International Education Center

International Education Center Newsletter

Spring 2024

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Connections International Students Newsletter

Welcome to the Spring 2024 Semester!  It has been a rainy start to the year, but we promise the warm California sunshine is on its way.  We were so happy to have some of you join our Speed Friending event recently, and we hope that even more of you will come to our Beach Day event on March 8th.  We are proud of the hard work that you do in your classes, and we want you to have a good balance between your classwork and your social life.  Making new friends and relaxing is just as important to your academic and career success as studying hard.  Consider joining a campus club, and watch your SMC e-mail for information about more events planned by the IEC.  We look forward to getting to know you better this semester.  Have a fantastic Spring semester!

  • Press NicolovDenise Kinsella
  • Dean, IECAssociate Dean, IEC

Follow Our Social Media Pages

To stay up to date with current and upcoming events, please follow our Social Media Pages.

IEC Instagram       IEC Facebook        ISF Instagram           ISF Discord

Join our Events and get to know other International Students

Our next event is the IEC Beach Day on March 8th.  Check our Activities and Events page often to see what activities are planned in the future and how to sign up. We hope to see you there!
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SEVIS Requirements

If this is your first semester in the U.S. at SMC, make sure you submit the check-in form within 10 days of arrival. If you have not done it yet, do it now by clicking on this Check-In-Form link.

To maintain your visa status and keep your SEVIS record active, it is important to enroll in at least 12 units and to follow the on-ground requirement. The on-ground requirement states that most classes (at least 9 units) should be on-ground and only one online class of up to 3-units can count toward the 12 unit requirement.

The International Education Center (IEC) is required to have current information on F1 students. This includes address, phone number, and email address. If you have not provided the International Education Center with your current contact information, please update your information on Corsair Connect.  If you are unable to update your information in Corsair Connect, please contact the IEC for assistance.

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Tap Card and Student ID

Visit the Cashier’s Office page to learn how to request your METRO GoPass (TAP Card) to be able to ride the public transportation. Your student benefits fee covers the cost to ride public transportation for the whole semester!

You can also request your Student ID Card through the Cashier’s Office.


Housing Tips

It’s always important to exercise caution when dealing with housing transactions. We strongly advise that you do not send any cash or make any payments before physically seeing the accommodation and verifying its legitimacy.

Scammers may attempt to take advantage of international students by requesting advance rent or security deposit payments without providing proper documentation or allowing you to visit the property. To avoid falling victim to such scams, follow these guidelines:

  1. Visit the property: Schedule a time to visit the accommodation in person. Take a friend with you. This will allow you to inspect the premises, assess its condition, and ensure it matches the description provided.
  2. Ask for documentation: Request copies of any necessary paperwork, such as a lease agreement or rental contract. Read and understand the terms and conditions before making any payments.
  3. Research the Landlord/Owner: Conduct a background check on the landlord or property owner. Search for their name online, verify their contact information, and consider checking reviews or testimonials from previous tenants.
  4. Proof of Ownership: Ask for proof of ownership or authorization to rent the property. This could be in the form of a property title, deed, or other legally binding documentation.
  5. Use Secure Payment Methods: When making any payments, use secure methods such as bank transfers, checks, or online platforms.

We would suggest you start by taking a look at the SMC Housing Page.

Since Santa Monica is an upscale urban area, there are many housing options around SMC.  On the downside, apartment rentals tend to be a little more expensive in this immediate area. 

Less expensive rentals may be found in West Los Angeles, Palms, Mar Vista, Westwood and Culver City – all within an easy commute of Santa Monica College

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You can get more information by visiting How to Apply for Scholarships 

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Is your I-20 Expiring?

If your I-20 is expiring at the end of Spring 2024 and you need an additional semester or more to finish, submit the I-20 Extension Request Form


Spring Internships (CPT)

Interested in a Spring Internship? Learn more here: Internship Program Website

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Optional Practical Training for Spring graduates

Planning on applying for OPT work permission? Don't wait, apply early, beginning March 13th for Spring graduates and May 11th for Summer graduates!  Find out how to apply by watching the OPT Presentation

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Tax Season

International students are legally required to file a tax return if you received US income during 2023 by the 15 April 2024 deadline.

And even if you didn’t work or receive income in the US, you’re still obliged to file a Form 8843 with the IRS.

ALL F-1 students who were in the U.S. for 30 days or more in 2023 must complete IRS tax form 8843 

If you worked in the U.S. in F-1 status in 2023, you must also complete IRS tax form 1040-NR 

Sprintax Nonresident Tax Webinars

In these tax webinars, international students, scholars and professionals will be run through

everything they need to know about nonresident tax for the 2023 tax season.

Tuesday, March 5 @ 4 p.m. ET – Register for Tuesday, March 5

Wednesday, March 20 @ 2 p.m. ET – Register for Wednesday, March 20

Wednesday, March 27 @ 1 p.m. ET – Register for Wednesday, March 27  

Thursday, April 4 @ 3 p.m. ET – Register for Thursday, April 4

Wednesday, April 10 @ 12 p.m. ET – Register for Wednesday, April 10

Monday, April 15 @ 1 p.m. ET – Register for Monday, April 15

IEC  will also be offering our own virtual tax workshop webinar on Zoom to learn how to complete the forms. Stay tuned for additional updates and registration info!   


Photo Contest!!!

Share your SMC photos with us for a chance to be awarded!

Winning photos will be awarded a paid internship project at the International Education Center!  Submit your photo in one or more of the categories listed below.  Photos must be appropriate for public display.  The IEC will determine what is appropriate for a college office.  Winners will be featured in SMC’s social media and marketing campaigns, and winning photos will be hung in the International Education Center. *New this contest*  All photos must be SMC related and/ or taken on an SMC campus.  Photos that are not related to SMC or on an SMC campus will not be considered.

Submit photos in one or more of the categories below:

Academics at SMC

That Ah-Hah Moment at SMC

Most Epic Selfie at SMC

Out and About on SMC Campuses

Best Photographer Skills at SMC

Corsair Pride

Discovering Santa Monica College Culture


To enter your photos to the contest, submit a separate e-mail for each photo.

Send an e-mail to

Subject Line: SMC Photo Contest

Attach ONE photo

(Submissions that include more than one photo will not be considered.)

In the body of the e-mail, include:

Your name

Your SMC ID#

The category for which you are submitting

A description of your photo.  Your description can be just a few words, or a longer description, up to 100 words.

⚠️You must only submit one photo/ category per email, and you can submit your photo to one or more of the categories listed above. *You can submit up to 3 photos per category maximum.

Winners will need to sign a release allowing Santa Monica College to use your photo, title, description and name in social media and marketing pieces, and must be in a minimum of 12 units the following fall/ spring semester to apply for their SSN and be eligible for the internship/ on campus work.  Please see the attached flyer for more information.

We can’t wait to see your photos!

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Getting Your Insurance Card

Please look for your Welcome Email from GeoBlue.  This will have your Certificate number and a link to where you will be able to download your ID card.  The card is for your use only. Never lend this card to other students. Carry your ID card with you at all times! You will need your card when you visit a physician’s office, urgent care, hospital, or pharmacy.

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Students enrolled in the medical plan are eligible for AcademicLiveCare!

This is a TeleHealth platform for virtual doctor visits 24/7 from your smartphone, computer, or other mobile device – all with $0 cost to you!

  • Services include General Care, Urgent Care, Psychiatry, Therapy/Counseling, and Nutritional counseling

To use this service – follow these simple steps:

  1. Log into:
  2. Click “Get Connected”, and then visit “AcademicLiveCare”
  3. Sign up using your school email address or Log in if you already have an account.
  4. Complete your profile.
  5. When prompted, enter Service Key ALC – this allows you to see the doctors/providers in California.
  6. Once you schedule your appointment, right before you are connected to the provider you will enter your Coupon Code.  Enter the code and click apply to make the cost of your visit free.   To find your coupon code, please check your SMC email as the code is listed in the AcademicLiveCare welcome email.  Please be sure to check your spam filter, if you do not see this email. 

For a visual guide, download the AcademicLiveCare User Guide

If you have any questions about the new insurance plan or how to use AcademicLiveCare, please visit our website,

For more information, please visit this webpage for useful links and guidance: Health Care Insurance

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Health Insurance Plan Highlights

If you choose not to use AcademicLiveCare, which is a completely free service for you, your insurance policy will cover services-for-pay as follows:

$500,000 annual benefit maximum

$200 annual deductible


$25 office visit copay

$25 copay for mental health counseling services

$50 urgent care center copay

$100 Emergency Room copay

Prescription drugs – ($3,000 max per year):

$10 copay for Generic

$25 copay for Brand

$50 copay for injectables

Other Details:

Coverage for annual cervical cytology screening and mammography screening

No coverage for routine annual physicals

Immunizations are covered at the SMC Student Health Center ONLY

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Join a club

A good way to get involved at SMC and get to know like-minded students, is to join a club that shares your interests! This is also a nice way to explore new interests.

Follow the Associated Students Instagram page for the latest updates and information on club events, such as Club Row!

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Meet our Peer Mentors!

Hey there, lovely souls! I'm Amy, from Myanmar and currently navigating the vibrant streets of LA as an international student at SMC. Picture this: I'm in the middle of Business Marketing and enjoying the California weather while making plans and dreams come true. Now, rewind just a couple of years back, and you'd find me as the typical introverted, shy girl, tucked away in her own little world. But oh, how the winds of change have swept me up since then! SMC has been the light that has helped turn me into this lively, outgoing force of nature you see me today. From the sandy shores of its breathtaking beaches to the majestic allure of its towering mountains, I just love LA!

Keep in touch with our Peer Mentors through Unibuddy and their Blogs!

Message From International Counseling

Welcome to Spring 2024!

Counselors are available to assist and guide you in your SMC academic journey. We are available to see students in-person and online via Zoom Express. You may also email us via AskIECC; this is an excellent resource for students who are unable to use Zoom, need forms, or who prefer a written response. Please visit our International Counseling page to access our services.

Enrollment Tips and Strategies

Check class schedule - The schedule is dynamic with changes updated frequently. 

Open Seat Notification List - If someone drops a section on this list, you will be notified but you need to move quickly, as all students on this list are also notified. 

Wait lists (opens two weeks before the start of a term) - The Open Seat Notification feature will turn into a wait list and students will have an actual number on this list.

“CRASH” – Email instructors to ask for permission to get into their section (use the campus directory to find e-mails). The instructor will make a decision based on many factors, but it’s worth a try. 

“Swap a Class” option (secure 12 units first) - By using this feature, you will not be dropped from the section you are using to swap as the system will first check to see if the section you want to add is still available. If you swap after the refund deadline, you will have to pay for the new class. 

“Request a Class” - If enough students request the same section, the department may consider opening a new course. 

Refund Deadline - Don't forget to make any changes to your schedule before the refund deadline to avoid losing money and having to pay again! Check your Corsair Connect to find the refund dates.

Attend our Transfer workshops: Don't miss out on our many university transfer workshops hosted by the Transfer Center. Click here for more information about our upcoming events and registration details

If you can't make any of our workshops, mark your calendars for our College Fair on Thursday, April 25th, 2024, from 10 AM to 1 PM at the main campus fountain quad.

Connect with your Instructors: Don't be shy to ask questions or seek help from your instructors. They really care about how you're doing and want to support you throughout your journey. Building a good relationship with them can be helpful, especially if you ever face any problems or conflicts.

Tutoring Services: Need some extra help with your studies? No worries! We've got free tutoring services available at our Tutoring Center for many different subjects. Making an appointment is easy, just click here to find out how!

Make New Friends: Building social connections is a great way to feel more at home. Join clubs and take part in organized activities to meet others who share your interests. Oh, and did you know we have an International Student Club? Click here for more information of when we meet! Come join us for board games, snacks, and new friendships!

Interested in other clubs? Here is a list of clubs and activities that we also offer at SMC!

Stay Healthy: Taking care of yourself is essential for a smooth cultural adjustment. Remember to eat well, get enough exercise, and rest properly. Find an activity you enjoy and make it part of your routine to help reduce stress. Luckily, we have a fitness center and pool right here at Santa Monica College. It's available for all students to use. So, stay active, have fun, and keep yourself in good shape!

Mental Health Matters: We care about your mental well-being too. Our Center of Wellness and Wellbeing offers free, confidential individual therapy sessions and referral services. Remember, your mental health is just as important as your physical health.

We hope these tips and strategies help you settle in and make the most of your time at our college. If you ever need anything, don't hesitate to reach out. We're here to support you every step of the way!

Counseling In Person Office Hours

Please check the Counseling page for hours.


Contact an International Counselor Remotely

Zoom Express Counseling

(available to all F-1 and overseas international students) 

Meet with a counselor for a 10-15 minute session. If waiting room is closed, check again at a later time

Please check the Counseling page for hours


Email your non-urgent questions via an online form. A counselor will respond to you in 5-7 days.

Additional Campus Resources

IEC wants you to know you can always talk to us or use the other resources on campus. Here are a few we recommend:

Let's Be Social!

Connect with other F1 international students via Zoom and make new FRIENDS

Events and Activities Throughout the Semester


The International Education Center will have events and activities throughout the semester! Please be sure to check our Student Activities and Clubs page for more details of upcoming events and follow our Social Media accounts!


IEC Peer Mentors' Open House


Thursdays, 11:15 a.m. PST

Check your email for the open house zoom event later in the semester!

Are you ready to obtain the secrets of living as an international student at SMC and the first-hand experience of the vibrant culture of Los Angeles? Or, perhaps you have inquiries regarding housingsocial events, and yearn for some quality interaction? If so, we invite you to our exclusive IEC Peer Mentor "Open House”. This is a unique chance to connect with one of our knowledgeable student mentors and one of our staff members who can provide firsthand information and address any of your questions.

ISF Meetings

The ISF is a club that promotes relationship building between both domestic and international students at Santa Monica College, encourages student involvement and leadership, and emphasizes the importance of cultural exchange and enrichment.



College closed on the following holidays:

DATE Holiday

Friday, February 9

Lincoln's Day

Monday February 19

President's Day

Monday April 8

Cesar Chavez Day

Monday April 8 - Friday April 12

Spring Break

Monday May 27

Memorial Day

Stay Connected with IEC!