Navigating the pre-departure study abroad process is an essential phase that lays the foundation for your upcoming academic and cultural experience abroad with SAI. This time requires you to be quite meticulous as you will need to adhere to many deadlines, submit plenty of paperwork, and read through pages of important material. This phase is all about laying the groundwork for the adventure that awaits you. To facilitate a seamless pre-departure experience, I’ve compiled a set of invaluable top 10 tips that will set you on the path to success.
1 – Meet your Admissions Counselor
A few days after you submit your SAI application, you will be prompted to book a call to meet your Admissions Counselor.
This initial contact serves as a warm welcome to the program and an opportunity to address any immediate questions you may have regarding the application process or the program itself.
During our chat, we’ll introduce ourselves and guide you through what comes next. Our main goal is to make sure you’re well-prepared and ready to tackle the exciting road ahead with confidence!
You have a complete team of committed SAI staff members ready to support you as you prepare for your time abroad. This team includes me, your Admissions Counselor, as well as the SAI Business Office, Student Visa Office, and me, the VP of Enrollment Services. As a team, we work together to deliver the highest level of personalized service.
We’re here for you every step of the way. Don’t hesitate to reach out – you can call our office anytime or schedule a call with your designated Admissions Counselor whenever you need. We’re committed to ensuring your journey is as smooth as possible!
We also offer a drop-in advising hour every Wednesday from 11am to 12pm Pacific Time. This is a chance to connect with your admissions team via zoom.
2 – Make sure you talk to your home school AND SAI
We’re a dynamic duo! Your first step is to have a chat with your home school, as they might require you to obtain approval for your study abroad plans. This could involve meeting specific requirements by a certain deadline and likely filling out an application.
Once your home school gives us the green light, we’re all set to proceed! Your home school will reach out to us to confirm that you can proceed with enrolling in the program, and we’ll promptly relay this message to you.
Sometimes, securing approval from your home school’s study abroad office might take a bit of time. To make the most of this waiting period, we strongly recommend completing the SAI application. This way, we’ll be all set to jump into action as soon as we receive the thumbs-up from your university.
3 – Ask questions & reach out often!
Absolutely, no question is too small – really! We understand that you’re about to dive into an incredible adventure, and it’s only natural to have questions. We’re here to ensure that you feel absolutely confident about the program, and the best way to achieve that is by asking away.
We’ve got multiple channels ready for you to connect with us – from text, email, and phone, to Zoom, live chat, and even WhatsApp. It’s all about making sure you have the information you need at your fingertips.
4 – Paperwork
Do not fret, we try to keep paperwork to a minimum (we love trees after all).
The good news is that the application process is conveniently online, but there will be a few additional documents we’ll need from you. No need to stress about sending everything all at once – we’ll keep track and match up everything as it rolls in. Each time we receive something from you, you’ll get a confirmation email so you’re always in the loop.
The visa process needs some time to unfold. Trust us, it’s smooth sailing when you give yourself (and Rose/Judy) ample time to navigate everything.
6 – Organize & bookmark your Ready-Set-Go! Pack
Prepare for an information avalanche – seriously, it’s a lot. Now, don’t worry, every bit of it is gold (I promise!), but I understand that it can feel overwhelming.
Creating a dedicated folder in your inbox works like magic. Trust me, you’ll be amazed at how much smoother things flow when you’ve got everything neatly tucked away in one spot.
Once you’re officially enrolled, get ready to unlock the Ready-Set-Go! Pack – a Google Drive folder jam-packed with crucial program information. Inside, you’ll discover the pre-departure checklist. This gem covers every single significant deadline and action item you’ll need to tackle. It’s your ultimate guide to staying on track and conquering your program like a pro.
7 – Set (& reset) your expectations
It’s time to let go of any preconceived notions you may have and dive headfirst into the thrilling world of study abroad. Spoiler alert: your experience is guaranteed to be entirely unique and unforgettable.
Let’s shift gears and focus on what really counts – embracing cultural differences and mastering the art of adapting. It’s all about the positive vibes and creative solutions when it comes to navigating those quirky contrasts. Trust us, even the most unexpected challenges can be transformed into great opportunities if you’re up for the challenge (cue your inner adventurer).
Incorporating your family members into the pre-departure process can be highly beneficial, so don’t hesitate to share all relevant details with anyone assisting you during this period. Your family is welcome to reach out to us at any time to gather further information about the program, ensuring that everyone is well-informed and prepared for your study abroad journey.
Stay engaged, stay informed, and let the adventure begin!