Pre-Departure Blog // Stuff you should know before going to UMass


Hellooooo !

This blog has been on my heeeeeuuuuuge to do list before setting off for UMass and I am finally getting round to actually doing it!

Don’t worry-the other blogs about my semester abroad will be more exciting/ interesting and funny (we can hope) but as this is my ‘pre-departure’ blog as a global ambassador – I am going to give anyone heading to UMass in particular next year (might be helpful for other US unis too) some tips on what you have to get together in time to go. Because genuinely, this kind of info would have saved me hours.

Firstly – UMass starts later than all the other American unis – so all our other American study buddies have set off and look like they’re having a great time, which has made us more excited.

However, I think UMass has seemed different to the other unis in the fact that a lot of the pre-departure prep is down to you getting your act together, which they don’t help you with. It’s actually been really good for independence because you really have to find everything out yourself. So here’s me helping you a bit because it’s all been a bit of a faff – but I got there in the end AND caaaan’t wait!

  1. UMass accommodation tutorials were so helpful – if you’re heading to UMass I have now been told that SouthWest and Central are the halls to go for (we’ll see how it goes as I managed to get a room in SouthWest)
  2. Before you can get a Visa you have to pay a SEVIS fee (I was so confused by all this) – THEN once you’ve paid that you can apply for your VISA (which you should do early on cos it is expensive and can take a while – Jordan Dunn was next to me in my Visa interview which was pretty exciting and my friend was in there with Little Mix (claim to fame wahey)
  3. To be accepted by UMass, you have to prove you’ve got the money to go, which is obvious. However, what we all found out pretty last minute is that the full fee for your accommodation, food plan and health insurance was due in one big fat transfer before we even got there! – which was kind of a surprise – so be ready for that. Also if you’re an exchange student you have to get the UMass health cover/insurance, which is $705 – more pricey than your usual health insurance but I’m just letting you know!
  4. You can enroll in classes before you sort everything out. So you get given a SPIRE log in and this means you can apply for an accommodation appointment  (a race online for the best rooms essentially) and you can also search classes and find really good ones that might be getting full! So if you think that class will fill up just do it and enrol because you can always change your mind and switch but you don’t want to be left with all the unwanted ones at the end.  Also Manchester recommends you take classes which are of equal ability to the ones at home. YOU want to find classes that start with the number 3 – ideally. E.g Anthro 384-01
  5. Your UMass email is on Gmail – didn’t realise this till I logged in the other day and had about 200 unread emails with some probably quite helpful info :)) brill. So keep checking that.
  6. CHECK YOUR IMMUNISATIONS / INJECTIONS cos they are very on it with that kinda thing – I went on a gap year so had had all the ones I needed but you’ll need to get those done far in advance unless you wanna go private healthcare and spend more £££££££££

So after getting my way through all this stuff, being very slow and sending really annoying emails to a lot of people – I am off on THURSDAY!!

Am very excited despite the fact that the temperature at night right now is -16 degrees – yaaaaaaaay

Will be postin more once I have arrived and got some better stuff to say :))

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