SAI COVID-19 Updates

This page includes all updates related to SAI’s response to Coronavirus (COVID-19). For all SAI Alerts, and SAI health & safety resources, please see Alerts.

The SAI Health and Safety Committee is continuously monitoring the evolving Coronavirus (COVID-19) situation in Europe and worldwide, and we are keeping all current students, parents, and home schools up-to-date on decisions and recommendations via email. We are weighing each decision we make very carefully, and keeping in mind our student safety, as well as the large efforts, both financial and otherwise, it takes for students to study abroad.

For in-depth information about COVID-19, we suggest the following resources:

WHO  |  US CDC  |  US DOS  |  European CDC

Program Updates

If you would like in-depth information on what studying abroad is like right now, please contact SAI Admissions; we would love to speak with you! 

Beginning January 1, 2022, SAI will require all students studying abroad to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination, including a booster if eligible. We have carefully weighed this decision, and ultimately made the policy adjustment in response to host country requirements, and in recognition of the importance of a high quality study abroad experience for our students. Please reach out to SAI Admissions with any questions or to request an exemption.

We expect all future SAI on-site programs to proceed as normal. We will continue to monitor the evolving COVID-19 situation, and will make adjustments to our policies to respond to the evolution of the virus and host country responses. 

COVID-19 Policy Updates

SAI has always worked to uphold the highest standards of safety for student travel, and we have carried that standard into our response to COVID-19. As the world has reopened to travel, and individuals are adjusting to a new normal, we have continued to update our COVID-19 policies accordingly. Below are our safety commitments to address the evolving COVID-19 situation. Please note that our policies may change alongside the global response to the virus. 

  • Throughout the COVID-19 crisis, we have carefully monitored the health advisories issued by various key public agencies, including the U.S. Department of State (USDOS), the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the World Health Organization (WHO), and host country health agencies. We will continue to take such advisories into account as we make decisions about our on-site programs and the support we provide.
  • The SAI Health & Safety Committee utilizes a detailed checklist to ensure that the proper health and safety services are available to US citizens abroad, and that we are able to welcome students in a safe manner. 
  • Starting January 1, 2022, we are requiring all students to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination, including a booster if eligible. This requirement was enacted in response to host country mandates, and in recognition of the importance of a high quality study abroad experience for our students. 
  • If it is deemed necessary, we are able to provide starter safety kits for students, including masks and hand sanitizer, and cleaning/disinfecting materials for housing.
  • We are continuing to update our pre-departure health and safety resources to meet the current needs, and ensure that students arrive in-country fully prepared. We are currently offering a pre-departure virtual orientation that includes a detailed health and safety section, as well as a travel safety checklist for all students. Additionally, we have doubled down on the personalized support we provide each student, with our Admissions Counselors carefully guiding students through each step of their journey.
  • All students sign a housing agreement that covers, among other things, cleaning, health, and compliance with national health and safety mandates. All SAI housing includes a monthly professional cleaning service. 
  • If an initial quarantine is required upon arrival in the host country, we are prepared to offer students virtual course delivery during that time, as well as assistance with groceries and necessities.
  • We have reworked our SAI Viva Experience activities to offer more social distancing-compatible events that are in open spaces and outdoors. We are replacing the overnight excursion (where applicable) with additional culturally-relevant day trips.
  • We are requiring all students to arrive in-country with a smartphone that has a data plan that functions in the host country. Video chat capability is important for the duration of the SAI program, as it allows SAI staff to see students when and if they are unable to see them face-to-face. 
  • We are continuing to discourage travel outside the host country while on the SAI program, due to added exposure and potential quarantines. We can provide resources for students who want to experience the various regions of their host country.
  • Students who have COVID-19 symptoms will be directed to contact SAI, who will help them follow host country guidance for testing and follow-up care, if needed. 
  • Students sign an updated SAI Code of Conduct, in which we expect all students to comply with any host country mandates and any imposed restrictions regarding health and safety.
  • In the unlikely event that there is a resurgence of COVID-19 in the host country that compels us to suspend our on-site programs and send students home, we have put in place plans to ensure continuity of coursework through online learning. SAI is in regular contact with students’ home institutions regarding academic continuity and policy alignment.
  • If the COVID-19 situation in the host country requires that SAI suspend or cancel the on-site portion of a program, with students completing their coursework virtually from home, SAI will provide refunds for recoverable costs. Please note that unused services may be recoverable, while tuition and rent are not.

Edited: May 2022

For information on our standard health and safety measures, see Health & Safety

Are all of your programs open?
Yes, we have reopened all our program locations! The SAI Health & Safety Committee is continually assessing the global situation and making determinations about the safety of our program locations. We use a detailed checklist to inform our decision-making that ensures student and staff safety and support. Please see each program’s web page for updates.

Do I need to be vaccinated against COVID-19 to study abroad?
SAI is requiring students to be up to date on their COVID-19 vaccination prior to arrival, starting January 1, 2022. This is first and foremost to protect the health of students, staff, and the host community. Additionally, in this ever-changing COVID-19 landscape, being vaccinated is the best assurance that you’ll be able to move freely throughout your host country, even if regulations tighten once again. Being vaccinated will ensure that you will have the high quality and rewarding study abroad experience that we have offered all students for more than 25 years. Please contact us for questions about vaccine exemptions.

How can I get more information about how the program will work?
We know that it can feel overwhelming to think through all the details, so we are here to help! Here are three great ways to get a sense of what your experience will be like:

  • Contact an SAI Admissions Counselor – that’s what we’re here for! Reach us on email admissions@saiprograms.com, via Live Chat (see bottom right box), or book a call with us.
  • Drop into a SAI Zoom Room to get all your questions answered.
  • Follow us on Instagram, and check out our blog to see the experience from a student’s perspective.

Once you’re enrolled, you’ll be invited to join a Pre-Departure Orientation where we will give you all the information you need, and more!

Could SAI cancel a program?
The SAI Health & Safety Committee is continually assessing the global situation and making determinations about active programs. While we don’t expect to cancel programs, it can happen. If the cancellation occurs prior to a program’s start, we provide a full refund for the program cost (less the non-refundable application fee). If it occurs after a program has begun, we will refund any recoverable costs (keep in mind that tuition and housing are generally not recoverable). We try to make pre-departure cancellation decisions with plenty of time for you to switch to another active program, but you also always have the option of deferring your enrollment to a future term.

What if my home school cancels study abroad?
If your home school cancels your study abroad program prior to the SAI cancellation policy going into effect, all program fees paid will be refunded (less the application fee, which is not refundable). If your home school cancels study abroad after the SAI cancellation policy goes into effect, we will make every effort to refund any recoverable costs.

When is the deadline to make a decision about going abroad?
If you are unsure about whether you’d like to go, you can move ahead with your application while noting the date that the SAI cancellation policy penalty phase goes into effect. If you choose to defer your application to another term, or cancel your enrollment entirely before the SAI cancellation policy goes into effect you will only be liable for the application fee, which is not refundable.

What will housing be like?
Living arrangements will differ in each SAI location. Our current standard offering is for a shared bedroom in shared housing, with the option to upgrade to a private bedroom in shared housing. Housemates are treated as a “family unit”, and, if required, will be asked to quarantine together.

Will I have to quarantine when I arrive?
Currently, there is no requirement for quarantine upon arrival in Italy, Spain and France, provided travelers can show proof of being up-to-date on their COVID-19 vaccination. For details and up-to-date information, please contact a SAI Admissions Counselor (admissions@saiprograms.com, or via Live Chat).

Can I travel after my program is over?
Yes, you will be able to travel! Please note that restrictions are constantly changing, so we recommend that any travel arrangements you make be flexible.

About SAI

SAI is dedicated to providing academic and cultural learning experiences abroad that enhance global awareness, professional development and social responsibility. We concentrate our programs in Europe, with a focus on in-depth learning of individual European countries and their unique global role in the geopolitical economy, humanities, and in the arts.