Students Q&A

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

General SAI

Who can study abroad with SAI? Can high school students study abroad?

SAI accepts English-speaking students from around the world. We offer undergrad and graduate programs as well as summer programs for high school students. We also offer a range of studies for adults seeking career and professional certificates. Each one has specific eligibility requirements which may include age, GPA, or academic standing. If you have found your dream program but don’t meet certain eligibility requirements, reach out to us, as there is sometimes flexibility.

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 you with details for a specific program.

Where will I be taking classes? Will locals be in my classes?

All of our programs are associated with a host school and classes take place at the school (virtual programs are run remotely, but delivered by the host school). The makeup of classes differ, with some study abroad students enrolling in courses alongside degree-seeking locals, and others attending classes only with study abroad students. We explain the make-up of classmates on each program page.

Are there any language requirements for SAI programs?

Most of our programs only require English fluency. A few of our programs also offer courses taught in the host language and those courses require proficiency in the host language. Any language requirements are noted on program pages.

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 offered in Master’s and professional-level programs.

360° Services generally include tuition, housing, excursions, on-site support including 24 hour emergency phone, health insurance, 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.

Note that we also offer 360° Virtual Services with our virtual programs. This includes tuition and US academic credit (if selected), US-based Admissions Counselor and on-site Program Coordinator, assistance with financial aid processing, and the SAI Virtual Viva Experience: various opportunities for virtual cultural engagement.

Does my full application need to be received at the same time?

Nope! Application materials may arrive separately via post, email or fax, and do not have to be sent at the same time. Your application will not be considered complete until all paperwork and deposits have been received.

Do I have to submit an official transcript?

Each program has different requirements for transcripts; please check the Application Requirements on each program page to understand whether an official transcript is required. When an official transcript is required, in some cases we are able to work with an unofficial copy until an official one arrives.

What are the eligibility requirements for SAI programs?

Eligibility requirements are different for each program. See the program page for specific eligibility requirement. If you don’t meet requirements, reach out to us, as there is sometimes flexibility.

Please note that students completing a virtual program must also have a working computer and reliable internet connection.

What do I need to do at my home school in order to study abroad with SAI?

It’s important to obtain approval from your home school to study abroad, and fill out all required paperwork. You should discuss how the credits that you earn abroad will transfer back to your home school. Additionally, if you are receiving any financial aid at your home school, it’s important that you understand how your financial aid can be applied toward your study abroad program.

My GPA does not meet the requirement; can I still apply?

In many cases, yes! Some programs can make exceptions regarding GPAs provided students demonstrate particular interest in and aptitude for studying abroad. Students who do not meet GPA requirements will be asked to submit supplemental materials. Please contact us directly if your GPA falls below the requirement.

The application closing date has passed; can I still apply?

Most of our programs can accept applications after the closing date, as space permits. Please contact us directly if you are interested in applying after the closing date.

When do I find out if I’m accepted? What happens next?

Students receive word of their acceptance within two weeks of submitting a complete application. Acceptance comes in the form of an email directly to students. Upon acceptance, students are asked to submit confirmation deposits to confirm their intention to pursue the program.

Will the credits I take abroad transfer back to my home school?

All SAI undergraduate programs award U.S. credit, which can usually be transferred back to your home school. However, it is important that all students work with their home school to ensure credit transfer prior to departure, as most students must get their courses pre-approved at their home school. SAI cannot guarantee your credits will transfer, but can help in the process by providing syllabi and course equivalency information.

Does SAI award U.S. credit?

All SAI undergraduate programs award U.S. credit, either through a U.S. school of record or through the host schools that has U.S. accreditation. Some virtual programs allow the option of earning US or host-country credit. Graduate-level coursework is awarded as host-country credit. All students receive a transcript upon completion of their program.

Students who require an expedited transcript should contact their Admissions Counselor as early as possible to make arrangements.

How do I register for classes?

Course registration occurs after students have submitted their confirmation deposits. Each SAI program’s course registration process is different regarding timing and procedure. All students are encouraged to get as many courses as possible pre-approved for transfer by their home school in order to allow maximum flexibility with course selection. Students receive a course confirmation email once they have been registered.

When will I receive my transcripts?

Transcripts are mailed out to students’ home schools within 12 weeks of program end. Students who require an expedited transcript should contact their Admissions Counselor as early as possible to make arrangements.

Is housing included in SAI programs?

SAI housing is included in the cost of all SAI 360° Services Programs. SAI housing options differ in each city, and include student apartments, dorms and family homestays. In locations where there is a housing option, students are asked to mark their preferences. Standard SAI housing includes a shared room, although students have the option of upgrading to a private room for an added fee.

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.

Can I request to live with a friend?

Students can request to live with a friend when they fill out the SAI application. Please note that these requests must be mutual, meaning both parties must request one another. If you would like to make a housemate request after filling out the SAI application, please do so by emailing your Admissions Counselor.

What will be included and not included in my housing?

Each SAI student apartment is equipped with basic furnishings and kitchen supplies, one set of sheets and towel per student, washing machine and iron, and internet. Please note that apartments are not equipped with landline telephones and clothing dryers.

How are housing request supplements handled?

In some SAI locations students have the option to pay a housing supplement for certain housing requests, including a private room, or cleaning services. These supplements are due with deposits. While we do our best to meet all supplement requests, the requests are not guaranteed. In the event that a housing request is not available, the supplement will be refunded to the student.

Can I arrive or depart a day earlier or later from SAI’s program dates?

Students are welcome to arrive earlier or depart later than their SAI programs dates. However, please be aware that SAI housing is only provided during program dates, so these students must arrange their own housing for the additional dates. Also note that airport pickup is only offered on the SAI arrival day.

If your circumstances require that you arrive late or depart early, please speak with your Admissions Counselor as soon as possible.

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. Airport drop-off at program end is not included, but our on-site staff will be happy to arrange it.

How should I arrange travel to / from my 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.

How do I apply for a passport?

Passport applications and information can be found on the U.S. Department of State’s website. Processing an application can take up to 10 weeks so be sure to apply early! Please note that, for an additional fee, students can expedite their passport applications.

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

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

Will I require a student visa for my SAI program?

Many SAI programs require a visa; please consult your program’s page for specific information on whether one is required for yours.

How do I apply for a student visa? What if I’m not a U.S. citizen?

We provide detailed instructions for your visa application after you have submitted your confirmation deposit. If you have any questions about visas, 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.

Uh-oh, I have a visa problem – what should I do?!

Don’t worry, it happens all the time! If you have any visa troubles please contact our Student Visas Director immediately at

Does SAI offer any activities for students while abroad?

SAI on-site staff regularly organize social and cultural events for SAI students, including events held in cooperation with local students, sporting events and participation in sports, museum visits and cultural events, and volunteer and community service opportunities. In addition, SAI 360° Services Programs include day and weekend trips to nearby sights to help students get to know their host country and culture.

Can I get a job abroad?

Job restrictions abroad differ by country. The following restrictions are currently in effect in SAI countries:

  • Italy: yes, visiting students holding a student visa are permitted to work a maximum of 20 hours per week, up to 1,040 hours per year.
  • France: no, visiting students may not seek employment.
  • Spain: no, not unless it is connected to the study abroad program’s academic term.

What should I do if I get sick abroad?

All SAI students are covered under CISI student health insurance while they are abroad. If you become ill abroad and need medical attention, please contact SAI on-site staff or consult the CISI website for a list of local English-speaking doctors that are covered by the 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.

What should I do in an emergency?

If you have an emergency and require immediate assistance, please first contact the local police, ambulance, or fire department, and then contact SAI on-site staff. If the emergency is after-hours, contact SAI via the 24-hour emergency phone number you were provided upon arrival (see Health & Safety Alerts). Local emergency phone numbers are provided in your Pre-Departure Guide and Program Guide, as well as during orientation.

How do 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.

I attend an SAI affiliated university; how does my payment plan differ?

Some affiliated universities have different payment arrangements with SAI, which may require students to pay different deposits to SAI and some fees directly to the affiliate university instead of SAI. Please contact your study abroad office of the SAI business department for further information.

How do I withdraw from / cancel my SAI program?

Students can cancel their SAI program prior to arrival in-country by filling out the SAI Cancellation & Deferment Request Form. Please take note of our Cancellation Policy regarding liability. Students wishing to withdraw once a program has begun should contact SAI on-site staff.

When will I receive my refundable security deposit (if applicable)?

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 I use federal or institutional financial aid and/or scholarships toward my 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 monies 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 my financial aid funds are disbursed after my 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 scholarships 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.

How are SAI scholarship applications evaluated?

SAI scholarships are evaluated based on need and merit.