A benefit of going to such a large school like UMass is that there are countless disciplines. If you’re at all unsure of what you want to study, I’m sure you will find something you like out of the 90 majors offered here. If not, you can always build your own with BDIC! Each academic college has specific requirements that must be met in order to get your degree. For example, I’m a member of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences (SBS), which entails that we receive a “Global Education.” This includes your choice of either 15 credits of a language, or six credits of the language and nine of its accompanied area study. I chose French as my place of study and am currently finishing my second language class before I move to to my area studies.
The French department, although small in comparison to other programs, has a ton of friendly professors to provide valuable resources for classes and around campus. This semester, I’ve attended multiple "movie nights" hosted by my instructor that are open to everyone, where pizza is served and we watch a (subtitled) French movie. Here, I’ve met people from other French classes and have been able to enjoy a French film (and get free food, of course). You don't have to be a French student to go to these events. You don't even have to be studying any language — the department's events are all-inclusive.
Similar events are hosted by other language departments, which congregate weekly for “Coffee Hour” on the third floor of Herter Hall. At Coffee Hour you can ask questions about class in a relaxed setting, meet other students studying a language, or simply just drink coffee and bond with your teachers! The language departments aim to make for a welcoming environment while providing help to students if they need it. Instructors understand and are accomdating to the fact that students come with a variety of background knowledge, and that learning a new language can be difficult. Here at UMass, we are fortunate to be provided with kind teachers who are extremely willing to help.
Even if you’re not studying French, the language departments are always sponsoring fun events open to everybody around campus. These are a great way to meet people in the program and grow stronger relationships with your professors (which is extremely valuable later on when you apply for jobs). Even the little events hosted in your department, like a movie night, can be extremely beneficial for you in the long term — plus, they’re fun!