Parents Q&A

Below please find some of our most frequently asked questions (FAQs) from parents and answers. If your question isn’t answered please contact us.

General SAI

Who can study abroad with SAI? Can my high school student attend an SAI program?

Anyone! We have programs for English-speaking students at the high school, undergraduate, graduate, and career and professional levels. Each program has specific eligibility requirements, including age, GPA, language competency, or academic year.

How many students attend SAI programs?

Our programs range in size a great deal from ten to hundreds. Our numbers depend on the popularity of a city, the requirements of a program, or maximum numbers. Our Admissions Counselors will be happy to provide details for a specific program.

What is included in an SAI program?

SAI offers two service models: 360° Services and Select Services. 360° Services represent most of our programs, with Select Services included in Master’s and professional-level programs.

360° Services generally include tuition, housing, excursions, on-site support including 24 hour emergency phone, health insurance, cell phone, onsite orientation; and SAI guidance through admissions, registration, pre-departure services and re-entry.

Select Services generally include tuition, onsite orientation, health insurance; and SAI guidance through admissions, registration and pre-departure services.

How should my student arrange travel to / from the SAI program?

While each student is responsible for his or her own travel arrangements, SAI has partnered with Waldorf Travel, a specialized travel agency providing SAI students the lowest available student-priced airline tickets. For information please see Passport, Visa & Travel.

What days & times should my student arrange flights for?

Students receive details on arrival and departure dates and times after confirmation deposits are submitted. We recommend that students arrive on the SAI arrival date and within the airport pickup window, as this will make their transition into their program abroad simple. Students who arrive earlier will be responsible for their own transportation to the city center, and will have to arrange their own housing until they can move into SAI housing on SAI arrival day (if housing is included). Students must move out of their housing on the SAI departure day, but they are not required to immediately fly home. Students sometimes choose to do independent travel after the end of their SAI program.

Does SAI offer airport transfer?

All SAI 360° Services programs include airport pickup on SAI arrival day. Please take careful note of the airport pickup window, as students must arrive within that time to receive the complimentary pickup. Students who are unable to arrive during the airport pickup window will receive detailed information for how to get to their SAI housing upon arrival (if housing is included in their program). Airport drop-off at program end is not included, but our on-site staff will be happy to arrange it.

Does my student need a student visa to study abroad?

Many SAI programs require a visa; students should consult their program page for specific information on whether one is required for their program.

How can my student apply for a student visa?

We provide detailed instructions for visa applications after students have submitted their confirmation deposit. If you have any questions about your student’s visa application process, our Student Visas Director can be reached at Students who are not U.S. citizens should consult with their local consulate to determine their student visa requirements and procedures.

How long does a passport need to be valid to study abroad?

In general, students’ passports should be valid for at least 6 months after their study abroad program completion. For specific requirements see Passport, Visa & Travel.

Will I need a visa to visit my student?

U.S. citizens traveling to all SAI locations do not require a visa as long as the travel is shorter than 90 days. Non-U.S. citizens should consult with their local consulate to determine if any visa requirements are in place.

What support will my student receive on-site?

All SAI programs have SAI staff on-site available to assist students throughout their study abroad experience. On-site staff manage a rich calendar of activities, and provide academic advising and support to students. For more information see On-Site Support.

What health insurance is provided to my student?

SAI provides health insurance coverage to all SAI students for the duration of their study abroad program. Students are covered by CISI Cultural Insurance Services International. For more information see Health & Safety.

What if my student gets sick abroad?

If a student becomes ill abroad and needs medical attention, they can consult SAI on-site staff or the CISI website for a list of local English-speaking doctors that are covered by the health insurance policy. Students who visit a CISI-approved doctor will not have to pay for their visit out of pocket. Students who see another doctor can pay cash or credit and submit reimbursement paperwork to CISI. If a student feels they need additional support, SAI on-site staff is happy to accompany them to the doctor or hospital to provide translation and emotional support.

What are SAI’s safety & emergency procedures?

Student safety and security are of primary importance to SAI, and we have in place a robust set of procedures to ensure a quick and effective response to any emergency event. Please see Health & Safety for more information.

Who should I contact if I am concerned about my student’s wellbeing?

We encourage parents to begin by communicating directly with their student if they are concerned about their wellbeing. If parents are unable to reach their student, or feel that they need to speak with SAI about an issue, they are welcome to contact our U.S. office at 1-800-655-8965 during regular business hours (Pacific Time). If a parent has an after-hours true emergency that cannot wait for the U.S. office to open, they should contact SAI on-site staff via the emergency phone numbers listed in Health & Safety Alerts.

Can I visit my student abroad?

Parents are welcome to visit their students while they are abroad! We encourage parents to consider visiting in the latter half of their study abroad program, so that students have the chance to become accustomed to their program on their own. See Plan A Visit for more information.

How should my student handle money while abroad?

It’s important to speak with your student about money prior to their departure, and to agree on a general budget to set expectations for spending. Students should rely on several sources of money (ATM/debit card, credit card, cash) to cover expenses while abroad. This will ensure that if one means for accessing funds fails, there are other options. Also, the amount of money accessible through any one source may be subject to limitations, so a second source is helpful. If possible, students should consider upgrading to a card with a “chip”, as these are more widely accepted in Europe.

Can I mail items to my student abroad?

Receiving mail abroad is always exciting, and parents are encouraged to mail cards and letters to their students. Parents should note that packages can take a long time to arrive abroad, as they are often delayed at customs. We therefore discourage parents from sending care packages. If you would like to send one, please speak with your student about it, as they will have received information about what can and cannot be shipped to their host country.

How can I stay in touch with my student abroad? / Will my student have a cell phone?

We encourage parents to establish a communication plan with their students shortly after they have arrived in their host country and have become accustomed to their daily life. SAI student housing includes internet, so skype and facetime are often the best methods of communication. Additionally, we require that all students have a working cell phone while they are abroad on which they can be reached at any time. Students are assisted with obtaining a cell phone service upon arrival in their host country; alternatively, students can add an international plan to their home cell phone plan.

What are SAI’s housing arrangements like?

SAI housing is rooted in community, and our housing encourages students to build strong communities both with each other and locals. We do this by offering housing in neighborhoods among local residents, and providing ample community living space for housemates to spend time. SAI student housing is dispersed throughout host cities, and includes all the amenities to ensure a comfortable stay abroad, including kitchen, shared bathroom, study space, and shared bedrooms.

Are housing accommodations available for students with specific needs?

SAI will make every effort to accommodate housing requests for students with specific needs. Students are asked to speak with their Admissions Counselor as early as possible with any specific requests, as this may determine their housing assignment and location.

How can I submit SAI payment?

Payments to SAI can be submitted via personal check, debit or credit card, and wire transfer. For information on how to submit payment see Make a Payment.

How can my student withdraw from / cancel an SAI program? Will we be refunded?

Students can cancel their program prior to arrival in-country by filling out the SAI Cancellation & Deferment Request form. Please take note of our Cancellation Policy regarding liability.

When is the refundable security deposit (if applicable) mailed out?

Security deposit refund checks are mailed to students’ permanent addresses within 90 days of program completion, provided there are no damages and that all accounts are settled.

Does SAI offer tuition / travel insurance?

SAI does not offer tuition or travel insurance, but students are encouraged to consider insuring their study abroad program. Many organizations offer such insurance, including Education Insurance Plans – Insure My Trip, and Travel Insured International.

Can my student use federal or institutional financial aid toward an SAI program?

Most students are able to use their financial aid toward their SAI program abroad. Students should consult with their home school financial aid office to confirm that this is true for them, and to fill out all required paperwork. Students who will be utilizing their financial aid toward their SAI program have the option of deferring payment to SAI until their funds are disbursed. These students must fill out SAI’s Financial Aid Verification Forms by the deadline. For more information see Financial Aid.

What is the timeline for paying with financial aid?

Students who wish to defer their SAI program fee payment until their financial aid is disbursed receive a revised payment timeline from SAI after they have submitted their SAI Financial Aid Verification Forms. The payment deadlines are determined by the dates of each student’s financial aid disbursement.

What if financial aid funds are disbursed after the SAI program begins?

In many cases, financial aid funds are disbursed once students have already arrived in their host city. In these cases, students must make arrangements with a parent or guardian at home to ensure that SAI payment deadlines are met.

How are SAI scholarship awards disbursed?

SAI scholarship awards are awarded in the form of credit toward the recipient’s SAI account. If the recipient’s account is paid in full, a check is mailed to the recipient’s permanent address within 30 days.