Do This With SAI (Or Else)
Laurence, SAI Milan
October 23, 2018

SAI Milan Program Coordinator Laurence is contributing to our blog this month.  Laurence shares some wise advice for students considering studying abroad.  

New students must be slightly nervous about meeting their housemates for the semester. Multiply that by the whole group and you have my Program Coordinator semester nerves in a nutshell! However, these nerves keep me on my toes and get me up every day as I – and we as a company – fundamentally work for you and making your study abroad an experience to remember.

After completing a few semesters under my belt (and having some time to recover after SAI Milan’s fabulous weekend excursion to Pontremoli and Lunigiana), I find that there are certain experiences and choices that students make that they don’t get, or give themselves, enough credit for. Life moves to fast to jot these things down so, here are some things in all their glory (for whoever has made it this far in the article), that I think deserve celebrating and show how to conquer those initial nerves.

Immersed in the Italian countryside by Filatteria

Change is a constant so you should never be frightened of it.

As a Program Coordinator, I appreciate the faith that you put in me and look to plan Included Semester Activities that excite me. Whilst inherently selfish, I do this as it means that when I speak to you about them, It’s genuine excitement that you’re going to get thrown at you and, if that doesn’t get you to sign up, I don’t know what will. When we go to a restaurant, it doesn’t matter if you haven’t tried the food before as you’ll have faith that I’ve chosen somewhere where I want to eat (I hope). Being open minded to change will put you in good stead for life and, who knows, maybe coffee on the third time of trying will be your new favourite thing.

Do exactly what you want and apologise later.

Whilst completely understandable, too many times have I heard someone change a plan that they want to do or feel indecisive about a sensible idea to accommodate other people. I’ve had people come back from weekend trips saying: ‘they wanted to go x and, whilst I wasn’t sure, I went with them and, now, I never want to see them again!’ I’m not saying to only go boldly alone into the yonder but, ultimately, this is your experience only. If you refuse to steer it, no one else will.

Local, traditional cuisine to keep the energy levels sky high!

Ask questions

I’m amazed how everyone has their travel plans already pre-ordained through Instagram photos or friends recommendations back home. Who would you trust more for vacation suggestions: someone’s opinion based on one flying visit there or walking encylopedia’s of European travel tips in any of our assistant or program coordinators! We can give suggestions that relate to your interests and that Instagram can only dream of (e.g: DON’T GO TO SWITZERLAND). It may also just save you money too.

‘I spy with my little eye….’

Finally, do the unexpected. Going back to the weekend excursion, I plan and toil to choose activities for everyone and, seeing how fun E-bikes looked last year, that was top of my list. However, a bicycle spoke was put through the plan due to a very polite student emailing me to say that he’d never learnt to ride a bike.

The silver lining was that he learnt to do it beforehand and the guide on the day couldn’t tell who the non-cycling student was. If that isn’t a study abroad experience too remember then I truly don’t know what is.

At SAI, we give you confidence to fly high..ish

We are here for any questions any time of the day (in office hours). Therefore, enjoy and feel free to reach out and, hopefully, see you in person soon!

Know Someone Who Would Be Interested?


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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.