International Education Center

International Education Center Newsletter

Spring 2023


Connections International Students Newsletter


Welcome to the Spring 2023 Semester!  It’s starting out a bit cold for Southern California, but as you settle into your classes, it will warm up. 

Did you catch the live music on the quad during the first week of classes?  Watch for more free events on the quad this semester.  If you are interested in making new friends, check out the many special interest clubs on campus.  The International Student Forum is a club that invites international and domestic students to get together for fun activities on campus every other week.  They also plan informal off-campus events.  Follow them on Instagram for more information.

The counselors and staff in the International Education Center on the third floor of the Student Services Center are waiting to meet you and help you with any questions or challenges you may be facing this semester.  Come visit us anytime to get some help, to check out our student photography display, or just to hang out and chat!  You are welcome here!


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

Important reminders for new and continuing students:

Santa Monica College will no longer require indoor masking except when: in the SMC Health Center, on College Transportation, or when meeting one-on-one in individual offices.  Masks are now optional in other settings, and are available if you would like to wear one on campus.


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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 3-unit online class 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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 You can get more information by visiting How to Apply for Scholarships


Is your I-20 Expiring?

If your I-20 is expiring at the end of Spring 2023 and you need an additional semester or more to finish, submit the I-20 Extension Request Form

Word Internship and words skills,training, development, and personal growth underneath

Spring Internships (CPT)

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

Hands holding a resume

Optional Practical Training for Spring graduates

Planning on applying for OPT work permission? Don't wait, apply early, beginning March 15th for Spring graduates and May 13th for Summer graduates!  Find out how to apply by watching the OPT Presentation.

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Proud To Be SMC Photo Contest – A chance to win a paid internship!

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
• Marketing Team's Choice

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.  


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, SMC ID#, Category entering, Location where the photo was taken, and a description of your photo (Less than 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!

Documents with Tax on top, and a calculator, pencil, and glasses next to them

Tax Workshop

Join us for a tax information webinar on Friday, March 10th at 11:00am PST to learn how to complete required tax forms. Instructions to RSVP to attend the workshop will be sent out in a separate email to all enrolled F-1 students.


Hand holding a card that says Health Insurance

Health Insurance


Please visit the How To Use Your Health Insurance page to learn how to use the health insurance, how to get your health insurance card, and learn other important information about your health insurance coverage.


Visit the Sydney Health website to download the Sydney App to get your member ID card right away and to find doctors.


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

 Always consult the plan document or Anthem Customer Service for more details.

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Benefit Spotlight – Dental and Vision

Although most medical insurance plans in the U.S. do not cover adult dental and vision benefits, the international student plan at Santa Monica College does provide some coverage for these services!

In addition to the Affordable Care Act’s mandated pediatric dental and vision benefit for those under age 19, this enhanced medical plan provides a limited benefit for those 19 and older. Here’s what is covered:

Limited Dental Coverage
Basic Preventive coverage
Two teeth cleaning per year
$50 deductible applies
Coverage up to $750 maximum per year

-Basic Preventive dental services include Evaluation and X-Rays
-Accidental dental injury is covered under the medical plan.
-Medically necessary wisdom teeth removal is covered

Limited Vision Coverage
One complete eye exam every 12 months
No lenses or frames

If you have questions about these or any of your Anthem Blue Cross PPO benefits, please contact Jeff Melichar at the International Education Center,  or reach out to Kari Mendoza-

Colorful papers with club names on them

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!

Peer Mentor Liana Portrait

 Meet our Peer Mentor!

Hi! I'm Liana, I’m a student in film production major at Santa Monica College. Also, I am a peer mentor for the International Education Center. I am an international student, I moved to Los Angeles a year and a half ago. I am quite an active person and explore the beautiful places of Los Angeles as much as possible and learn something new about this city. I want to tell you about one of my favorite places in Los Angeles. Lake Hollywood Park, located in the Hollywood Hills overlooking the lake, has become one of my favorite places to visit. But, of course, the main feature of the park is the best view of the "Hollywood" sign! Lake Hollywood Park is a public space with green hills and excellent hiking trails. If you are driving, there is free parking on the slope in front of the entrance to Lake Hollywood Park. This park is the perfect place to have a great day out. For example, in the park, you can play football, do yoga, and have a picnic, as the park has particular barbecue areas. A playground is provided for children. The park has long been a favorite place for dog owners - it is the perfect place to play and have a good time with your pet. To sum up, this is an amazing place to see the Hollywood sign, take pictures, and have a wonderful time with friends!
Thank you!


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

Message From IEC Counseling

Welcome to Spring 2023!
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. 

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

Counseling In Person Office Hours

Monday to Thursday
9 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. 

Contact an International Counselor Remotely


Laptop on desk, Zoom logo on laptop screen

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 through Thursday: 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
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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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!


Computer screen with video meeting with many participants

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!

groups of students working together to carve pumpkins

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 10th Lincoln's Day

Monday, February 20th

President's Day

Monday, April 10th

Cesar Chavez Day

Monday, May 29th

Memorial Day

Stay Connected with IEC!