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 – Welcome phone call
Within the first week of submitting your SAI application, your designated Admissions Counselor will reach out to you via a personalized phone call. This initial contact serves as a warm welcome to the program and an opportunity to address any immediate inquiries you may have regarding the application process or the program itself. Consider this call the starting point of an exciting journey together.
During our chat, we’ll introduce ourselves, get to know your aspirations 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!
So, keep your phone handy – we’re just around the corner, ready to kick things off with a big, enthusiastic “hello!”
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!
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 you the green light, we’re ready to roll! 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.
Think of us as your co-pilots on this adventure, standing by to hit the ground running!
3 – Ask questions!
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.
Your questions could span from what to pack to the ideal courses to take, or even the best local eats while you’re abroad. Rest assured, 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.
5 – Research and read; set your expectations.
It’s time to leave behind any preconceived notions you may have and dive into the thrilling world of study abroad. Spoiler alert: your experience will be totally unique, like a custom-made adventure just for you. So, buckle up and get ready to break new ground!
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).
Meet Rose Maier, our incredible SAI Student Visa Director – hands down, one of the toughest jobs in our crew. Dealing with visas might seem like a bit of a maze, but Rose? She’s your guru when it comes to patience, expertise, and tackling challenges head-on. But hey, here’s a golden tip: don’t leave things to the 11th hour before reaching out to her.
The visa process needs some time to unfold. Trust us, it’s smooth sailing when you give yourself (and Rose) ample time to navigate everything. Smooth seas make for a stress-free voyage, so let’s set you up for success from the get-go!
7 – Organize
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 calendar checklist. This gem spills 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.
8 – Join the WhatsApp group for your city & term
As soon as that invite hits your inbox, don’t miss the chance to dive into the mix and connect with your future program buddies. Your Admissions Counselor will also post crucial details, important deadlines and will give you friendly nudges along the way. Active engagement with these posts is your ticket to staying in the loop and staying on top of your study abroad journey.
10 – Keep in touch!
One of the most challenging aspects of our role in the Admissions Department is bidding farewell. Throughout the past six months or more, we’ve been right by your side. Even if we haven’t had daily chats, it feels like we know you.
And now, the moment has come – you’re off on your adventure, entrusted into the capable hands of our on-site team. Yet, make no mistake – even as you embark on this exciting journey, our thoughts remain with you. We’re curious about your experiences, how your term is unfolding, and how you’re adjusting to new surroundings.
Our inbox is always open, eagerly awaiting your updates and anecdotes. We’re particularly thrilled to hear from you after your time as an SAI alum. Sharing how your study abroad journey has impacted your academic and career path, and how you’ve grown and evolved, truly warms our hearts.
Stay engaged, stay informed, and let the adventure begin!