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Frequently Asked Questions

In today’s global economy, students with true international experience have a competitive edge in the job market and develop a network of friends who can be valuable contacts for life. Most important, however, is the maturation and growth that study abroad fosters in the student. Greater self-confidence, improved intercultural understanding, deepened empathy for others, an improved knowledge of global affairs, and foreign language proficiency are all tangible benefits of study abroad. And, compared to the traditional alternative of a three- to four-year overseas degree program, study abroad for a semester or a year is highly cost effective.

Why The Study Abroad Foundation?

Why should you choose to study abroad with the Study Abroad Foundation? Why not simply write to a host university abroad and manage the process yourself? Here are some answers to this deceptively simple question.
  • Most universities, particularly in the US, do not have specific programs designed for study abroad students from the Asia-Pacific region. Navigating the admission process of these often very large institutions can be extremely difficult. The SAF’s host universities and colleges have made specific provisions to receive and support study abroad students through SAF's study program.
  • All SAF host universities offer excellent academic and research opportunities, and are nationally or regionally recognized leaders. Most are at the top of the rankings in their respective countries.
  • SAF provides access to a wide range of institutions by size, sector and location to ensure the best possible match for each student, whether they prefer the bustle of New York City, the peaceful tranquility of rural England, or a change in seasons “Down Under”.
  • The SAF has established agreements with many of our host universities to provide scholarships or tuition reductions to SAF students, an arrangement that would be very difficult for an individual student to accomplish on his or her own.
  • Many universities and colleges limit the number of places available for non-degree students because of housing and other constraints. In most instances, SAF participants are guaranteed on-campus accommodation.  In large cities such as London where student housing is limited, our students will either reside on-campus or in self-catering apartments secured and monitored by the SAF.
  • No one can guarantee complete safety anywhere, but SAF works closely with our host universities and colleges to provide accurate information regarding on-campus safety issues. In addition, SAF’s orientation program includes vital information on maintaining personal safety both on and off the campus.
  • SAF’s services are comprehensive.  Beyond securing student’s acceptance, we help with vital logistical concerns such as health insurance, visa acquisition, and emergency assistance while abroad.
  • SAF staff are highly trained professionals with collectively over seventy-five years experience in managing overseas study programs.  They are known for their integrity, commitment to academic rigor, and student support services.  The SAF maintains staff that can speak with students and their parents in their native language as well as in English to ensure the proper transmission of important information.
Why SAF Internships

In addition to our standard academic study abroad options, SAF also offers academic internship programs.  SAF Internships are designed to provide participants with a competitive edge in the global economy through hands-on work experience that helps to bridge the gap between theory and the real world of work.  The New York Times reported that “internship experience has become a near-necessity on any competitive entry-level resume”.

What are the benefits of SAF Internships?
  • Improved self-confidence and autonomy
  • Enhanced ability to adapt to change and work across different situations
  • Knowledge and skills transfer from the work place to the classroom
  • Transfer of credit from an internship back to home university (credit transfer policies for internship programs vary by home university)
What benefits does SAF Internship add to resume and job search?

Successful completion of SAF Internship will demonstrate to prospective employers that the candidate has shown ability to work effectively with people who hold different interests, values or perspectives; are able to adapt to situations of change and take on tasks that are unfamiliar or risky.

What Services are Included in the SAF Program Fee

  • Start-to-finish academic and student support services from experienced staff in the student's home country and abroad.
  • Tuition for a full course load in Arts and Social Science disciplines (some universities charge a higher tuition rate for disciplines such as Science/Engineering and/or other specialty areas involving laboratory, studio, or field work, or for discplines such as Business which are heavily in demand).  The SAF charges students the difference between the Arts and Social Science tuition rate and the charges for special subjects as a tuition differential.  Tuition differential fees will be determined once university enrollment is finalized.
  • Housing when classes are in session. In most instances, SAF participants are guaranteed on-campus accommodation.  In large cities such as London where student housing is limited, SAF students will either reside on-campus or in self-catering apartments secured and monitored by the SAF.
  • The cost of meals is not included in most SAF program fees. Many SAF host universities will require students to purchase a meal plan and full disclosure of meal plan options and associated costs will be provided upon the housing placement.
  • At the conclusion of the study abroad experience, SAF will insure that an official academic transcript is forwarded to the student or to the participant's home university.
  • Pre-departure counseling and orientation provided by SAF's experienced staff. Our orientations and publications teach students how to receive emergency help abroad, and our on-site staff are available to provide 24-hour emergency assistance for the duration of the overseas program.
What University or College or Internship Program Should I Choose?

For most students, selecting an appropriate study abroad site will be a challenging task, and SAF encourages students to be open-minded.  First, conduct an honest evaluation of your personal and academic motivation for spending a semester or a year abroad.  Do not restrict yourself to considering only the “most prestigious” or “the best” university or college.  Remember that in the US alone there are over 4,000 universities and colleges, so it should come as no surprise that there are many outstanding institutions whose names are not familiar.  In Canada, Europe, Australia and New Zealand there may be fewer universities but the quality of their academic programs is equally as strong.  

At the very minimum, students should evaluate each study abroad program on the basis of location and climate, size and access to faculty, cost, and available language and academic programs.  Students should also be aware that the SAF has purposely selected our host universities for their commitment to the success of SAF participants.

Please contact your local SAF office for advice on choosing a study program. Our experienced staff will do their best to find a university that will meet your needs, whether you're looking for an unusual subject, a pre-semester or pre-sessional language program, or flexible start dates.

What if my GPA is lower than the published requirement for the university I want to attend?

SAF published GPA minimums are the requirements of our host universities and colleges, which ultimately make the admission decisions. Some universities will not even consider applications from a student with a GPA lower than the published minimum, while other universities are more flexible. We advise you to contact our local office to discuss your GPA and study abroad options.

What if my TOEFL/IELTS scores are lower than the published requirement for the university I want to attend?

SAF published TOEFL/IELTS minimums are the requirements of our host universities and colleges, which ultimately make the admission decisions. Many universities offer pre-semester or pre-sessional intensive English programs to help students become proficient at academic English prior to enrolling in the university proper.  Typically students who have met all of the admission criteria of their host university with the exception of English language proficiency will receive a Conditional Letter of Admission.  This letter effectively offers the student admission once a sufficient TOEFL or IETLS score is provided.  

Please refer to the SAF Program pages on this website to learn more about the pre-semester and pre-sessional ESL programs offered at each SAF host university.  If your preferred host university does not have an ESL program, you may be able to attend the ESL program of another SAF host university and then transfer to your preferred host university upon completion.

Language proficiency requirements in non-English speaking countries vary considerably.  Please refer to specific host university pages in the SAF Program section of this website to learn about specific language requirements, or contact your local SAF Office for detailed information.

We strongly encourage students to contact our local office to discuss the variety of combined language and academic study programs that are available.  

Last Updated: 9/3/11