FAQ – Students
Where are the schools located?
As the center of the Mediterranean, Italy has riches that are as powerful a lure to scholars today as they have been for millennia. SAI takes advantage of that wealth by offering its modern study abroad programs in four historical cities spanning the Italian Peninsula and the island of Sicily, Milan, Florence and Rome. Along with the four programs in Italy, SAI has recently expanded to include Central Saint Martins in London.
Each of our program sites is unique.
Florence is the cultural birthplace of the Italian Renaissance; and Milan is the bustling center of Italian commerce and fashion.
Rome is the capital of Italy, and the repository of the art and architecture of the Roman empire.
London is one of the most culturally diverse cities in the world. The capital's reputation as a multicultural city has been in the making for centuries, and the vibrant mix of nationalities and cultures among its seven million inhabitants is one of the many pleasures of living and studying in the city.
Am I eligible to apply? Is there a G.P.A. requirement?
Siena, Sorrento, Rome, Sicily, and Milan: Students are required to be 18 years of age and have a cumulative GPA of 2.5.
Florence: Students 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 who do not meet the GPA requirement will be considered on an individual basis, and should contact the SAI office to discuss enrollment.
Can I get US academic credit for my courses?
Students enrolled in SAI Programs from affiliated universities will receive US credit for courses from their home university.
All SAI Florence, Milan and London students enrolling from non-affiliated universities will receive US course credit from Fairfield University in Connecticut.
SAI students enrolled in the Siena program enrolling from non-affiliated universities will receive US course credit from Portland State University.
SAI students enrolled in the Sorrento program enrolling from non-affiliated universities will receive US course credit from State University of New York, Alfred.
Students attending the program at John Cabot University (JCU) in Rome will receive US credit directly from JCU, since JCU is already a US accredited university.
Am I insured?
SAI automatically provides all students with an HTH Worldwide Insurance "Health Select Overseas Policy". Prior to your departure, you will receive an email explanation of benefits, as well as instructions on how to print your ID card from HTH.
All costs and charges for this policy are included in our general program cost.
For policy information see:
http://www.hthstudents.com- Provides students access to a description of insurance benefits, claim forms, and contact information, as well as access to HTH Worldwide's Provider networks.
http://www.hthparents.com - Provides parents with access to the same health and security resources that are available to students and advisors.
Are courses taught in English?
All courses are taught in English with the exception of Italian language (immersion style for English-speakers). For advanced Italian language students, a few courses are offered each term taught in Italian, marked "in Italian" in the catalog and class schedules.
Can I get a job in Italy / London?
Italy: Legally, you are not permitted to work as a foreign student in Italy.
London: Yes, with the acquisition of a specialized student visa. Please contact our office for more information at 800.655.8965.
Can I get a scholarship or other financial aid?
Each year SAI offers a number of Scholarships for study abroad. See our page on scholarships for details.
Do I have to buy books or pay any lab fees when I arrive?
When a student is required to purchase books, the cost for a semester or summer term generally does not exceed €50- €75 per course. Students taking studio art classes should expect to spend about 200 euro per class. Classes in Florence, Rome and Milan with field trips or studio components require the payment of lab fees on site. The Sicily program does not charge lab fees for classes with field trips.
Do I have to take Italian?
Semester students in Florence, Siena, Sorrento and Milan MUST take at least three credits of Italian language as part of their program. Summer session students are not required to take Italian language. Students attending our Rome program are not required to take Italian language as part of their program.
Do I need a visa?
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 you start this process as soon as you are 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.
Does SAI offer excursions or field trips? Is it easy to travel in Europe?
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.
Do you organize any extracurricular activities?
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.
How do I contact SAI? Can I speak with a representative before deciding to study abroad/choosing program?
Our US based admissions officers conduct regular site visits to the host school and are able to answer any questions about the programs as well as any aspect of the admissions process, from course enrollment through housing assignment.
You can click on the "Contact Us " button at the top of each program web site to be immediately connected to an admissions Counselor and ask your questions through live chat.
You can also contact us at the following address:
Study Abroad Italy
7160 Keating Avenue
Sebastopol, CA 95472
How do I travel to Europe?
While each student is responsible for his or her own travel arrangements, SAI has made arrangements with Waldorf Travel of California to offer SAI students the lowest available student-priced airline tickets. Waldorf Travel has handled flights for SAI students for 10 years and are familiar with each school's calendar and travel requirements. We encourage students to book their flights WELL IN ADVANCE (at least 90 days prior to departure), and to make sure to notify the travel agent that you are a SAI student. Please note that the number of student-priced tickets is limited. Contact Waldorf Travel as soon as possible to make arrangements. We suggest that students arrive in Italy/London with 200.00 Euro/Pounds in cash, to pay for taxis, trains, food and other immediate needs. Students must submit a Student Arrival Information sheet before departure.
For airline ticketing contact:
5316 SE Sherman St.
toll free: 800-328-7266
If my parents visit can SAI recommend short term, weekly, apartment rentals?
For information regarding visiting any of the SAI sites, please see: http://www.saiprograms.com/resources/parents/plan-a-visit.
Visiting parents in Florence receive an 8-10% discount when reserving with our partner, Windows on Italy. They offer a range of accommodations from luxury villas to lovely central apartments. Instead of completing their online booking form, you must email them directly first, letting them know you are referred by SAI, in order to benefit from the discount.
What about computers and internet access?
You should feel free to bring your laptop computer with you to Italy or London. Wireless internet access is also provided at all of the schools and each also has a computer lab for student use. Many apartments offer internet for an additional monthly charge, and SAI students may also rent a wireless modem which can be used to access the internet from any location.
What furnishings will be in my apartment?
Each student shared apartment is equipped with the following:
— basic kitchen supplies
— one set of sheets per student
—washing machine and iron.
Apartments are NOT equipped with: towels (students should pack or purchase towels in Italy); telephones (students can use their cell phones); clothes dryers.
What is Italy/London like? Is it safe?
Italy and London pose no special threat to visitors in either health or safety. It is perfectly safe to drink water from a faucet and to eat at any restaurant. While minor crime, such as pick pocketing, can occur, violent crime is unusual even in the cities.
What is the cost of living in Italy/London?
The cost of living in Italy/London is similar to that in the U.S. In Italy/London, a coffee costs about $2.00 and fruits and vegetables are perhaps a little less expensive than in the States, especially if you buy them at the open market. Telephones, on the other hand, are more expensive as is energy in general (gas, electricity, gasoline), so things tend to even out. If you cook in your own house, you can live relatively cheaply. Consulates expect you to have about $1,000 - $1,200 per month for your stay in Italy/London, and this is a good, though somewhat generous estimate of basic living cost. The value of the US dollar has dropped dramatically in the past year, which has raised the cost of living for US students studying abroad. Of our different locations, Milan or London are perhaps the most expensive cities and Syracuse (in Sicily) the least, in terms of general cost of living.
What study abroad programs does SAI offer?
SAI is pleased to offer undergraduate students semester programs (fall or spring), summer programs (June or July) and short programs in five distinct Italian locations: Florence, Siena, Sorrento, Rome and Milan and one UK location: London. At our Milan schools, SAI also offers graduate and Master's programs in design. For information see our program pages.
Our host schools in Rome, Florence, Siena and Sorrento all offer a liberal arts education. Our Milan programs focus on the study of contemporary design, while the programs in London offer one of the most diverse and comprehensive ranges of undergraduate courses in arts and design.
In Italy and London, what's the best map/guide?
Italy: We like to suggest the Blue Guide series. In addition to maps, these guides will provide you with cultural and historical information as well as suggestions for restaurants and hotels. Blue guides are published for Southern Italy, Northern Italy (including Milan), Florence, Rome and Sicily. Of course there are also Let's Go and Lonely Planet guides available, which will address more specifically the questions of a young person, such as inexpensive food and lodging.
London: TimeOut London and Let's Go London are both great guide books. London Mini A-Z is excellent for maps.
Where will I live?
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.
Will I have a phone?
SAI provides all students with rental cell phones free of charge for the duration of their stay in Italy. No charges are made for incoming calls and text messaging received while in Italy. If a student opts to use the cell phone to make outgoing calls and/or text messages, relevant charges will be billed on a call by call basis. Our cell phones are provided by Student Cells, and their rates are among the lowest available, however students should realize that cell phone costs in Italy can be higher than in the US. For registration and billing information see: http://www.studentcells.com.
Students studying in London will have access to a telephone in their student apartment and will be given the option of renting a cell phone while abroad. Mail should be sent to the apartment address.
Can I arrange an airport pickup?
All SAI students 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 at no cost to the student, but is covered by program cost. Airport drop-off is not included, but is possible to arrange.