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International Experience Opportunities

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International Experience Grants

The Office for International Study oversees the award of Smith College International Experience Grants (IEGs). These grants provide partial funding toward international projects during J-Term or the summer which deepen a student’s academic engagement. Priority funding will be granted to applications which fit within the project categories outlined below. Applications for awards of between $250 and $3,500 will be considered. The average award amount is approximately $1,000. Students are expected to apply for additional funding and/or plan to bear a portion of the cost themselves.


Prior to selecting a program, students interested in pursuing service learning opportunities abroad are advised to consult the website of the International Volunteer Programs Association, paying special attendance to the "Why Standards" and "Volunteer Stories" links. It is especially important to consider issues related to program quality, ethics, and safety when participating in international volunteer programs.

Application Deadlines

For J-Term proposals: 3rd Monday in October 2016
For summer proposals: 2nd Monday in March 2017


To be eligible for funding, students must meet the following criteria:

  • Be a Smith undergraduate in good academic standing.
  • The proposed activity must be completed before graduation and may not conflict with the academic year.
  • The proposed activity must not be part of a semester or year-long study abroad program and must not take place in your country of residence.
  • The proposed activity must not take place in a country that is under a U.S. State Department travel warning. (Some exceptions may be made on a case-by-case basis). If the student is proposing an activity in a country with a Travel Warning, students will be required to consult with the Dean or Assistant Dean for International Study and the student will have to complete an Acknowledgment of Risk & Release Form.)
  • The proposed activity must not be politically or religiously related (contact the dean of religious life in the chapel about religious activities).
  • If the proposal includes a research component and the proposed research involves human subjects you may additionally be required by federal law to gain approval from a formally convened Institutional Review Board (IRB). This process can take up to four-to-five weeks. Students must still submit their IEG application by the posted deadline even if IRB approval is pending. If the student intends to interview or study people for their research project, please visit the Smith College Institutional Review Board Approval for more information or contact Professor Nnamdi Pole. If you have any questions about the IRB application process, contact Johanna Ravenhurst at irb@smith.edu.

Note: Some college funds (including Praxis and the Tomlinson Fund) may have restrictions about combining funding sources. Students should familiarize themselves with the criteria of each fund to which they apply.

International Students

International students must consult with the International Students and Scholars Office regarding their visa clearance to travel abroad and return to the United States.

A federally mandated withholding tax of 14 percent may be applied to grants awarded directly to international students at the time the funds are disbursed by the Controller's Office. International students may consult with the Controller's Office or the International Students and Scholars Office to determine if this tax will be withheld and to learn how the these funds may be returned to the student when the student files taxes.

Funding Criteria

Project Categories

Proposals will be accepted in the following categories:

  • Intensive language study and proficiency with a preference for language study beyond the novice level
  • Practical experiences related to Concentrations, degree requirements, and/or Smith-approved study abroad programs
  • Smith College faculty-led programs (including Global FLEX, and other similar opportunities)
  • Independent research projects linked to your academic area of interest and supported by a faculty mentor


Evaluation of Proposals

Proposals will be evaluated based on adherence to the following criteria:

  • Proposal clearly articulates how the proposed activity will enhance your academic course of study.
  • Proposed project/activity is of significant length (three weeks during J-Term or six to eight weeks during the summer).
  • Strength of your faculty recommendation letter. Letters will only be accepted from Smith faculty serving as your major adviser or a professor linked to your topic of interest.
  • Determination of final funding amount will be based in part on the level of your financial need as determined by Student Financial Services.

How to Apply

To apply for an IEG complete the application in Smith International Travel Experiences System (SITES).
  • This application includes a budget worksheet, a one-page statement outlining the proposed activity, a transcript copy printed from Banner, and a resume which demonstrates preparedness for the program/project.
  • If the proposed activity is not a Smith faculty-led program, the application must also include a pamphlet or website description of the program/project with dates, cost, and local emergency contact information as well as a recommendation from a faculty member that indicates why this program fits the student's academic interests.
  • Any questions about the IEG application may be directed to studyabroad@smith.edu.

Preparing a Budget

Use the Budget Worksheet (XLS) as a template to prepare a budget and calculate the amount of funding to request.

  1. Expenses: Expenses include international travel, local transportation, room and board, major incidentals required for you to participate in the project and reasonable daily living costs. Study may include books; research may include photocopying, library fees, archival access fees; travel may include visas, vaccinations or a first aid kit.
  2. Resources: Resources include the income and contributions that the student can dedicate specifically to the project. These may include personal savings, a family contribution, frequent flyer miles, free housing or meals or another grant.
  3. Funding Request: The student's funding request will be the amount needed after subtracting projected expenses from the total resources. Students should be conservative, since most funding is limited. Funding committees will appreciate careful, practical and conservative funding requests.

Required Expense Reports

The college requires that students document that they spent their grant funds for the purpose for which they were awarded. To do this, send the completed IEG Expense Report Form (DOC) and scanned copies of receipts (for at least the amount of your award) to the Office for International Study via e-mail within one week of returning to campus.

Failure to do so will result in your student account being charged for the amount of your award. Any unspent funds must be returned to the Office for International Study.

Required Thank-You Letters

Thank-you letters should be addressed to the stewards of the fund from which your award was made (e.g., "Dear Stewards of the Wilder Fund...") and should contain the following information:

  • Descriptive detail about the international experience
  • Why the student chose Smith
  • Student's academic interests, major and career aspirations
  • Where the student is from and which house they live in
  • Warm thanks for the generosity provided
  • Student e-mail address
  • A photo of the student abroad, saved as a jpg file

Thank-you letters should not mention the dollar amount received.

Upon return, send the thank-you letter (as a Word document) and photo to the Office for International Study via e-mail. Be sure to include your name, class year and the name of the fund from which you received an award in your e-mail and in your thank-you letter.