the move-in period for the semester.
3. When will my housing bills be updated?
The ORL will not remove your housing bill for the upcoming semester until you have completed the Housing Contract Release form. (This is different than the Check Off Form that the OIE will request).
4. I don’t have a group with which to live for Spring, can I come back and get a single room?
If single rooms are available when you return for the spring semester, the ORL will work with you to find a placement. However, there is no guarantee that a single room will be held during the fall semester.
1. How do I handle being far from home and disconnected from family/support system/friends?
This is a valid concern. Try having a plan ready with your family/support system and friends before leaving. Perhaps setting up regular call times, finding ways to check-in when you arrive in your study abroad location, setting up virtual study sessions with friends, or discussing ways they can support you while abroad. We also provide insurance to students abroad and in that plan includes counseling services.
But also don’t forget when abroad you’re surrounded by a bunch of students also far away from their home country who might be feeling similarly homesick, which might be a great opportunity to make great friends and connections.
2. How do I handle culture shock?
This is often overlooked part of study abroad. Every country, regardless if English is the predominant language, has their own culture unique to themselves and it is an adjustment. The best approach is to remember that you are a guest in that country, so be gracious and polite.
Also, a good travel tip is to think of yourself as a puppy, you may not know better, you might look silly, and you might make some mistakes. But most will view you with the similar innocence of a puppy and try to help you.