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Before You Go

Photo of students sitting on a step in the Czech Republic

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.

Find essential information on health, safety, identity and sustainability to help you prepare for your study abroad experience.

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: 

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.

Supplemental Insurance

Students on a Smith program in Florence, Geneva (including the BA+MA program), Hamburg or Paris are also covered by a supplemental international medical insurance policy through GeoBlue. All students and their families should review the coverage information about this plan; read more about GeoBlue resources here.

Students on Smith-approved programs should consult with their program provider/host institution to see if any supplemental health insurance is provided. If not, students are eligible to purchase supplemental study abroad insurance through GeoBlue at an additional cost. For additional supplemental insurance, check the "Shopping for Insurance" and "Additional Coverage Overseas" tabs for information on purchasing additional health insurance coverage. This can be particularly useful if a student's primary health insurance coverage isn't adequate while they're abroad.

Special Information for Direct Enrollment

At Universities in the United Kingdom, Ireland, Australia & New Zealand