SAI Programs - Inspiring Creativity

SAI Programs

About

Since 1995, SAI Programs 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.

Founded
1995
Headquarters

7160 Keating Ave
Sebastopol, CA 95472
United States

Reviews

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Brianna
9/10
Yes, I recommend this program

I learned so much during my time abroad. I had the ability to travel a LOT which was incredible, I learned so much about other countries and was able to do it with amazing friends. I had so much fun with everyone I met and being in a program helped me significantly when it came to simple questions to questions about visas and passports. An awesome thing about SAI is we had so many awesome excursions we were able to do including cooking classes, tours, etc. I loved my experience and would do it again in a heartbeat. There were a bunch of very funny experiences as well, relating to traveling and friends. One piece of advice is to check twice, buy once. We had so many mess-ups with traveling which at the time sucked but looking back is pretty funny. I would say if I have any recommendation, say yes, say yes to exploring the city, take the time to really get to know your home city and know that once you get home you'll want to be back.

If you did this all over again, what's one thing you would change?
I would learn the language before I went. It was hard to make connections with locals because I didn't speak Italian and I really wish I would have.
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Kate
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Choosing to Study Abroad was the best decision I have made, and I am so happy I chose to do it through SAI. Everyone that works for SAI programs goes above and beyond for their students and makes sure that we have all the resources we need to make our experience amazing. From day one, before we even leave the country, they are there to help with any kind of problem we may have. The SAI program is a great little community that I loved being a part of. The program works only to enhance your experience, and it did just that for me. Although they are always there to help, they encourage us to have a lot of independence which gives students the courage to travel and discover new things on our own. They hope for us to not only succeed academically, but to succeed in growing as person and gaining the best cultural experience.

What is your advice to future travelers on this program?
Take advantage of the free trips the program offers
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Marissa
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

My experience in Florence with SAI Programs was truly priceless. The program gave me the perfect blend of independence and support that I was looking for. I had plenty of opportunities to immerse in the local culture, and to travel often. The academic life was unique in that it was based on experiential learning and hands-on activities. My classes were academically enriching, but not necessarily rigorous, so I had plenty of time outside of my course work to do what I went abroad to do: explore and experience.

The SAI on-site staff were an invaluable asset to my time abroad, and my experience would not have been half as seamless without them helping handle logistics all along the way.

I would go back to Italy and this program in a heartbeat!

What was your funniest moment?
One day I learned firsthand about the importance of the Italian leather tradition. I was wearing these cheap rubber rain boots (like really cheap) and I walked into one of the many leather shoe stores in Florence, just to look around on my way home. The older gentleman running the storefront picks up a shoe from the display to show me. Then takes one glance at my feet and immediately swats me with the leather loafer that he’s been holding, while scolding me for what I'm wearing.
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Mariana
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

SAI made it very easy for me to transition to life in Rome. They relieved so much of the stress of applying for housing, getting health insurance, and getting a meal plan. I was able to focus on school and adjusting to a new culture. They had cooking classes for us to participate in. A native Roman taught us how to prepare local dishes and we were able to take home what we made! We also went on excursions as a group. This was a great way to meet other students that were also studying abroad. We visited places that were not easily accessible compared to major cities. I was able to visit the beautiful region of Umbria and tour Assisi. Overall, I had an amazing time and met so many new people abroad! Rome was a very safe city and had so much culture. I would definitely do it all over again!

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Noah
10/10
Yes, I recommend this program

Studying abroad through SAI was worth every penny and second of my time. I learned so much about myself and others through meeting people from all around the world. The friendships with other Americans who attend other universities are what I value the most from studying abroad. I still stay in touch with many of them and they will always hold a special place in my heart. The experiences I had in Italy were completely life changing and I feel that I have grown in so many positive ways. I feel so comfortable being independent and going new places completely alone because of this experience. I has shown me that no matter where I end up living post graduation, I will be able to not only make do, but make the most of everywhere I go. SAI has changed my life for the better.

What would you improve about this program?
I would not change anything about this program. They took care of us so well and I can't imagine wanting to change anything I experienced.

Programs

Displaying 19 - 22 of 22

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.

Jennifer Wright

Job Title
Paris Program Coordinator
Jennifer Wright, M.A. in International Relations & Diplomacy, is the Paris Program Coordinator and has been working with SAI programs for the past 4 years. She has more than 9 years of experience working in International Education - helping American undergraduate students transition to living in Paris and understanding French culture.

What is your favorite travel memory?

Definitely my top travel experience and the personal challenge was hiking Mt. Kilimanjaro in 2016. The 7-day high altitude hike tested my limits both physically and emotionally, and at the end filled me with such a feeling of accomplishment and recognition of how fortunate I was to be healthy and have the opportunity to travel to such incredible places such as Tanzania.

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

Working for SAI has allowed me to hone my skills at responding to the needs and expectations of students from all different kinds of backgrounds. Studying abroad not only in a new country, but also in a new language can be daunting for some, and exciting for others.

I've gotten better at understanding and meeting each individual student at their particular comfort level to help them assimilate and get the most out of their experience, no matter where they are at the start of the semester.

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

One of my former students was so heartsick at having to leave France at the end of the semester that, when he moved back to the States, he bought a French bulldog and named him Nicolas (nee-coh-lah). He even started an Instagram account where you can follow Nicolas' activities and French life in the U.S.

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

I would jump at the chance to join our Sicily program! In addition to being in such a beautiful location with access to the blue Mediterranean Sea, it would be great to hike Mount Etna, the highest active volcano in Europe.

Being in a smaller program site would allow for a more personable and genuine local experience.

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

SAI Programs is a small personalized organization with a focus on quality over quantity, as we've deliberately kept our program offering limited to three Mediterranean countries: Italy, France, and Spain. Providing quality programs and services across 8 cities while ensuring students have rewarding and unforgettable study abroad experiences is our end goal.

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

Being adaptable is absolutely necessary for being a successful company. If we were still using the same procedures and methods that we used when the company was founded 25 years ago, we would be severely out of date.

Technology has evolved, Millenials have replaced Generation Xers, and students today have somewhat different goals in mind when studying abroad. Being adaptable allows us to respond to the changing times and expectations of students today.

More Interviews

Professional Associations

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