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Academic Trips

Designed With a Focus on Specific Course Objectives

Student-Athletes Abroad has exceptional resources, relationships, and operational expertise in several locations around the globe. Our faculty-led programs open the door to world-class, sports-focused educational opportunities as well as trip planning support including curriculum design, enrollment strategy, marketing materials, itinerary design, travel logistics and on the ground program operations.  Our programs have high appeal among student-athletes as well as students with sport related academic or professional interests.

Cape Town, South Africa

South Africa offers a wide variety of unique educational opportunities for faculty-led programs. The country has one of the world's most intense recent histories of racism and oppression and perhaps one of the most promising examples of a peaceful transition to democracy. Sport undoubtedly played an important role in South Africa's history, specifically unification post-Apartheid, and continues to be used as a tool to increase opportunities for disadvantaged groups in pursuit of a more equitable society.

Our network in Cape Town provides access to important political figures for guest lectures, as well as a long list of grassroots Sport for Development NGOs who are using sport to improve local communities. We also have year-round access to the Sport Science Institute of South Africa's lecture rooms and gym facilities.

San Jose, Costa Rica

Our custom programs in Costa Rica provide a geographically and economically accessible option for Jan-Term, Spring Break, Maymester, or Summer terms. These programs typically run 1-4 weeks in length.

  • Faculty have access to our network of partners in both San Jose and Playa Flamingo which includes non-profit organizations, healthcare providers, professional sports clubs and governing bodies, public and private schools, and more.

  • We also provide classroom facilities for lectures/workshops in both locations, as well as an option for Spanish language instruction.

Program Spotlights:


Stanford University in South Africa

July 2018 - We partnered with Stanford University to create a custom 3-week faculty-led program in Cape Town. The course was titled Soccer and Rugby in South Africa: A Racial Divide and Future Transformation. Featured guest speakers are local experts in the History of Sport (Cricket, Soccer, Rugby) and the History & Demographics of South Africa, as well as former local/regional government officials and leaders in local sports federations. Three main themes emerged through our site visits, lectures, and excursions: Women in Sport in South Africa, Boycotting of Rugby, Soccer, and Cricket in South Africa, and the 2010 Soccer World Cup. Our staff in South Africa arranged all aspects of the program from hotels, ground transportation, daily schedules, guest speakers, and cultural excursions. 

Wittenberg University in Costa Rica

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Since 2017, we have hosted a group of Wittenberg University students and one resident faculty member in Costa Rica. This semester-long program begins in San Jose, where the resident faculty member teaches elective courses and the students are also directly enrolled in courses at Veritas University -- one of the top ranked institutions in Central America. The groups spends the last month of the program on our Playa Flamingo campus, where the students engage in service-learning projects and internships. Previous faculty members have come from Biology, Exercise Science, and Communications departments.


Stanford University Student

South Africa, 2018

"Before this trip with SAA, I had never been on the continent of Africa, and my knowledge of South African history and sports was extremely limited. After the end of three weeks of gyming, exploring and interacting with amazing guest speakers, locals and so many other friendly people, I am very grateful to have had the chance to learn about South African culture and history through the lens of sports.


SAA organization helped everything run smoothly. Nawaal was an excellent resource and remains one of the main reasons why this trip is so memorable, and why I hope to visit South Africa again in the future."


Wittenberg University Student

Costa Rica, 2022

"The service opportunities in Playa Flamingo widened my worldview and changed me. Being able to embed ourselves in an already tight knit community and having that be practically the only thing we did was an amazing experience.

I honestly went into it terrified. I didn't know any Spanish, I was an introvert, and I thought I'd get tired of being there. By the end, that all changed. I'm pretty capable in Spanish now, am kind of outgoing, and I cried when we left. SAA was a life-changing experience that I would suggest to anyone. Costa Rican culture changed my priorities in life and now I'm happier for it."

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