International Travel Policies & Guidelines
International Travel Policies
Smith College Policy on State Department Travel Advisories
1. Smith College adopts and adheres to U.S. State Department Travel Advisories with respect to College sponsored travel and programs whenever issued for a particular country, locale or region. Smith College will not fund, award credit for, or otherwise sponsor or support any international curricular or extracurricular project in any country or location for which the U.S. Department of State:
- issues an advisory that orders departure of U.S. dependents and non-emergency personnel;
- recommends that U.S. citizens reconsider travel to or in the country for specified reasons; or
- advises that U.S. citizens not travel to the country.
2. This policy applies to all approved Smith Study Abroad programs and any previously-approved short-term faculty-led programs, including graduate programs, as long as the Travel Advisory is in effect.
3. In all cases in which a U.S. State Department Travel Advisory is upgraded to Level 3 or 4, the Smith College Office for International Study will assess the Advisory and determine whether the conditions stated above apply and require implementation of the travel restrictions. The College’s International Risk Management Team may determine that exceptions to the policy may be made should reasonable precautions for the safety of students and staff be in place, including a contingency plan for evacuation of travelers and continuation of a Smith-sponsored academic program.
4. In all instances in which a Level 3 or 4 Travel Advisory is in effect, all students traveling or studying in the region, as well as the parents or guardians of undergraduate students, are required to sign a location and date-specific Travel Advisory Acknowledgement of Risk Waiver.
5. In the case of approved travel or programs already underway, when a Travel Advisory for the location is updated to recommend actions listed in item #1 above, the circumstances will be carefully monitored by the Office for International Study and, if necessary, the International Risk Management Team to determine whether the traveler or programs should:
- continue as planned,
- relocate temporarily to a safe site until the program can resume,
- temporarily suspend operations, or
- be suspended with travelers/participants evacuated from the country and returned to Smith College or a suitable alternative destination.
6. If an evacuation or departure order is issued by the U.S. State Department, Smith approval for any student traveling or studying in the affected area will be automatically withdrawn. Exceptions will be made for students for whom the country is their country of citizenship or residence, should a safe location be identified. Participants wishing to remain on site despite a cancellation or evacuation must sign a refusal-to-depart release form, which may include notice that any credits earned on a study abroad program will not be eligible for Smith credit.
Smith may cancel all activities abroad in countries or locations where the U.S. Department of State has issued a level 3 or 4 advisory
Smith reserves the right to cancel all programs wherein the International Risk Management Team deem there is a threat or hazard to the health and well being of the participants or the program. Program cancellation policies related to refunds, costs of return to the United States, and other procedures must be clearly outlined in all program materials.
Refusal to Depart Release
Participants wishing to remain on site following cancellation must sign a refusal-to-depart release form. All credits earned following the cancellation of the program will NOT be transferred back for application to the Smith transcript.
Policy on Short-Term Travel
This policy has been created to provide guidelines with links to procedures and resources for student, faculty or staff organizers relevant to planning and coordinating all short-term student travel abroad. All short-term student travel abroad, whether the student is in the company of Smith College faculty or staff or not, which is funded by the College, or for which the student receives academic credit, or which is arranged by the College, will be subject to this and other related college policies or procedures.
In an effort to organize and address international travel that includes students, Smith College requires that student travelers, group leaders, trip sponsors, advisers and staff making travel arrangements for student travel follow these guidelines. The College may withdraw funding or academic credit for trips that do not adhere to these guidelines. The policy is jointly administered by the Office of the Provost and the Office of the Dean of the College.
Scope of Policy
This policy applies to all college-sponsored travel outside of the United States that is NOT part of an approved semester or yearlong study abroad program. This policy is required for international students traveling to their home country ONLY if they are traveling with a Smith College group.
College-sponsored travel includes the following:
- Travel funded by the college, whether in whole or in part
- Travel that is preapproved for academic credit
- All other travel that is arranged by the College, including official trips made by recognized student groups
This policy applies to all student travel abroad that is funded by the College, whether in whole or in part; all travel that results in academic credit; all travel that is arranged by the College; and all official trips made by recognized student groups.
- Athletic team travel
- Student clubs and organizations
- Field trips, voluntary or mandatory, during term time, fall or spring break or interterm
- Independent research
- Community service
- Internships (Praxis or college-funded)
- Class-related travel
- Grant-funded travel
- Academic study for credit (not including semester or year study abroad which is overseen by the Office for International Study)
- Other travel (e.g., first-year interterm trips)
Travel Not Covered by this Policy
- Travel for study abroad programs approved or managed by the Office for International Study (Smith Programs Abroad, approved semester or yearlong study abroad programs) as these have their own standing policies and procedures.
- Travel which is not funded by the College or travel for which no academic credit is given or arranged for in advance of the travel, or travel for which the College has not made any arrangements.
- Travel made by individual students for their own pleasure or convenience, whether or not the student has been advised to undertake such travel by a Smith College employee(s) and the travel is not funded by the College nor does it carry academic credit nor has it been arranged by the College.
- Travel made by groups of students that are not recognized college organizations, for their own pleasure or convenience, whether or not the students have been advised to undertake such travel by a Smith College employee(s) and the travel is not funded by the college nor does it carry academic credit nor has it been arranged by the College.
- Travel made by student groups that are not recognized College organizations.
Roles and Responsibilities of Group Leaders and/or the College
All group leaders, whether the leader is a College employee or a Smith student, are responsible for following the guidelines for group leaders and submitting the Group Leader Planning Checklist and Travel Documentation.
Guidelines for Students
Whether students are traveling as part of a group or independently, as they plan their application for study, work, internship, research, travel, or other college-sponsored or college-approved activities abroad, they should carefully research political situations, living conditions, and any health and safety considerations before deciding where to apply or to travel.
Individual travelers must complete the Individual Traveler Planning Checklist and Travel Documentation.
Students who travel on programs that the College has not sponsored assume all responsibility for investigating those programs.
If any hazardous activities are included in the trip (e.g., scuba diving, climbing active volcanoes) or if the trip itself is inherently dangerous or in a dangerous location, (e.g., within the Arctic Circle, Antarctica, war zone or areas covered by US State Department travel warnings) the group leader needs to consult with the provost's office and Five College Risk Management Office at the earliest planning stages of the trip.
Trip participants must follow the procedures and comply with the requirements of all departments that provide funding and/or academic credit for the trip (e.g., if a student is doing research using human subjects, even if it only involves interviews, the student must obtain approval from the appropriate Smith College IRB for their work prior to the travel/research). All funding and/or academic credit must be approved before any travel occurs.
A signed Travel Waiver (PDF) is required of all students whose international travel is covered by this policy. Submit the signed waiver to the office coordinating your funding, your supervisor, your trip advisor, the Associate Provost's office or the Dean of Students office.
In advance of the trip, the College agrees with the student that upon successful completion of the academic work, and pending assessment by the Registrar's Office, the student will be given credit for the work. This does not apply to any work for which credit is requested after the work and travel is completed, e.g., independent, unfunded research which may be used for later support of credit work.
Mandatory field trip (travel required as part of course work)
The College arranges or organizes the itinerary, accommodations, or other aspects of the trip but does not provide any funding or offer credit (e.g., a community service trip, club trip). Also, a student/s accompanies a staff member or faculty member even though the College does not fund the travel or provide academic credit.
A college employee (faculty or staff) recommends a particular place for specific activity, whether for academic purposes or not, but there is no funding or academic credit for the student following the advisor's recommendation.
The Trustees of The Smith College, its present and former trustees, officers, employees, agents and assigns.
Crisis Response Plan
A plan that is designed to assist the traveler or group leader to respond to a crisis of a personal nature, in contrast to local, regional or world events. This includes such events as illness, injury, the requirement for a participant to cut the trip short to return home (e.g., death in the family).
Emergency Response Plan
Emergency Response is defined as responding to external circumstances that could impact the safety of the trip or program participants, restrict their travel plans, or similar conditions. Examples include strikes or terrorist events that cause a shut-down of international airports, outbreak of war or severe political strife in the country the trip is in, a change in the warning status from the US State Department. An Emergency Response Plan is designed to assist the traveler or group leader in responding to local, regional or world events, such as:
- local or regional pandemic
- terrorist attacks
- shutdown of international air travel at a critical time for the group or traveler
- loss of access to funds
The College gives the student or the group leader money to defray costs of travel, accommodations, meals, conference or similar fees, stipends or any other money associated with the trip, its registration, purpose or activities.
The person or persons who are leading the trip, including organizing travel logistics, arranging funding, or who have significant trip support functions. Group leaders may be College employees (faculty or staff) or student leaders. Some trips may be "led" by contracted parties, but many of the College responsibilities will still reside with a College staff or faculty member.
Recognized Student Organization
A student organization which has fulfilled the requirements of the College for recognition, and is listed with the Office of the Dean of the Students as an active, recognized student organization.
Listed on the travel preparations are Web sites that provide country- and region-specific information about health and safety. Students who are not U.S. citizens should also consult the relevant government agency of their home country, as travel advice may vary according to the citizenship or residence of the traveler. The traveler may also want to talk with faculty and other advisers familiar with the places which you are planning to travel, read national and local newspapers, guidebooks on the country, investigate web sites, or look into other resources for information. Staff or faculty can also help the traveler gather and evaluate information, but the final decision about whether and where to go is, of course, the student's own.
Emergency Contact Information
Local emergency numbers
It is your responsibility to determine what local numbers to call in case of an emergency. It is recommended that you also have an in-country contact who can assist you in an emergency.
For emergency medical information, evacuation or repatriation
- 1-877-244-6871 (from U.S. & Canada)
- 1-715-346-0859 (overseas collect)
- Policy holder: Five Colleges, Incorporated
- Policy number: GTP 9144090
If applicable, contact your program or host organization.
Call Campus Police 413-585-2490. They will contact the appropriate department.
U.S. Department of State*
For major crises only.
- 1-202-501-4444 (from overseas)
*If you are not a U.S. citizen, contact the consulate or embassy of your country of citizenship.
Smith College Travel Registry
Smith College Travel Registry