SAI Study Abroad - Inspiring Creativity

SAI Programs

Why choose SAI Programs?

Since 1995, SAI has provided students with exceptional cultural and educational experiences abroad, offering the opportunity to enroll in some of the finest schools available to English speaking students in Europe. SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. By encouraging students to explore the complex intersections between self, community, and creativity, SAI aims to provide an inspiring and transformative experience. All of SAI’s services, in the U.S. and overseas, are geared toward ensuring student safety and maximizing the student experience; both in terms of providing a framework for academic inquiry, and offering each student opportunities for personal growth and development.


Ethical Impact

SAI conducts its programs in an ethical manner in accordance with the best practices in the field of study abroad. SAI acts within the best interest of students, institutions, and partner institutions abroad. SAI maintains open communication with all stakeholders as well as respect to privacy of student data, institutional policies and procedures, and local laws and cultural practices.


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Yes, I recommend this program

Viva l'Italia!

There aren't enough words in the dictionary to describe how good of an experience I had during my year abroad with SAI. I totally stepped out of my comfort zone, met so many new people, and had a lot of time for self reflection. It sounds like a cliche, but I very much felt like the amount of growth and evolution I saw during my time abroad was unlike any other time in my life. SAI provided a lot of opportunities to me through group outings and activities, and they were by my side when I was navigating the Italian healthcare system. I loved my apartment and location—right on the Arno—and I felt super safe in Florence.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
When opportunities come your way, say yes!
  • Independence
  • Lots of good food
  • Friendly locals
  • Florence felt a little small at times, good to do weekend trips to explore the continent!
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Yes, I recommend this program

Best 4 months of my life!!

To put it simply: studying abroad changed my life. The thought of going abroad for the first time can be really scary and intimidating but I promise you it will be worth it. I learned how to appreciate the small moments, connect with the local community, and most importantly I gained a better understanding of who I was as an individual. Studying abroad truly changed my perspective and I am so grateful to have had the opportunity to call Florence my home. Through it all SAI remained a helping hand and the moments and memories made in Florence will be cherished forever.

  • Food
  • Fun
  • Friends
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Yes, I recommend this program

Amazing first international experience!

This was my first international experience. Once my plane landed at CDG, SAI was there every step of the way to help me adjust into my new home! I was initially really worried about learning RATP (public transport) but it was a piece of cake. The metro and buses helped to develop my independence and encourage me to discover different parts of the city. SAI also offered some great VIVA experiences like Fontainebleau (beautiful!!). There is no language requirement but I was able to use some of the French I had learned over the years with neighbors, employees, and a friend at the local boulangerie! Can't wait to go back to Paris someday.

  • VIVA Experiences
  • Amazing apartment locations
  • Immersion
Read my full story
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Yes, I recommend this program

SAI Barcelona

Studying abroad with SAI was the best experience of my life. I learned about SAI through a friend, and I will definitely be recommending it to everyone. The on site program coordinators Sandrine and Elena were very welcoming and helpful from my arrival in Barcelona until my departure. Every activity they had planned for us was very well planned and executed. They work hard to get to know all of their students and they deeply care for each student. The housing they provide was in a great location and was very nice. I am so glad I chose to study abroad with SAI!

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Yes, I recommend this program

Summer 2023 SAI Rome

I highly recommend choosing a program like SAI for your study abroad experience because it offers you much more flexibility and opportunity for free time unlike university sponsored trips. I was able to travel to different cities around Italy whenever I wanted by simply taking the train after class. We also had very free weekends to do anything we wanted, like travel to other countries (I went to 4 others in only 5 weeks!). My experience was even greater than I expected because SAI helped make everything go so smoothly and I was never stressed out about anything. They also had plenty of activities for us to get to know each other before classes started which helped with making friends and getting familiar with the city in general a ton. They take care of your transcript forms at the end and everything too! I can’t recommend them enough!

  • Very organized and smooth transitions
  • Great introduction activities to get to know the area and people in your program
  • Extremely local location for university and housing (non-touristy)


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Alumni Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with verified alumni.

Kiersten Beh

Kiersten is an Illustration student at Rochester Institute of Technology. During the summer of 2023, she studied abroad at Paris College of Art with SAI Programs.
Kiersten Beh


Why did you choose this program?

I chose this program for a multitude of reasons. I knew that I wanted to study abroad in the summertime to give myself more flexibility. As an art student, I really liked the idea of experimenting with different mediums. PCA offers a variety of courses in different art disciplines. I also wanted to practice my French with native speakers (there is no language requirement for this program!).

Some other factors were exploration and independence. This was my first overseas experience!

What did your program provider (or university) assist you with, and what did you have to organize on your own?

SAI assisted me with a multitude of things. I had a few questions while completing my application and I received timely responses from my SAI admissions counselor and other staff. The program organized a few pre-departure info sessions from staff and alumni. It was cool learning about all of the different experiences. When I arrived in Paris, SAI had already prepared my NaviGo (metro card), living arrangement, and orientation program. They also organized the VIVA Experiences.

My home school helped me find the program that best fit me. They also helped me transfer credits after my study abroad term.

Some things I had to organize myself included airfare, groceries, budgeting for personal expenses, and ordering European currency. Although I chose to fly by myself, SAI does work with a travel agency to arrange possible group flights. I was responsible for buying food and meals for myself. There a lot of grocery stores in Paris and even more yummy restaurants nearby! I also made sure to set aside money for personal expenses like souvenirs and toiletries.

Another big thing to consider before studying abroad is your phone plan. You NEED to have a working cell phone while abroad. There are a few options for this. Some travelers choose to buy an eSIM card or a European sim card. I contacted my provider and paid for a month-long international phone plan.

What is one piece of advice you'd give to someone going on your program?

One crucial piece of advice I’d like to share is find places you want to visit immediately! Before I left for Paris, I jotted down museums, restaurants, shops, and sites I wanted to see/experience. After school, on the weekends, holidays, downtime, etc. I would pull out my list and pick a place to visit. And I recommend inviting a friend to tag along! This came in handy when the last few days of my program creeped up on me.

What does an average day/week look like as a participant of this program?

A day/week in my life in Paris looked a little like this. On my way to the métro station, I’d grab breakfast at the local boulangerie (bakery). My commute to PCA was about 45 minutes by métro so I usually listened to music or did some journaling to pass the time.

Class at PCA starts at 9am and ends around 5pm. This gave me a lot of time to learn, practice, experiment, visit museums, and take breaks. During lunchtime, my classmates and I would hang out on the steps of Saint-Vincent-de-Paul, a church down the street from school.

On weekends and some weekdays, SAI offers VIVA Experiences. These included trips to Château de Fontainebleau, the Rodin Museum, apéro (appetizers) at Plage Seine, etc. There was never a dull moment during this study abroad experience!

Going into your experience abroad, what was your biggest fear, and how did you overcome it? How did your views on the issue change?

One of my biggest fears before my time in Paris was public transportation. Back in the States, I didn’t use public transportation that much. The local systems I had used were very confusing at times.

I had to quickly overcome my fear of RATP because it was essential for commuting to school, visiting new places, and gaining independence. During my SAI Orientation, the Paris office helped us navigate a métro line and gave more information about the types of transportation, routes, and closures.

After the first few days of using RATP, I gained some more confidence. There are so many helpful apps like Apple Maps, Bonjour RATP, Citymapper, and Google Maps that can create public transportation routes. But by the second week, I was able to find my way home without GPS. And by the end of my program, I was navigating the city like a pro! Overall, public transportation gave me independence and more reasons to explore Paris.

What were your top 3 most memorable experiences in Paris?

That’s a tough question! If I had to choose, these would be my top 3:

1. Swimming in the Canal Saint-Martin. The Seine that divides Paris has some man-made canals that shoot off of the main river. The Canal Saint-Martin recently opened a few swimming pools for public use pour gratis (free)! This facility is tested and cleaned regularly. This was a great way to cool off and spend some time with friends.

2. Concert at Salle Pleyel. Towards the end of my program, I went to see Men I Trust perform at Salle Pleyel near l’Arc de Triomphe. They’re a French-Canadian band with a large following online. It was a great atmosphere and amazing performance.

3. Watching the Bastille Day fireworks. During Bastille Day, my friends and I wanted to experience the festivities and celebrations. Bastille Day (July 14th) is the French Independence Day. The holiday commemorates the Storming of the Bastille to free innocent prisoners. In the evening, we watched the firework display near the Eiffel Tower. It was so cool to see everyone come together.

Staff Interviews

These are in-depth Q&A sessions with program leaders.

Anna Smith

Job Title
Admissions Counselor
Anna grew up in wine country, California. During her studies at UC Davis, she interned abroad in Nicaragua and Malaysia, then studied abroad in Copenhagen, Denmark.

Anna found her home at SAI about a year ago and has been working in Admissions ever since.
Anna Smith

What is your favorite travel memory?

I was traveling solo through Spain, Malta, and Italy after I completed a semester abroad in Denmark. While in Bergamo, Italy, I became aware that I had forgotten to print my final plane ticket. Since I was traveling with a budget airline, I had to have it printed before arriving at the airport, or else I’d be, charged 50 euro (which I definitely did not have!).

I spent an entire day on the hunt for a public printer, armed with sheer determination and nearly non-existent language skills. Each person I encountered got me a little closer to my goal and I eventually end up at a public university in Citta Alta. I technically wasn’t allowed to print there without a school ID, but a kind student overheard my troubles and offered to use their ID to get me onto a computer.

The experience was nerve-wracking and frustrating while it was happening, but the end result and my later reflection have reinforced one of the key lessons from my travels: that humans are inherently good and most will help each other, given the opportunity.

How have you changed/grown since working for your current company?

SAI has allowed me to sharpen my skills across so many disciplines! From communication to data analysis, I’ve had the great pleasure of interacting with many facets of the company.

I’ve also learned a great deal about the study abroad industry. Coming from a “volunteer abroad” background, I really didn’t know much about study abroad outside of my personal experience. I feel so privileged to be learning from my fabulous colleagues at SAI in an environment that fosters growth.

What is the best story you've heard from a return student?

I’ve heard this story a couple of times and I feel so excited each time I do: students that feel so connected to their host city, and loved their academic experiences so much that they decide to return to their host school for their masters.

It’s not for everyone, but it feels wonderful to have been a part of that student’s journey in finding their place in the world. If they had never studied abroad, they wouldn’t have known!

If you could go on any program that your company offers, which one would you choose and why?

That’s so difficult – I want to do them all!

If I had to choose one, it would be our program at Sant’Anna Institute in Sorrento. The town itself is gorgeous and the historic campus building has been recently renovated, giving students a mix of traditional and modern.

The courses at Sant’Anna Institute are filled with field learning – what other marine bio class takes you snorkeling in the Mediterranean? They firmly believe in learning by doing, which sounds much better than sitting in the lecture hall!

The other draw to Sorrento, for me, is their credit-bearing internship program. When I was in school, I was constantly looking for internship opportunities to gain real, professional experience, and I would have loved to find one that also offers academic credit. It’s a really great way to accomplish two goals at once!

What makes your company unique? When were you especially proud of your team?

Our team is unique in that we are small but mighty! Each person goes above and beyond in their role to make sure we are able to deliver the best possible experiences to our students. It makes our jobs so much easier knowing that everyone is working towards the good of the whole.

The genuine care from our staff easily translates into our interactions with students – they know that we are here for them and their families every step of the way! I feel especially proud anytime we receive positive feedback, whether it is flowers, a card, or just a kind email.

What do you believe to be the biggest factor in being a successful company?

I believe SAI is successful because we are intentional in our programs. We carefully select our locations and partner schools, allowing us to become fluent in all aspects of our programs.

Each program has a specific Admissions Counselor that intimately understands the ins and outs of their program. This helps so much when speaking with students and parents, as we are all “experts” in our own areas.

Professional Associations

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