International Education Center

International Education Center Newsletter

Spring 2021, Issue 1

Group of students posing at The Getty

Connections International Students Newsletter

Welcome to the Spring 2021 semester at Santa Monica College! As we continue with our largely remote instruction, you can take pride in being part of a vibrant community of international students from all over the world. Each of you, whether in the United States or studying from your home country, is to be commended for forging ahead and refusing to allow circumstances to derail your path to success.

In the current environment it is particularly important to connect, stay engaged, and get the support you need. Please join the International Education Center for our weekly Open House on Zoom every Tuesday from 11:15 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. This is an unstructured time when you can drop in to chat, ask a question of your fellow students, or share a great tip. Be sure to join us for our Weekly Mingle every Friday from 2-3 p.m. There is a topic for each Mingle, and often a game. This is another opportunity to meet other students, make friends online, and get your questions answered. Check your SMC e-mail each week for the links to these events.

You are not alone - we are here to help! Need a quick answer to a question? Try chatting in real time with one of our IEC staff from the Live Chat box you will find on our main page. Also check out the Student Support section of our SMC’s website to find helpful links to the Library for assistance with your online classes, to Health Services for ways to stay healthy and calm during these challenging times, and for a wide variety of other services available to you as an SMC student. Of course, you may always reach out to the International Education Center at anytime with your questions. We are looking forward to helping you!

Stay safe and keep strong,
Pressian Nicolov, Dean, IEC
Denise Kinsella, Associate Dean, IEC

Important reminders for new and continuing students:

  • Wear your mask, wash your hand, and practice social distancing.
  • Check your SMC email daily
  • Join IEC and other campus virtual meetings. It is a great way to connect with friends and get your questions answered.
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 IEC with your current contact information, please email us You may still update your information on Corsair Connect, but you must also notify the International Education Center.

students on video call

F-1 Students Continuing Studies Outside the U.S. in Spring 2021

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.

hands holding heart

Health Insurance

A referral is required any time the SHSC or the CWW is open. Due to COVID-19, a referral is not required for the Spring 2021 term only. Go to the Wellfleet Website and create an account to get your insurance card, view claims and more. You may find in-network providers at the Cigna Website

Telemed health icon

New 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.

How to reach an International Counselor

Spring 2021 Counseling Hours

  • Monday, Tuesday, Thursday: 9 a.m. – 6 p.m.
  • Wednesday: 10 a.m. – 5 p.m.
  • Friday: 11 a.m. – 4 p.m.
    • Hours are subject to change!
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.
students playing games

Weekly Mingle


Fridays, 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. PST

Join the IEC Team for a social hour of games, conversation and fun. Connect with IEC Peer Mentors, SMC students and staff to explore different themes. No RSVP required, just use this link: Weekly Mingle Zoom Link

student mentor

IEC Peer Mentors' Open House


Tuesdays, 11:15 a.m. PST

Take a break and connect! IEC Peer Mentor Open House is a great opportunity to hang out, reach out, or just chill out with IEC Peer Mentors. Share what’s on your mind, gripe about homework, ask questions, or meet new friends. No RSVP required, just use this link: Peer Mentors' Open House Zoom Link 

IEC Peer Mentors Spring 2021

Meet IEC Spring 2021 Peer Mentors!

Ainura - Kazakhstan, Art/Graphic Design major

Brian- S. Korea, Computer Science major 

Eddie - Mongolia, Engineering major

Kota - Japan, Animation major

Ilaria - Italy, Japanese major


Mark your calendar now!

DATE topic notes
Start of Spring through April 19 Spring 2021 Graduation Petitions Due If you are planning on graduation this semester, be sure to file your Graduation Petition on time! Click on the correct form (login will be required) at the Graduation Petition Page 
Thursday, Feb 25. 11 a.m. Post-OPT Visa Options for F-1 Students with Attorney Richard Yemm Immigration Presentation Zoom Link
Friday, March 5; 11:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tax Workshop F-1 students are required to file tax forms, whether or not income was earned in the United States. Tax Workshop Zoom Link
March 17 to Aug 14 Spring Graduate Optional Practical Training (OPT) deadline If you are graduating this June. contact a counselor right after March 17th to get started. Do not delay! 
Thursday, March 18; 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. Tax Workshop F-1 students are required to file tax forms, whether or not income was earned in the United States. Tax Workshop Zoom Link
Friday, April 30 Reduced Course Load (RCL) deadline If you will be under units for any reason see a counselor as soon as possible and request an RCL. The earlier the better!
May 15 to Oct 12, 2021 Summer Graduate Optional Practical Training (OPT) deadline

Do not wait until the end of the filing period. Apply as close to May 15th as you can; contact a counselor to get started.

June 1 to Aug 10 Transfer Out Request If you have been accepted to another school, be sure to submit your Transfer Out Request to the IEC. Use this Transfer Out Request Form link.


College closed on the following holidays:

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