For Parents & Guardians
Smith College has a long tradition of providing culturally enriching and rigorous academic programs abroad to students. Since 1925, when the first Smith Junior Year Abroad program opened in Paris, Smith students have been developing valuable intercultural competencies, including language and cross-cultural skills, that are important for successful professional careers in every field of work. Now, nearly 40 percent of the junior class studies abroad in programs approved for Smith academic credit in Africa, Asia, Middle East, Latin America, Oceania and Europe.
Please sign in front of a witness and return to the student so they can upload the form into their record in SITES.
Typically, students will select a program from the list of programs approved for study abroad credit.
In general, each program or university has comprehensive information online. Ask your student which program or university they will be attending and visit the programs' website. Often there are special sections for parents.
The Office for International Study's resource room also has printed material that your student can send to you. However, the printed material tends to have more of a marketing focus with an overview of information. In general, the program or university website will contain more detailed information regarding academics, housing, calendars, and important application deadlines.
Smith students must meet the Smith eligibility requirements in order to be approved to study abroad and receive credit. At the discretion of each academic department, credit earned abroad can be used towards major and minor requirements.
To find out if specific courses abroad will satisfy major or minor requirements, students must consult with the appropriate department adviser before submitting her study abroad credit application.
Students are usually able to incorporate a study abroad program into their four years of college through a semester, year or summer. This may be harder to do in some majors than in others, and it requires careful planning in order to fulfill both degree and major requirements as well as study abroad program pre-requisites. Many study abroad programs accept students in their sophomore, junior or senior year.
Early consultation with the Office for International Study can help a student to consider all the options in planning out her college years. We are here to help with early planning!
Courses, credits and grades earned while studying abroad will appear on the Smith transcript as transfer credits. This information will include the name of the program or university, followed by a full listing of the course titles, the credits and the grades.
Grades earned for courses taken abroad will not be included in the Smith GPA, although the letter grade will be printed on the transcript.
The only exceptions to this policy are the courses, credits and grades earned on the Smith programs in Geneva, Hamburg, Paris and Florence. For these programs, the courses and credits will appear on the Smith transcript as Smith courses and the grades will be factored into the Smith GPA.
This is a personal decision, but we recommend that before your daughter departs from home that you discuss the best avenues of communication (email, telephone, Skype, FaceTime) and how often you both want to communicate.
Many families find that regular weekly or biweekly email communication works well. Agreeing on a regular day of the week to communicate can help keep you updated on your daughter’s activities without impinging on her need to explore her new environment and become acquainted with the people around her.
Online video chats or online telephone conversations can be helpful in situations where you need to discuss something important together to reach a decision, although overuse can lead to your daughter becoming more dependent on you instead of more independent. It’s helpful to remember that just because you can communicate daily with your daughter doesn’t mean that this amount of communication will actually help her plunge into her new situation. In fact, sometimes too much communication with home can cause the reverse: The student spends too much time on the computer and not enough time exploring her new environment and focusing on new acquaintances. This can lead to increased isolation and diminished experiences which in turn can cause a significant downturn in her feelings about being in the study abroad location.
Some families are used to using cell phones to communicate often and rapidly within the United States. Please bear in mind that depending on the country and region your daughter is heading to, cell phone communication may be readily available, but expensive, so cell phones are best used locally while in-country. There is also a chance cell phone connectivity may be spotty or unavailable.
Make sure before your daughter leaves that you have the following:
- The email address she will be using while she is away.
- A phone number where she can be reached (homestay family, dorm room or cell phone). If this information isn’t available before your daugther departs, or she is going to buy a cell phone or a new SIM card after arrival in the host country, have an agreement about when she is going to give you that telephone number.
- The street address (including the street number or name/number of the building) of either the sponsoring program or the location where your daughter will be staying so that you can send her packages by airmail if necessary.
- Make sure that you have the telephone/fax/email information for the program administrator overseas in case of an emergency.
- In an emergency, you may also contact the Smith Campus Police, who can reach the dean for international study outside of regular office hours. See the Smith Emergency Contact page for travel emergencies.
We encourage you to consult the program dates and plan your travel after the program. It is not typical for families to visit students overseas. If you can afford to make a visit, it's best to do so when the program has finished so your daughter can show you around her new "home" at a time when she has no academic responsibilities.
Smith students are not allowed to leave a program early; just like at Smith, each end of the semester or year is the important culmination of her academic experience.
Study Abroad Experiences
Lewis Global Studies Center
Northampton, MA 01063
For emergencies, call Campus Police at 413-585-2490 and ask to have a study abroad staff member contacted.