International Education Center

International Education Center Newsletter

Fall 2022, Issue 1

Connections International Students Newsletter

Welcome to our new students, and welcome back to our returning students!  We are excited to see the majority of you on campus!  We hope you enjoy getting back to the “normal” routine of in-person classes and campus life, although it has been such a long time that it probably doesn’t seem normal at all.  We encourage you to get involved in campus clubs as a great way to make new friends.  The International Student Forum club is designed especially for you, and plans weekend outings both in the area and further afield.  Watch for Join A Club day to learn about other clubs on campus.

As you learn about campus life, please stop by the International Education Center any time if you have questions, need help with something, or have an idea you would like to share with us.  We are your “home-away-from-home”, and we look forward to seeing you at the IEC!

We wish you a fulfilling semester.

Dean Press Nicolov and Associate Dean Denise Kinsella

Important reminders for new and continuing students:

  • Wear your mask, wash your hand, and practice social distancing.
  • Check your SMC email daily
  • Join the International Education Center and others for on-campus meetings. It is a great way to connect with friends and get your questions answered.

Check list form

Check In Reminder

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 or from receiving your Transfer Pending I-20. If you have not done it yet, do it now by clicking on this Check-In-Form link

students on video call

F-1 Students Continuing Studies Outside the U.S. in Spring 2022

While most students studying from their home country do not have F1 status, a few of you are maintaining the F-1 status that you had back in March 2020.  In order to maintain your F1 status from your home country, you must complete the semester with 12 units. If you are below 12 units and are not approved for a reduced course load, your I-20 will be terminated at the end of the semester, and you will need to apply for reinstatement.

Phone and mail graphic

Personal Information Update

The International Education Center 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.  

Tax Workshop

In this FREE online session, the Sprintax team will be providing an introduction to US taxes for new and incoming international students, scholars and professionals. Topics covered will include an outline of filing obligations for nonresidents, tax information around working in the USA and other resources to help nonresidents to understand their tax obligations whilst in the USA.

Sprintax Introduction to US Taxes for Nonresidents on Sep 21, 2022 9:30 A.M. PDT at:

Graduation cap and rolled up diploma

Graduating at the end of Fall? Submit your Graduation Petition

The deadline to apply for Fall graduation is December 1st.  To learn about the steps to petition for graduation, visit the Graduation Petition page.

Hands shaking

Graduating at the end of Fall and want to apply for OPT

Students graduating at the end of the fall semester can apply for OPT beginning September 21st (90 days before the end of the semester). Contact a counselor now to request the ‘OPT request form'. Instructions will then be sent to you about how to meet with an Immigration Specialist to complete the application for OPT.

Skater jumping with skateboard

Photo Contest!!!

Are you an international student who loves taking pictures? Share your SMC and California Photos!
Winners will be featured in SMC's social media and marketing campaigns, and winning photos will be hung in the IEC. Submit photos in one or more of the categories below:

• Academics at SMC
• That "Ah-Hah" Moment
• Most Epic Selfie
• Out and About in Santa Monica/ Los Angeles
• Best Photographer Skills
• Corsair Pride
• Discovering Local Culture
• Create your Own Category!

Winners will receive a paid internship at the IEC for up to 7 hours to complete a marketing project (Instagram takeover, blog posts, TikTok videos, or others)! Please stay tuned for more details which will be sent to your SMC email account.  All submissions are due by November 16th.
To submit, please email with one photo per email.  In the body of the email, include: your name, your SMC ID#, the category you are submitting for, and a 100 words or less description of your photo.  You must only submit one photo/ category per email, and you can submit your photo to one or more of the categories listed above.  We can't wait to see your photos!!


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

  • Send an e-mail to
  • Subject Line: SMC Photo Contest
  • Attach ONE photo
  • In the body of the e-mail, include:
  • Your name
  • Your SMC ID#
  • The category you are submitting for
  • Location:  where the photo was taken
  • A description of your photo.  Your description can be just a few words, or a longer description, up to 100 words.

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.

We can’t wait to see your photos!

Get Direct Deposits via BankMobile

Santa Monica College would like to introduce the partnership between SMC and BankMobile, which will allow students to have their money directly deposited into a US bank account of their choice (Your name MUST be on the account).

SMC students can now get their tuition refunds deposited directly into their US bank account without waiting for the post office or picking up a check on campus!

Direct Deposit/Distributions (BankMobile) Details

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Health Insurance

Visit the Sydney Health website to download the Sydney App to get your member ID card right away and to find doctors. Visit the Anthem Insurance website to register your Anthem Blue Cross account.

Need to see a doctor? Visit the Anthem Find Care page to find an Anthem Blue Cross Provider.

If you need to be tested for coronavirus: Your health plan will cover the costs for doctor-ordered COVID-19/coronavirus testing with no copay or deductible, including at out-of-network facilities if an in-network provider is not accessible.

If you contract coronavirus: Your health plan will provide coverage for COVID-19/coronavirus treatment the same as it would any other illness.

The International Student Insurance Plan is through Anthem Blue Cross. Blue Cross has the largest provider network nationwide, allowing you to seek services from thousands of contracted doctors, specialists, urgent care centers and hospitals anywhere in the US.  The name of your insurance plan is “Blue Cross PPO” – also called “Blue Cross Prudent Buyer”. When using Blue Cross PPO providers, expect a $25 office and specialist visit copayment, $25 urgent care visit copayment and a $50 emergency room copayment when using contracted Blue Cross PPO providers.  There is a $50 annual deductible for International students and dependents and a $250 annual deductible for OPT students and their dependents.

As with all insurance plans, some services have pre-certification requirements, limitations and exclusions.  Always consult the plan document or Anthem Customer Service for more details.

smile showing teeth

Dental Coverage with Anthem Blue Cross

Dental cleanings and basic restorative services -- up to a $750 maximum benefit per year!   This benefit will cover Diagnostic and Preventive services and basic restorative dental services up to $750 per plan year!   There is a $50 deductible + 20% coinsurance due for basic restorative services. Always use contracted Blue Cross Dental providers to maximize your benefit. Remember, non-contracted providers can “balance bill” you for anything the insurance does not pay.

Telemed health icon

DialCare Service: no referral or co-pay!

DialCare Physician Access connects you with state-licensed, fully credentialed doctors, via phone and video chat, to provide treatment and advice for common ailments. No referral or co-payment required! DialCare Mental Wellness connects you with a mental health professional. It is safe, secure, and confidential. To schedule a consultation with a doctor or mental health professionals, please call 855-335-2255 to access care and obtain your DialCare member ID number. Once you have this ID number, you can go to the DialCare Website and click on “Log in” (don’t click on sign up – it will take you to a different plan). Next, click on Account Set up and enter your name and your ID number. Or, download the DialCare mobile app at the Google Play or Apple App store. With DialCare, there are no limits on the number of 30 minute phone and video consultations you can have with doctors or mental health professionals!

Learn more about DialCare.

Flu Shots & Immunizations Now Available on Campus

If you are planning on transferring to a University – including the UC and CSU systems in Fall 2022, you are required to be vaccinated against a number of diseases. It’s not too early to get these immunizations now! The campus health center can give you the vaccinations you need by appointment only. Please call the Health Services Center at (310) 434-4262 to schedule an appointment. Appointments are limited and fill up quickly so please don’t wait!

The vaccines available at the Health Services Center are:

  • Flu
  • Tdap or Td
  • MMR
  • Varicella
  • HPV (age 26 and under)
  • Hepatitis A
  • Hepatitis B
  • Meningococcal

The health center will submit a bill to the insurance company on your behalf!

How to Reach an International Counselor

The Fall semester is an exciting time of year, but it is also a very busy one. Counselors are available to assist and guide you in your SMC academic journey. The Zoom Express Drop-in service is the best way to connect with a counselor. You may also e-mail us via AskIECC; this service is excellent for students who are unable to Zoom, need forms, and/or 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 waiting list and students will have an actual number on this list.

“CRASH” - Email instructors asking for permission to get into their section (Use 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.

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

We wish you the very best and hope you will take advantage of our services.

Counseling Office Hours

Please check the Counseling page for hours.

Contact an International Counselor

Zoom Express and Ask IECC

Zoom logo

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


Student counselor


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
students playing games

Monthly Mingle

The International Education Center will have monthly on-ground events! Please be sure to check your email for more details and follow our Social Media account!

student mentor

IEC Peer Mentors' Open House

Thursdays, 11:15 a.m. PST

Join our Peer Mentor Open House every Thursday from 11:15am to 12:30pm through Zoom. It is a great chance to meet our Peer Mentors and other SMC students, ask any questions, or discuss any concerns you may have!

Students in front of L.A. Science Center

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, November 11th Veteran's Day

Thursday, November 24th


Friday, November 25th

Native American Day

Stay Connected with IEC!