SAI Study Abroad - Inspiring Creativity

SAI Programs

About

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.

Reviews

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Vittoria
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Worthwhile Experience

SAI was an amazing provider. They guided me through every step of the abroad process and provided me the resources I needed to succeed abroad. From picking us up from the airport to providing us with amazing apartments throughout Florence, SAI was AMAZING. Without them, study abroad wouldn't have been as impactful. They also set up experiences such as wine tastings and cooking classes for us to get more involved in the Italian Culture. I'm so grateful for the program and this experience. I could have never done it without SAI

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John
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Florence Italy - Summer A 2021

The 6 weeks I spent in Italy may have been the most enriching experience of my life. Whether it was the friendships, memories, beauty, culture, history, or the food. I left Italy with a big fat smile on my face. I would recommend going abroad through SAI to anyone and call me biased but I would suggest going abroad anywhere in Italy. I resided in Florence which was a great place to stay because it was close to most places you would want to travel to in Italy and the food rarely disappointed. Not to mention the nightlife never got old.

What was your funniest moment?
Being referred to as Harry Potter and the tourists by locals.
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Alexandra
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

A once in a lifetime experience!!

I normally don’t write reviews but my experience with SAI in Florence was so unbelievable I felt like I had to. I decided to sign up knowing I was going by myself and with only a little over a month till the start date. Between the sign ups, paperwork, etc. SAI made sure we had everything we needed to make the process smooth and the second I stepped out of the airport I was greeted by the program directors and other students in the program. My apartment was beautiful, in an amazing location, and I always felt extremely safe. Within the first few days I made the friends that I will probably have for the rest of my life. Daniela and the team make it known from the beginning that you can go to them for absolutely anything and it was so comforting to know that I had program mentors there for me. My course was so much fun and going to FUA was one of the highlights of my whole trip. I was there when covid restrictions were still in place and it couldn’t have been more perfect. If you’re second guessing signing up, here’s your sign to 100% go for it because it will be an experience you will never forget.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Travel anywhere you can!!! Some of my favorite memories with my friends were not only in Florence, but we’re in all the cities we visited in Italy. There were many instances where we felt stretched thin for time and funds to travel somewhere but ultimately decided to go and it was the most fun we had. Even the train rides were something I always looked forward to with everyone. I can promise you that you will regret down the road not going somewhere because of a 30 euro train ticket or a short time span.
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Morgan
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad in a pandemic!

Many people wouldn't choose to go abroad in a pandemic, but SAI makes it all worth it. I have no regrets about my choice and I wish I could do it all over again. This was my second time studying abroad with SAI and they never fail to make you feel comfortable, prepared, and excited. I was happy with my classes, living amenities, and location. It was truly an experience of a lifetime that wouldn't be possible without the amazing staff at SAI. I would highly recommend studying abroad and most importantly, studying abroad with SAI.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
I ate my first oyster and spit it right back out! Yuck!
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Stephanie
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Study abroad through SAI!

I was very satisfied with my decision to study abroad through SAI. They were always available and prompt in helping out or answering questions. Because of covid, my experience was very unique in that some experiences were limited or not offered, but even still, SAI did a fine job at offering fun activities. I wouldn't change my experience for the world. SAI also hosts a variety of students from different universities and countries which is awesome in providing full cultural exposure. Daniela, Luca, and Elizabeth were all very kind and friendly as well.

What was the most unfamiliar thing you ate?
The weirdest food I ate while abroad was beef tartare which is raw beef that was included in my aperitivo... definitely pushed me out of my comfort zone being that I'm usually a well-done type of meat eater haha.

Programs

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Alumni Interviews

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

Brianna Carter

Brianna Carter is a junior at Appalachian State University studying public relations and criminal justice. She enjoys traveling, photography, poetry, and anything and all things outdoorsy.

Why did you choose this program?

After my first trip abroad once I graduated high school, I knew I definitely wanted to study abroad. I love traveling and how it allows you to open your mind and experience new people and cultures. I get very restless in routines and for me, traveling is a way to escape the mundane and renew my mind, body, and soul. I chose SAI Programs because of all the extra services they provide.

It gave me great comfort, and also to my parents, knowing that there would be people in my host city to help me if I needed it, and to provide me with support. SAI also has excursions included in the program that allow you to experience more of the culture of your host city or country, that you may not be able to experience otherwise. The SAI staff is extremely helpful, kind, and caring, and they really do a great job making sure each student feels welcome and cared for.

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

My home university advisor was absolutely wonderful. He was willing to walk me through the entire process from filling out my applications, payment deadlines, acquiring my visa, and so on. I must have been in his office over 20 times, and probably e-mailed him more than that. He never acted frustrated with me and my hundreds of questions. He was always very understanding, patient, and always reassured my parents or myself of any concerns.

SAI Programs, as well, was very helpful. I also emailed them many times and talked to them on the phone, and they were very reassuring and willing to assist me with anything I needed. They frequently sent out emails of all of the information I needed to know, and kept me up to date with deadlines. I am forever grateful to my home university advisor and SAI Programs for helping make the study abroad process as smooth and stress-free as possible.

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

Before going abroad, I wish that someone had clued me in on how much traveling I was going to be doing. I wasn't expecting to be going to a different country every weekend prior to departure, and I was definitely not prepared financially. Even though traveling within Europe is a lot cheaper and easier than traveling in the US, it will still add up over time.

My advice would be that, if you are planning to study abroad, especially in Europe, set aside at least $3,000 for traveling expenses. Of course, traveling to different countries isn't something you have to do while abroad, but it is a great opportunity to take advantage of, and to make the most of your time.

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

An average day for me in Barcelona was taking the metro to go to class (which I grew to love: the public transportation system). After class, maybe going out with friends to explore the city; checking out the local markets, hanging out at the beach, or going for tapas or a cafe. Sometimes at night, we would go out to a local bar or club, and have a blast dancing and meeting new people.

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

My biggest fear was that I was going to be super homesick. Fortunately for me, I found that I am more adaptable than I originally thought, which I believe the SAI staff and the friends I made while abroad helped me discover. Of course I did miss my family and friends back home, but I found that you just have to keep yourself busy and also make sure to check with your family regularly. The good thing about Barcelona however, is there is always something to do and you will never be bored!

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.

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