International Education Center

International Education Center Newsletter

Fall 2023


Connections International Students Newsletter

Dear International Students,

We hope the Fall semester is going well for you!  As you finish up mid-terms and prepare for finals, remember that we are here to help you.  Take advantage of free tutoring in your core courses, and visit a counselor or an immigration specialist at the International Education Center if you have any concerns.  We also have specialists to help you with using your health insurance, or with housing questions. 

It’s not all serious at the IEC:  We have plenty of social opportunities for you as well!  Join the International Student Forum club for weekly social gatherings, and watch for opportunities to join the IEC for off campus activities.  We had so much fun at Dodger Night! Our next trip is to the La Brea Tar Pits November 2nd and Six Flags Magic Mountain in early December.

Please visit us anytime if you need help with something or would just like to chat.  The IEC is your Home Away from Home!

All our best,

  • 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 La Brea Tar Pits on November 2nd and Six Flags Magic Mountain in early December.  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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Personal Information Update

The International Education Center is required to have current information on F1 students. This includes U.S. and home country 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

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Current SMC students who meet the minimum academic criteria can apply for 2023-2024 SMC Foundation scholarships starting October 15, 2023. 

Some of the academic criteria are as follows:

  • Minimum overall GPA at SMC of 2.5 
  • Enroll in at least six SMC units for Fall 2023 and at least six SMC units for Spring 2024
  • Last day to submit scholarship application is December 31, 2023

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

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Is Fall your last semester?

If you are transferring to another school at the end of Fall 2023, please fill out the Transfer Out Request Form starting December 1st 2023.If you plan to return to your home country and not maintain your F-1 status, please fill out the Withdrawal Form.

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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.

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

Fall graduates - apply for OPT NOW through February 17, 2024:  the earlier the better! You can begin the process by contacting a counselor to request an OPT request form.

Winter graduates - apply for OPT between November 10, 2023 – April 8, 2024: the earlier the better! You can begin the process by contacting a counselor to request an OPT request form.

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Immigration Workshop: Working Visas and Green Card Options After OPT


H-1B Professional Occupation Visa
L-1A Multinational and L-1B Specialized Knowledge Visas
E-1 Treaty and Trade Visas
O Visas
Immigrant Green Cards


You are invited to this free Immigration Workshop that will feature the presenter Tien-Li Loke Walsh, an Immigration Attorney, to provide information on the requirements for working visas and immigration Green Cards. This workshop is highly recommended for students on OPT or students applying for OPT this Fall. However, it is open to all F-1 students interested in this information.

Workshop Date and Location: Zoom (email will be sent shortly)

Thursday November 2, 2023

11:00 A.M. PST (Los Angeles time)

Guest Speaker: Tien-Li Loke Walsh, Attorney at Law

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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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Health Insurance


Starting on August 25, 2023, the Santa Monica College insurance policy was changed to GeoBlue. All F-1 students are enrolled automatically after paying tuition and fees on your student account.

GeoBlue is using the Blue Cross PPO Network. Please only use contracted Blue Cross PPO providers to save money on your out-of-pocket costs.  It is always your responsibility to verify providers are contracted with Blue Cross before seeking services.

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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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!


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

Message From International Counseling

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 class 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 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. 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.

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 visit the Tutoring Center 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. Here is a list of clubs and activities that we also offer at SMC! Check out the International Student Forum club on Instagram or email them at

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

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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

Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.
Wednesday start time may vary: 10 or 11am - 4:30pm
Friday 9 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. 

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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
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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!


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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!

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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 10th

Veteran's Day

Thursday and Friday, November 23rd and 24th


December 22nd - December 29th

Winter Break

Monday, January 1st, 2024

New Year's Day

Monday, January 15th 2024

Martin Luther King Jr. Day

Friday, February 9th 2024

Lincoln's Day

Stay Connected with IEC!