Tewodros (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
While handing in my application for the Exchange Program in December 2014, I was wondering why we should have to apply so early considering that I’ve only just arrived at the University of Massachusetts Amherst in January 2016.
13 months later, I’ve come to understand why we had to apply that early. The process starts as soon as you hand in your application and is subject to achieving the required grades for your first semester. Every degree program has its set target for you to be considered for the Exchange Program.
Once you receive your first semester grades around last week of February or early March, the International Program Office (IPO) will make a decision if you’ve met the required criteria or not. Bear in mind that receiving high grades doesn’t guarantee you a place. The IPO prefer all-rounded individuals, so you have to make sure that you convince them with your personal statement while filling in your application.
In March 2015, I was listed amongst the students who were to study abroad. It took time for that to sink in. Since I was studying abroad in second semester, I received my official acceptance letter in November (All year students usually receive theirs earlier). I applied for a visa as soon as I received the acceptance letter. I applied for accommodation in late December as per the University’s requirements. Apparently, I will be living in the Fallowfield of UMass Amherst so I know a bit of what to expect.
My flight to Boston was on the second week of January. Seven and hours direct flight from Heathrow and I was in the USA. Took a coach from outside the Airport and within four hours I was at UMass. Spent the first night at the University Lodge.
The following morning, officials from UMass’ IPO picked me up from the lodge and I was taken to the welcome session where I was provided with my University card and then taken to my residency hall. In the afternoon, we were taken on a bus ride to the nearest shopping mall and later on met our IPO buddies. IPO buddies are similar to UoM’s Peer mentors.
Watch out for future blog posts where I will compare the experience of UMass and UoM.
DISCLAIMER: Please use information from this blog cautiously as the process of the Exchange Program could have changed. Also consider that my case is of the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Each partner University is likely to have their own timeline and procedures. Please do not hesitate to contact me if you need further clarification.