Student Life


International Students succeed at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College because:

At Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College, students are invited to express personal opinions, ask questions, and interact informally and frequently with the professor and other students. This activity is believed to contribute positively to the learning process. In most classes, a portion of the grade may be based on participation in these activities. Class attendance is critical and tests and assignments are frequently given through the semester.

Your courses will include those you are required to take and some electives that you will be able to choose with the assistance of your Academic Advisor. The elective courses available to you will vary each semester. They may include interesting choices such as French, Spanish, Theatre, Horseback Riding, to name a few.

ESL Courses

International students continue their study of the English language by enrolling in EN 113 “English Composition for International Students”. This course provides the student with experiences to improve grammatical skills “as needed”. Students learn about current events in American life, write compositions and learn to express opinions on a variety of issues. In EN 153, “English Conversation for International Students”, students continue to improve their English language skills with emphasis placed on listening and speaking activities. Students perfect their pronunciation and appropriate usage of idiomatic and culture-specific expressions through access to a variety of texts.

Activities and Traditions

Because SMWC is a small college, international students have many opportunities to become friends with American students and students from other countries as well. These introductions come through residence hall activities, interactions in the classroom, and participation in clubs and campus programs. Terre Haute is also home to two other universities. These schools are co-educational and have international students who share social activities and programs with The Woods. Fraternity parties, ethnic parties and dances, as well as international club activities include students from all three universities. Diversity Week at SMWC celebrates many aspects of diversity and international students are encouraged to participate.

World Wide Woodsies

There are many campus clubs that you may join according to your individual interests. However, World Wide Woodsies will extend a special invitation just for you. This campus club is composed of domestic students (many of whom have studied or traveled abroad themselves) and international students, as well as some faculty and staff. They have, as their goal, to promote domestic and global understanding by recognizing, appreciating, and showcasing the importance and value of diversity. They participate in activities with students from two other larger universities in Terre Haute and plan cultural activities for themselves both on and off our campus. You should consider joining this active, interesting and diverse group of students, which will open doors for you and give you an opportunity to enjoy the larger community.

The International Student Ring

In a formal ceremony the president of Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College awards a sterling silver ring to students from other countries who study at The Woods and to our domestic students who study abroad. The international ring was designed especially for this purpose with etchings to represent The Woods and the world. Students are very proud to accept and wear the ring and to return to their home country knowing they have this ring as a visible reminder of The Woods, their new friends, and the many challenges, both academic and personal, that they have conquered in their time of study in another culture.

Safety and Security


Our campus offers a safe environment where students can be comfortable walking alone or with friends, day or night. To date, we have not had any crimes committed that manifest evidence of prejudice based on race, religion, sexual orientation or ethnicity and we have never experienced any crimes of a violent nature.

The Security Department is responsible for establishing and maintaining a safe and secure environment on campus for the Saint Mary-of-the-Woods Community. The security staff is on duty 24 hours a day, each day of the year. All security officers are uniformed, and while not armed, they are in radio contact with the other officers at all times. Our security staff is also personal and approachable for students as well. Should assistance be required, security is also in contact with the Vigo County Sheriff’s Department and the Indiana State Police. All security officers are trained in basic first aid and CPR procedures. All members of the college community are also encouraged to enroll in a free email and text messaging emergency notification system.

Residence Hall Support System

The Residence Assistant Staff (commonly called “RA” staff) are trained campus life undergraduate students that live throughout the Residence Hall. Through them, each student always has access to a trained professional adult's help 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. International students have a peer resource and leader who is called the international student assistant. This student assists in the planning of international orientation, communicates important information throughout the year, hosts events for the students and to help their transition to a new country be more fluid.  This support network is enhanced by the assistance of trained staff members, Resident Community Advisors (RCA), who live on-campus.

The Office of Campus Life is the best resource for international students once they arrive at Saint Mary-of-the-Woods College. If an internatinal student has concern about living on campus, a medical issue, an idea for an event, or a general question, they are here to assist. Additionally, the Dean of Students and the Vice President for Student Life are available if the need arises.