FAQs

Q?

What if you arrive early/late?

A.

All participants are provided a travel window during which their flight must arrive at their program destination. In the case that your flight plans change, please notify SAA immediately. Typically, an airport pickup can still be provided with ample notice of the schedule change.  If you arrive late, we will do our best to catch you up with your group. SAA will notify you if an additional pickup fee is necessary when arriving outside the travel window. Travelers will be responsible for extra nights of accommodation and all other applicable expenses when arriving early.

Q?

How do airport pickups work?

A.

SAA staff will have a list of arrival times and names. After exiting customs at the airport, your on-ground guide will be awaiting your arrival. Depending on location, you will either use public transportation to reach the city center or SAA will provide private transportation.

Q?

Can I extend my stay?

A.

Absolutely! It is quite common for travelers to join a different program or explore independently. Please let us know, prior to arrival, of your wish to extend your stay and we will do our best to assist with your arrangements.

Q?

Who is eligible?

A.

All travelers are eligible to participate in a SAA program. However, participants are typically between 18 - 40 years of age. If you are outside of this range and would still like to join a SAA program, please contact us and we will do our best to find you an appropriate trip.

Q?

How do I apply?

A.

You can register for a program through www.studyabroadassociation.com

Please complete the Sign-Up-Now form. You will be contacted shortly after this form is submitted.

If you have additional questions, please utilize the Contact Us section of the website.

Q?

What does the tour leadership consist of for each program?

A.

Every program will have a local, full-time Program Director. The director is available 24-7, throughout the program, to assist our travelers. Our directors are very experienced and among the best of the best. Additionally, there will be other tour guides to assist the director. During study abroad tours, there will also be a professor present from the lead institution.

Q?

What happens if a traveler has an issue while abroad?

A.

If a traveler encounters a problem while abroad, the program director should be notified immediately. Satisfaction and safety are our number one priorities and we are here for you. The program director will make an appropriate decision to assist with your situation.

Q?

What is Included?

A.

Each program comes with a complete list of what is included for that tour. Programs usually include: accommodation, ground transportation, cultural & historical walking tours of each city visited, student life tours, recreational activities, daily breakfast, Welcome Dinners in each city, full time assistance, and local health insurance.

Q?

Can I use my debit card while abroad?

A.

Yes, we actually recommend students use a debit card while abroad instead of carrying and exchanging cash. Utilizing a debit card, rather than exchanging money, saves travelers from paying the commissions that companies charge. Additionally, carrying large amounts of money while traveling makes you a target for pickpocketing and theft. ATM fees vary but are typically $3-$5 per transaction. Speak with your bank/card provider so that you are fully informed about any potential fees. Also, be sure to inform your bank/card provider of where and when you will be traveling. If you fail to do so, charges outside of your state will usually be seen as fraud and your card will be blocked.

Q?

Should I bring a laptop?

A.

We recommend limiting the amount of electronics you bring abroad. Losing equipment or valuables is the quickest way to put a damper on your trip. Most places of accommodation provide WIFI and communal computers. Additionally, internet cafes are abundant and local staff can advise you on which are best to use.

Q?

Do I need a passport or visa?

A.

Yes, you will need a passport if your program is taking place out of the country your passport is registered in. Certain programs require visas. SAA will provide information on how to obtain your visa and visa requirements prior to the program.

Q?

What if I have to cancel my program?

A.

SAA offers a life-time warranty on your program deposit. Meaning, if you have to cancel your program, you deposit can be credited to a future tour. Please, refer to the cancellation and refund policies included in your program’s Terms & Conditions.

Q?

How much money should I bring?

A.

The amount of spending money you should bring for souvenirs and extra activities can vary greatly. For example, a minimum of $250 is suggested for the 13 day Costa Rica program but at least $300 should be saved for traveling to the UK for 9 days. A suggested amount will be provided in the materials for your program that are provided during orientation.

Q?

Should I carry cash while traveling or bring a credit/debit card?

A.

Cash is usually the best way to go but you should not ever carry a large amount on you. Bring a small amount in order to get by until you can find an ATM and then make other ATM withdrawals as needed. Some banks do not have international fees for using your debit card and reimburse ATM fees. Check your bank’s policies to see what kind of fees you may be subject to. It may be worth your time to do a little research on different banks in order to save some money.

Most credit card providers charge international transaction fees when using your card abroad so relying on a credit card as your main source of funds is not advised. You should check with your provider to see what their policy is.

Debit cards are also subject to fees when used internationally but they are not typically as high as those applied to credit cards. Also, using an ATM to get cash rather than using your card for every transaction can cut back on the number of fees incurred. Again, check with your bank so you are aware of what you may be charged.

Q?

Are the courses required?

A.

Whether or not you are required to take the course provided in a program is dependent on each school. While most courses are required, there are a couple of other options. Some institutions charge an independent traveler fee if not paying tuition for the course. Also, schools may choose to offer our program as a community trip which is open to everyone and does not include course credit.

Q?

Why is it suggested that I use a backpack instead of a suitcase?

A.

When traveling, many types of terrain (dirt, gravel and cobblestone just to name a few) may be encountered and this can make a rolling bag more trouble than it’s worth. Backpacks are always easier to carry which allows for quick transfers onto buses, trams and subways. Also, on a majority of our programs students are expected to carry on their bags rather than check them while flying. This prevents luggage from being lost and saves time wasted waiting at baggage claim. Backpacks are more compact and therefore better for carrying on.

Q?

How will a program with SAA contribute to my education?

A.

There’s an endless number of ways one of our programs can impact your life but here are just a few answers from our students:

I am now comfortable traveling abroad, can pack efficiently, know how to use public transportation and know when and how to travel in order to save money.

I gained a deeper understanding of the language and culture of a new country and am now inspired to learn more about it when I get home.

This trip contributed to my major in film and video because I was able to document and photograph an abundance of plants and wildlife.

Studying abroad to Costa Rica showed me the value in my science classes and that I should pay more attention.

I learned many different things about wildlife and how Costa Ricans are working to preserve their beautiful land.

Traveling to Eastern Europe opened my eyes to a new culture and lifestyle and allowed me to meet interesting and insightful people.

Q?

How should I prepare for my trip?

A.

Lots and lots and lots of walking! We want our students to experience as much as possible while traveling so be prepared to move. Nothing is rushed in our programs but every day is full of activities. One of the best things you can do for yourself is to start walking as much as possible. Don’t be intimidated by this. All varieties of fitness levels have done our programs and enjoyed them. It will just be an easier transition if you’ve done a little preparation.

When preparing to travel with OKSA you should also apply for a passport if you do not already have one, make sure you have everything on the packing list that we provide and check out some guide books from your local library to learn about where you are going. A very detailed check list will also be provided at orientation to assure you haven’t forgotten anything.

Q?

What are hostels? Are they safe?

A.

A hostel is an establishment that provides inexpensive food and lodging for travelers, especially young travelers. Room options range from large dorms with bunk beds to private rooms. The layout of a hostel encourages a community atmosphere with large social areas for travelers to mingle and communal kitchens where everyone can prepare and share meals.

Hostels are just as secure, if not more so, than hotels. Many have the front doors locked 24/7 and require having a key or buzzing for someone to let you in. In a majority or cases it is far more difficult to sneak into a hostel than a hotel. However, you should always take wise precautions such as utilizing the lockers.

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