So this again has been on my huge to do list forever and I had all these ideas of how I was going to post loads of blogs and videos etc but what I have learnt if anything from Study Abroad is that THERE IS NO TIME!!!
I’m gonna do a really quick fire round of what you need to know before going to UMASS and then include some of the great stuff I’ve been able to do whilst being here so that anyone coming her next year knows why it’s defo a good choice.
NEED TO KNOW ABOUT UMASS
- It is FREEZING when you get here. I know I know, Massachusetts is a cold state I should have realised but seriously it gets SO COLD. They also use fahrenheit so it’s all very confusing at first. A lot of days at the start were -13/-14 degrees CELSIUS so if you plan to go here get yourself some timberlands and a veryyyyy warm coat
- The food is as good as all the websites say. There’s a sushi bar and you just make whatever you want, it still amazes me to this day
- The first few weeks are hard BUT IT GETS EASIER. I’d say 3 weeks and you’ll have some great friends, stuff to do and know what’s going on. It was harder than I’d anticipated at the start not gonna lie. But so glad I’m here and we’ve made some great friends and done so many things!
- Go to the societies fair early on because otherwise everything seems to happen as if by magic but there is loads to get involved with here – I tried out the theatre society and the radio which are both great!
- The lifestyle of uni is so different to Manchester. In Manchester you have your Monday night Factory, Tuesday night Fifth (?), Wednesday Sport Social, Thursday Mint Lounge etc etc you get the idea. In America, the week is for ‘homework’ and the weekend is where all the socialising mainly happens. Coming from Manchester this was a shock but I guess it works because you get your work done and can defo relax at the weekend!
- Additionally, their grading is weird. In Manchester when you get yourself about 65 you’re happy with yourself. Over here, the work is more constant but it is definitely a different style of grading. I got 100% in a few things and that’s saying something. You have to do the work because you’re tested regularly in most classes buuuut I’d say they’re more lenient with grades.
- All that paperwork you do beforehand that you think they’re going to scrutinise you for, don’t worry. As long as you did it all in England, you’ll be fine and everything kinda just fit into place. They were very organised with moving us in and we’re all happy with our accommodation etc.
- Errrmmm what else – I’d still recommend being very on it with halls assigning. GO FOR SOUTHWEST IT IS THE BEST ONE LOCATION AND SOCIAL WISE. It’s also near the best dining commons (Berkshire and Hampshire)
(This is a Reeses Fluff Brownie I ate – Just wait till you get here there is so much Oreo and Reeses stuff it’s great)
STUFF I’VE DONE / Travel Opportunities
So if you’re lucky (like me) or actually strategically plan to give yourself a good timetable, you can defo make the most of all the surrounding states, places and stuff to do near Amherst.
I’ve managed a few trips to Boston, which have been awesome! When you go (you have to) see either a Celtics or Bruins Game at the TD Garden as well as go to all the different districts (My fave one is the North End, which is the Italian part of Boston and has such classic and amazing American/Italian restaurants) OH and of course eat at Fenueil Market 🙂
I went to Montreal for spring break (it hit -24 degrees C). But the cold was worth it! Tried Poutine (Canadian speciality but it’s kind of just chips and gravy HOWEVER it was much tastier than Kebab King) Would defo recommend. Very cool city and lots to see.
Managed to squeeze in Cancun, Mexico as well (We were in desperate need of some sun) This was obviously really fun and we saw one of the newest 7 wonders of the world, Chichen Itza (and I forgot my global ambassador top I was very annoyed at myself.
Have also done a day trip to New York – how crazy that you can do New York in a day from UMASS – it was pretty rushed however was great to see as it is one of my favourite cities in the world.
The Patriots won the Superbowl while we were here and it was NUTS (that’s all I can really say)
Oh, I was very impressed with us Manchester goers last week as we went to see Noam Chomsky speak. It was an amazing lecture and I’m so glad I went. Hearing him speak in the current political climate was very interesting and obviously we have been exposed to some contrasting political views over here.
Saw Jeremih in concert for FREE (as well as Flo Rida and Mike Posner) haha. UMass puts on a free concert every year for something called ‘Blarney’ in March.
Oh yeah and we went on the ski trip, which was SOOOO FUN you need to go on one if you can when here – we went to Mount Killington in Vermont – great way to meet people and you get to go skiing about 2 hours away from uni!
There’s loads more I should remember but for now I’d say that’s a good summary of what’s been going on. And now it’s April we’ve actually seen the sun so everyone is in better spirits!
I’ve managed to keep busy, which has been great and it is so much fun here. We’ve even made some of our American friends want to come to England so bad that they’ve signed up for a summer course at University of Sussex!
Hope this sums up how much stuff you can do and how great UMass is! Will post another blog asap !