International Education Center

International Education Center Newsletter

Spring 2021, Issue 2

Group of students posing at The Getty

Connections International Students Newsletter

A time of transitions: “Goodbye” and “Hello!"

The end of the spring semester is always bittersweet for us. As the bright California sun shines more warmly and the beaches beckon, we are thrilled to welcome our new summer and fall students, but we have also already started to say “goodbye” to our students who are moving forward. This year the goodbyes are even harder since they are mostly online, but we are immensely proud of each of our graduating and transferring students. You did not give up, nor give in, to less-than-ideal circumstances. You kept moving ahead, laying the foundation for your future, one Zoom class at a time. As admission decisions stream in, we are delighted to hear so many of you have accomplished your goals at SMC and are moving on to ever bigger and better dreams. Congratulations to the SMC international class of 2021! Your resilience and strength mark you as a very special group, and will carry you to success in all your future endeavors. We hope you take with you many happy memories of SMC and will come back to visit us soon.

As sad as we are to say goodbye to our graduating and transferring students, we are truly excited to welcome our new Summer and Fall students, particularly as we are all experiencing a sense of renewed hope and enthusiasm. California is opening up, vaccines are freely available for everyone, and SMC cannot wait to be fully on-ground. Already a robust selection of on-ground classes is available for Fall (check all of our class offerings here) and we look forward to a fully on-ground experience as soon as city and state regulations allow. We will keep you posted!

Whether you are leaving us or just starting your SMC adventure, thank you for choosing SMC and for enriching our classes, our student life, and the IEC department. As always, we look forward to helping you accomplish your dreams.

Pressian Nicolov, Dean

Denise Kinsella, Associate Dean

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 at 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 Studying Inside the U.S. in Summer & Fall 2021

New students for Summer 2021: in order to maintain your F1 status, you must complete the summer session with a minimum of 4 units.

Fall 2021 students: 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. Please contact an Immigration Specialist at if you need assistance.

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Health Insurance

A referral is required any time the Student Health Services Center or the Center for Wellness and Wellbeing is open. Due to COVID-19, a referral is not required through August 25, 2021. 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

Important News! Effective 8/25/2021, your Insurance will change to Anthem Blue Cross!

Santa Monica College’s commitment to provide quality health insurance coverage for our students has resulted in changes to the International Student Medical Insurance provider network beginning Fall 2021. Effective 8/25/2021, the provider network will change from Cigna PPO to Anthem Blue Cross PPO. Blue Cross offers the largest PPO network nationwide having thousands of contracted physicians, urgent care centers, and hospitals available for your use. We believe moving to the Blue Cross PPO network will allow you greater provider choice to best meet your healthcare needs.

With this change, you will have access to dental cleanings and basic restorative services up to $750 maximum benefit per year!

. If you have any questions, contact Kari Mendoza with Relation Insurance Services at 310-566-2065.

Click on this Anthem Blue Cross Network link for answers to Frequently Asked Questions

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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.

Counseling Corner:

Congratulation to our class of 2021 and welcome to our new summer and fall international students! This past year has been extremely challenging, to say the least. We are very proud of you for persevering and reaching your goals. Some of you are transferring to a 4-year institution this fall 2021 term; we wish you the very best in the next chapter of your educational journey. Others will qualify for Optional Practical Training (OPT). The opportunity to work in your field will provide you with great skills to utilize in your future. For those of you returning home, we hope that your time at Santa Monica College was a great learning experience, fruitful, and enjoyable. For those of you just starting, we are so glad you chose SMC and we are here to help! If you have any questions regarding your next step(s), please follow the link provided.

IEC Counseling Contact

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!

Summer 2021 Counseling Hours

  • Monday through Thursday 9:00 am to 5:00 pm
    • 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

Meet our amazing IEC Peer Mentors!

Ainura - Kazakhstan, Art/Graphic Design major

Antoine - Lebanon, Engineering Major

Eddie - Mongolia, Engineering Major

Ilaria- Italy, Japanese Major

Kota - Japan, Animation major

Liana - Russia, Film Production

Important Dates and Deadlines for International Students

Mark your calendar now!

When topic notes
Now! Summer Internships Interested in a Summer Internship? Learn more here: CPT Presentation
In the next 30 days Is your I-20 Expiring? If your I-20 is expiring in the next 30 days and you need an additional semester to finish, submit the I-20 Extension Request Form
By August 14 Transferring to another school? If you are ready to transfer, be sure to submit your Transfer Out Request Form
By August 14 Optional Practical Training for Spring graduates Planning on applying for OPT work permission? Don't wait, apply early! Find out how by watching the OPT Presentation
By October 12 Optional Practical Training for Summer graduates Planning on applying for OPT work permission? Don't wait, apply early! Find out how by watching the OPT Presentation

College closed on the following holidays:

See All Events
Jun 19
Juneteenth: Campus Closed

Juneteenth: Campus Closed

12 a.m. - 12 a.m.
Jul 4
Independence Day: Campus Closed

Stay Connected with IEC!