FAQ – Parents
Are meal plans available for students?
All student accommodations are equipped with a kitchen and basic supplies. In general, students are encouraged to shop at the local markets and to prepare food at home with their apartment mates. Students tend to enjoy the market experience and cooking with all of the fresh foods.
SAI Florence offers a meal plan at Ganzo, a restaurant run by the Apicius students: http://www.saiflorence.com/services/mealplan.php. Prices for the various meal plans are available on request.
SAI Siena students are placed with families and will be provided 3 meals a day, seven days a week.
SAI Sorrento offers students the option of residing with a family. This option is offered as half board (breakfasts only) or full board (breakfasts and dinners). Students choosing to live in an SAI apartment will have a fully equipped kitchen at their disposal. In addition, students will receive several discounts using their SASL student ID at local restaurants.
SAI Rome/JCU students are welcome to join the JCU meal plan. JCU has arranged with local restaurants and cafés to provide meals Monday through Friday during the semester: http://www.sairome.com/services/mealplanJCU.html. Prices for the various meal plans are available on request.
SAI Rome/Italiaidea have the option of residing with a family and receiving one continental breakfast (Monday-Friday) and one complete meal per day (Monday-Thursday). Students choosing the SAI apartment option will have access to the shared kitchen.
SAI Milan does not have a formal meal plan. Although, NABA does have a cafeteria on campus and Domus has a popular cafe right across the street. Summer students enrolled in NABA course will receive one meal voucher each day they are in class. Vouchers can be redeemed at the NABA cafeteria.
SAI London has multiple campuses centrally located throughout London and each school has a cafeteria on campus. No meal plans are available. Students will have access to a kitchen in their student accommodations.
Are parents allowed to visit? Can SAI assist in arranging a visit?
Yes, you are welcome to visit! Please contact us for travel and hotel advice or click on Resources > Parents > Plan a Visit.
SAI and our Sonoma County culinary/wine school, VIVA, are excited to offer family members the opportunity to register for our two-week luxury food and wine tour of Tuscany and Sicily! For the first time we are offering a fantastic two-week trip (October 16 - 31, 2011) to Tuscany and Sicily, focusing on the food, wine and culture of both regions. This tour includes 4 star accommodations, 15 meals, flights between Florence and Sicily, and the chance of a lifetime for an intimate visit to small food producers, wineries, cheese makers and olive farms while learning Italian food culture and history along the way. Participants will experience hands on cooking and wine classes in both Tuscany and Sicily and will be accompanied on the tour by Douglas Kenning PhD, a long time resident of Sicily, trained historian and seasoned tour guide. For more information, please go to: http://www.saiprograms.com/viva/index.php/viva-tour/.
Parents visiting Florence, receive an 8-10% discount when reserving with our partner, Windows on Italy, for short term apartment rentals. They offer a range of accommodations from luxury villas to lovely centrally located apartments. In order to receive the SAI parent discount, you will need to email them instead of completing their online booking form. SAI also offers discount rates at a number of local hotels.
Are there accommodations for students with learning and/or physical difficulties?
SAI is dedicated to providing education abroad opportunities to students with learning or physical difficulties. If a student experiences any learning difficulties (e.g. dyslexia) which may interfere with his/her ability to pursue an academic course, and which he/she wishes to be taken into account, students should notify SAI during the application process. Although we may not be able to offer specialized instruction or resources, we can offer understanding and respect, and will do our best to replicate any assistance (extra time in tests, etc.) offered at the student's home institutions. Regarding physical difficulties, it is important to note that Italy’s infrastructure and ability to accommodate special needs differs from what is available in the US. Certain SAI program sites are better equipped to assist students with special needs than others. As this may be a factor in choosing which SAI program to attend, students should notify us of any special needs before applying.
Does SAI arrange airport pick up and drop off?
All SAI students studying in Italy (arriving at the designated airport for each program during the official check-in dates) will be met by an SAI representative who will coordinate shuttle transfer to the school for program check-in, apartment check-in and cell phone pick-up. After check-in, students and their baggage will be taken directly to their apartment. This service is included in the program cost. Airport drop off is not included but can be arranged.
Students studying in London during the semester will receive a complimentary airport pick-up.
Does SAI offer any programs for adults? Can parents “study abroad”?
Yes, SAI offers a number of short term programs in Italy for students of all ages and interests. For additional information, visit our adult programs page: http://www.saiprograms.com/adult-programs.
SAI offers courses in Food, Wine and Language, along with many options for short studies in Arts.
Beginning in 2011 SAI will offer two exciting Tours to Italy (10-14 days), each centered around a theme. In Fall 2011 we will offer a “Vendemmia” tour of Tuscany. Vendemmia is the grape picking season in Italy and we will include lectures and short courses, hands-on, in culinary and wine studies. The group will tour winemaking sites, participate in picking grapes, learn how olive oil, cheese and prosciutto are made. This tour includes 4-star hotel accommodations and experts in their field joining the group. Please contact our office, or look for details on our website under “Adult Programs”. In addition, our California Food and Wine Center, VIVA institute, offers a number of short term and weekend programs on Italian history, language, culture and cuisine. On request, VIVA also offers pre-departure weekend orientation programs in Sebastopol for students and parents throughout the year.
VIVA is located in Sebastopol, California, just 55 miles north of San Francisco in the heart of Sonoma County. 7160 Keating Avenue, Sebastopol, CA 95472 tel: 707.824.9913 or 800.655.8965 fax: 707.824.2285 www.saiprograms.com/VIVA firstname.lastname@example.org.
Does SAI offer excursions for students to explore in a group setting?
Each semester student participates in a 2 night, 3 day excursion (not applicable to students studying in London). Each of our programs offers excursions to different locations. In addition to the weekend excursion, SAI also offers several day trips included in the program cost.
Optional events and excursions of varying lengths are offered on each SAI program. Costs for these excursions generally range from $400-$800. Specific details for a given term can be found on the program’s website.
Does SAI offer extracurricular activities for students?
SAI Program Coordinators regularly organize social and cultural events for SAI students, including: events held in cooperation with local students, sporting events and participation in sports, cultural events, volunteer & community service opportunities.
Does SAI offer scholarships to participating students?
Yes! SAI offers a variety of scholarships each year based on need and merit. Please visit our scholarship page for additional details, eligibility requirements and the application. In addition, all SAI affiliate students receive the following special discounts: SAI provides a $300 discount to every semester affiliate student and $100 discount to every summer student enrolled in an SAI program. Affiliate students must be attending an SAI program included in their affiliation agreement in order to receive the discount.
How can I contact SAI?
SAI can be reached at the following offices, in the US and abroad:
SAI California Office (Main Office)
7160 Keating Avenue
Sebastopol, CA 95472
Tel: (+1) 707.824.8965
Toll Free: 800.655.896
Fax: (+1) 707.824.0198
How can we keep in touch with the students while abroad?
SAI provides all students studying in Italy with rental cell phones free of charge for the duration of their stay. No charges are made for incoming calls and text messages received while in Italy. If a student opts to use the cell phone to make outgoing calls or to send text messages, relevant charges will be billed. For registration and billing information, visit: http://www.studentcells.com. For students studying in Italy, mail should be sent to the school address provided to the student in his/her acceptance packet.
Students studying in London will receive a cell phone with 10GBP of credit. Mail should be sent to the apartment address.
How should students handle money while abroad?
SAI suggests that students arrive in Italy with €200.00 or in London with 200 British Pounds to pay for taxis, trains, food and other immediate needs. After arrival, students should try to keep 150 euro/pounds in cash at all times in case of emergencies. There are three basic ways of obtaining money while abroad: traveler’s checks, ATMs and credit cards. Traveler's checks in US dollars are widely accepted in Europe and often get a better exchange rate than plain cash. American Express traveler's checks can be cashed anywhere. As for credit cards, Visa and MasterCard are universally accepted, while American Express, Diners Club, Discover are not. Credit/debit cards can be used at ATMs for cash advances with a valid PIN number or at any bank. In general, it is best for students to use an ATM card to withdraw money from their US account as needed. ATM cards are probably the easiest way to handle money and there are plenty of compatible ATMs in Europe. Students should check to ensure that their PIN number is valid in Europe.
In the event of an emergency, will SAI contact me?
In the event of any serious or life threatening issue, SAI will contact you directly. To learn about SAI's safety procedures, please go to: http://www.saiprograms.com/resources/parents/safety-procedures.
Is there coursework offered outside of Italian Studies?
SAI program offer the widest curriculum choices in Italy. In addition to Italian studies, our host schools offer a variety of disciplines to accommodate many different students. All courses are taught in English, with the exception of the Italian language courses and those designated ‘in Italian.’ To review our course catalogs, please visit the respective SAI program website. Our London programs of course do not include Italian studies. In London SAI offers a wide range of Arts, Design and Communication studies.
Is there time for independent travel? Where do they typically go on their free time?
Students engage in a variety of free time activities, including organized tours and individual exploring. During the semester, there are a number of opportunities for weekend trips. Summer students tend to travel prior to or following their summer session(s).
What are the academic resources available abroad?
Each school maintains a library with copies of key textbooks and related reading which is sufficient for research related to course work. All students have free access to computers and internet at each school. Although, semester students are encouraged to bring their laptop computers.
What are the student qualifications for participation in an SAI program?
Rome, Sicily and Milan: Students are required to be 18 years of age and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5.
Florence: Students applying to the Summer 2010 terms, are required to be 18 years of age and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5. Those applying to Fall 2010, Spring 2011 and Summer 2011 are required to be 18 years of age and have a cumulative GPA of 2.75.
London: Students applying to the Semester Program must: 1) have completed at least one year’s study at a higher education institution in a Bachelor of Arts subject; 2) submit a current transcript with a GPA of 2.50 or higher; 3) submit a portfolio; 4) submit one letter of reference (from a permanent professor at your home University); 5) submit a personal statement. You should use this opportunity to describe what you would like to achieve in your work and personally in your time in London. Why have you chosen to study at UAL?
Students applying to Summer terms are required to be 18 years of age and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5.
Students with a GPA less than the required GPA will be considered on an individual basis, and should contact the SAI office to discuss enrollment.
What do SAI programs generally include?
Admission services ranging from application, course enrollment, housing assignment Carefully selected living accommodations in clean, pleasant city center lodgings HTH Insurance (comprehensive international health insurance including medical emergency evacuation and repatriation) Cell phone assignment prior to departure and pick-up upon arrival (Not yet available in London) US academic credit Academic programs taught in English Dedicated on-site SAI Program Coordinators providing personal assistance throughout the term Airport pick-up and transportation on arrival days Orientation: three day (semester programs) or two day (summer programs) in-depth orientation Welcome reception and events 24 hour emergency support line Weekly cultural activities Program inclusive 2 night, 3 day excursion as well as a number of day trips to selected locations Farewell evening: reception and dinner with all students Optional student visa service Optional excursions offered at an additional cost for each program Program cost does not include: Application fee, security deposit, single room supplement, airfare, meals, personal expenses, books, course fees, optional excursions offered by SAI or the host school.
What documents are needed to travel abroad?
A passport with a validity that exceeds intended stay by at least three months is needed.
All students studying in Italy for more than 90 days are required to obtain a student visa. It is no longer necessary for US students studying for less than 90 days to obtain a visa. (See our Student Visas Page). Detailed instructions are given upon acceptance. It is very important that this is started as soon as your son/daughter is enrolled in the program, as the procedure will take time. For most US Italian Consulates SAI offers a Visa Processing Service for a fee of $250. Visas are not required for US Citizens studying in London six months or less. All non US Citizens applying for all programs will need to contact the nearest Italian Consulate or British Embassy, following their directions for obtaining a Student Visa.
What does arrival orientation include?
The SAI on-site Program Coordinator organizes a series of meetings and events which are designed to provide students with a thorough orientation of the city and surrounding area. They also provide a full explanation of the academic program as well as an introduction to the host school faculty and staff. By the end of orientation, students should have a clear understanding of their new environment and feel confident moving about the city independently.
What happens if a student gets sick abroad?
Our host schools and SAI on-site staff can refer students to a local English speaking doctor. In the event of a more serious case, an on-site SAI staff member will accompany the student to the local hospital.
What health insurance does SAI provide?
The program fee includes HTH Worldwide Insurance coverage for all SAI programs. Prior to departure, each student will receive an email explanation of benefits, instructions on how to print the HTH ID card.
For additional policy information, visit:
- www.hthstudents.com. This website provides students access to a description of insurance benefits, claim forms, contact information, as well as access to HTH Worldwide's Provider networks.
- www.hthparents.com provides parents with access to the same health and security resources that are available to students and advisors.
What housing does SAI offer students?
SAI offers family home stay options in the following cities:
Rome, Siena, Sorrento, Florence.
SAI offers study apartment options in the following cities:
Florence, Siena, Sorrento, Rome, Milan, London.
In collaboration with our rental agency partners, SAI offers shared apartments equipped with basic kitchen supplies, furnishings, one set of sheets per student, washing machine and iron. SAI aims to create a comfortable living environment for each student by providing safe, well maintained student housing in quality apartments. Our staff will be on hand to greet and to help orient students, and will remain available throughout the term to answer questions and to assist with maintenance needs that may arise. Home stay options may be available on some SAI programs.
Students are free to arrange their own accommodations if they choose.
What is SAI’s mission?
SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences in Italy that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. SAI concentrates its programs in Italy, with a focus on understanding Italy’s unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and the arts, while intentionally linking the art and design programs in Italy with those in London. SAI accomplishes its work in a sustainable and responsible manner, with consideration to the environmental impact on global and local communities.
What is the cost of living in Italy and London?
The cost of living in Italy/London is similar to the US. In Italy/London, a coffee costs about $2.00 and fruits and vegetables are perhaps a little less expensive than in the US, especially if you buy them at the open market. On the other hand, telephones and energy (gas, electricity, gasoline) are more expensive, so things tend to even out. If you cook at home, you can live relatively cheaply. Consulates expect you to have about $1,000 - $1,200 per month for your stay in Italy/London. In general, this amount is a good but generous estimate of the basic cost of living. Recently the US dollar has dropped significantly in value, resulting in higher costs because of exchange rates.
What type of support services does SAI offer?
Each SAI program has a dedicated Admissions Counselor based in our California office as well as an on-site Program Coordinator. All SAI Italy staff are fluent in Italian and have lived or studied in the city in which they work. In case of emergency, SAI on-site staff can be reached 24 hours a day by calling the SAI emergency phone line. In addition, SAI provides all students with access to a US trained and certified counselor.
Who is responsible for making travel arrangements?
Students are responsible for booking their own airline tickets. Dating back to 1999 SAI created a partnership with Waldorf Travel Service, based in Oregon, Waldorf Travel is knowledgeable about SAI programs, locations, arrival airports, etc. and offers SAI students the lowest available student-priced airline tickets. We encourage students to book their flights at least 90 days prior to departure and to make sure to notify the travel agent that they are an SAI student. Contact Waldorf Travel as soon as possible to make arrangements as student tickets are limited. Students must submit a Student Arrival Information sheet before departure. Waldorf Travel Service 5316 SE Sherman Street Portland OR 97215 TEL: 800-328-7266 TEL: 503-233-4053 FAX: 503-232-7224 E-mail: email@example.com