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There are several important steps to take before you leave for your study abroad experience. The information on this page is designed to help you consider what you need and the resources available to ensure a productive, healthy, safe and successful study abroad experience.

Important Reminders

  • Apply to your program! The earlier you apply the better—many programs can fill up prior to the deadline.
  • Confirm your study abroad plans with Smith by completing the “Post-Acceptance” section of your application in SITES.
  • Attend Smith’s mandatory pre-departure orientation. 
  • Review additional important information in these “Before You Go” pages.
  • Review the Costs and Financial Aid section to ensure your understanding of the Smith Home School Fee Policy.
  • Take the Online Cultural Training Resource for Study Abroad.
  • Request a letter of support.

Confirmation Forms

Florence, Geneva, Hamburg, Paris

For approved students going to a Smith Program Abroad, please view the predeparture information on the associated program’s “For Accepted Students” website: 

Additional Forms

The following Independent Study form is only for students participating on SIT programs, SFS programs, the IFSA Pune program, or Frontiers Abroad.

Airfare & Visas

Airfare Stipends

  • We recommend that you begin looking into airfare as soon as possible, as ticket costs tend to increase the closer you get to the date of departure. Our office recommends that you consider using a service such as StudentUniverse. Benefits of booking your ticket through StudentUniverse may include lower ticket change fees.
  • The Office for International Study awards partial funding for airfare to students with financial need. Airfare stipends are disbursed at the end of the semester preceding study abroad. Note: eligible students with approved two-location petitions receive one airfare stipend that can be applied to either the fall or spring semester.


  • In most instances, students must have a passport that is valid six months after the end of the program.
  • Questions about visas should be directed to the study abroad program you have chosen to attend. 
  • Visa application processes for certain countries may be incompatible with activities or travel that prevent you from being actively engaged in obtaining your visa. Students are advised to thoroughly understand the visa application process for their destination country before making any summer/winter break plans.
  • International students using an F-1 visa to attend Smith may need to have a valid entry visa stamp in order to apply for the host country student visa.


Primary Insurance

All students are required to carry U.S.-based primary health insurance, and will be automatically enrolled in the Smith College student health insurance plan through Gallagher Student Health and Special Risk at the beginning of the term abroad. This insurance plan may be waived online at Gallagher Student Health and Special Risk if the student has another primary health insurance policy that provides comparable coverage, except in the case of international students, who must purchase the Smith College student health insurance plan through Gallagher Student Health and Special Risk. If you are an international student and plan to visit your home country during break, you may need additional insurance coverage in your home country during this period.

Services Provided by AIG/Travel Guard

AIG/Travel Guard is an independent service engaged by Five Colleges Inc. to provide students studying abroad access to a full range of medical information, travel assistance, and emergency services. It is important to remember that AIG/Travel Guard is NOT (and does not replace) international health insurance. It does, however, provide valuable services, such as:

  • Email or text alerts for your destination
  • Detailed and comprehensive country reports
  • Travel health concerns and vaccinations
  • General safety or security concerns

We strongly recommend that students register with AIG/Travel Guard and sign up for email updates and alerts for their destination. Registration is easy and free.

  • Go to the AIG Benefits Solution portal and click “register here.”
  • Enter your name, email address, organization name (Five Colleges), and policy number (0009144090).

Finding Providers

If you or your family’s insurance company does not provide coverage overseas, you will need to find a suitable provider for your time abroad. Providers include GeoBlueiNext, HTH Worldwide, and International SOS.

You can compare a variety of insurance providers at

What to Look For

When considering insurance policies, ask these questions:

  • Will the plan cover hospitalization for accidents and illness for the entire period abroad?
  • Is there a deductible? How much?
  • Is there a dollar limit to the amount of coverage provided?
  • What are the procedures for filing a claim for medical expenses abroad? Is it necessary to pay up front and then get reimbursed?