The University of Massachusetts Amherst
University of Massachusetts Amherst

Search Google Appliance


Anna Olsson


Hi I'm Anna! I grew up in Hillandale, Maryland, just outside of Washington D.C. I am currently designing and pursuing my own major, called Managerial Psychology and the Law. This is made possible by the Bachelors Degree with Individual Concentrations Program (BDIC), which is unique to UMass! My major draws from different disciplines, including Business Management, Psychology, and Legal Studies. I am also minoring in Political Science and Sociology. In my spare time, I am a mentor in the Adoption Mentor Program, an avid gym goer, and an enthusiastic dining hall bum.

As a Junior, I can confidently say that committing to UMass was the best decision I ever made. If you ever have any questions about academics or everyday life, feel free to email me at

My Content

Antibes Post: Sushi Shop

sushi roll

When I started blogging from abroad, my intention was to keep my posts general enough that all future-abroaders could find them somewhat useful. I’ve realized, though, that many of my posts are specific to Antibes, so ... if you’re planning on studying in the French Riviera through CEA, enjoy!

Chez Mes Parents

Parents in Paris

Last week, my parents and I shared a week full of relaxing walks, home-cooked food, and lots of Netflix. I know you probably can’t tell from that description, but we spent this last week in Antibes! Indeed, my parents finally came to visit me.

See You in May, UMass!

I haven’t forgotten abut you, UMass.

One of my best friends is graduating a year early and will be walking in this year's graduation. Of course, I plan on being there to watch her walk (jet-lagged, but proud). As an added bonus, I will be getting paid to do it!

Wanted: Frog Lovers

Honestly, it doesn't matter if you love frogs dead or alive. I just need help with the population control of frogs in Antibes. Due to their insanely loud croaking, I haven't had a good night's sleep in over a week now, and I think I’m going a little crazy. This morning, I put eyelash glue on my toothbrush instead of toothpaste. True story.

My Go To Homemade Lunch

Feeding yourself is an extremely important aspect of adulting.

Since I've been abroad, I have realized how spoiled I am by UMass dining halls. There are always freshly chopped vegetables in the stir-fry line, full cooked meals, and made-to-order sushi. In France, I have a grocery store and a kitchen. After eating pasta and pain-au-chocolat for a few weeks, I decided that I needed to start eating healthier meals.

Don't Tell People You're Hot

During my first week in France, I quickly learned that English and French do not directly translate. Before I hopefully give you a chuckle at my own expense, here’s a quick language crash course. In French,  “Je” means “I,” and “chaud(e)” means “hot.”  The verb “Être” means “to be,” and “suis” is the “I-“ form— so “Je suis,” means “I am.” The verb “Avoir” means “to have,” and “ai” is the “I-“ form— so “J’ai (Je+ai),” means “I have.” 

The One Where I Visited My Dad's Old Home

You know how on the television show Friends, Joey plays Dr. Drake Ramoray, a neurosurgeon on the fictitious soap opera Days of Our LivesWell, at one point, while hanging out in Monica and Rachel’s apartment with the whole gang, he comments, “You know, these are the days of our lives” (cue the studio-audience laughter). For the purposes of the show, it was a classic punch-line. However, Joey wasn’t that far off.

Florence and Cinque Terre

This past weekend, I visited some buddies from UMass in Florence, Italy. This was one of the other places where I had considered studying, so I was super excited to check it out. Florence and Antibes are not far from each other. My flight there took just a little over an hour, and my bus back was a five-hour redeye, so I went to sleep in Florence and woke up in Antibes. Easy breezy.

Look Alive: Tips to Outsmart Pick-Pockets When Traveling

Sculpture in Florence

Okay, first off, I know you probably didn't look at this statue from the center of Florence and think, "Oh, this is an article about pick-pocketing?" I didn't really have a better cover picture for this blog post. So I was thought maybe after reading this post, you would see yourself as the man in "armour," and the pick-pockets would be the severed head, though obviously in a much less aggressive sense.  

Up Next..

Funny story. I almost had to write a 40-page single-spaced page paper while abroad. Why? Because I accidentally enrolled myself into the SKEMA Business Program Thesis class! To be fair, the course was called “Business Research.” So I thought, "Hey, I’m studying business. Hey, I like research!"  Long story short, I talked to the business program director, and he generously removed me from the roster. With about two full weeks worth of free time returned to me, I booked some exciting trips that I want to share.

Got Lucky at Lucky Break: The Perfect Study Spot in Antibes

You know the expression, “Don’t judge a book by its cover?”  Well, my favorite study spot/hideaway is a literal hole in the wall. It is located in old town, right next to one of the most popular bars in the area. It’s so unnoticeable that it took me a month-and-a-half to discover it, and I have been to that popular bar at least ten times already. This cafe is named Lucky Break, and luckily, I found it. 

Valentine's Day Done Right

Ah, Valentine’s Day. The day when couples flock to social media to declare their love, and singles avoid it like the plague. Sure, having a best friend for life sounds great, but so does being able to do whatever you want whenever you want. Being single enables you to learn to love yourself, appreciate non-romantic relationships, and independently grow. Being single on Valentine’s Day shouldn't be pitied, it should be celebrated as well.

Portugal, You're the Man

The other weekend, I took a trip somewhere that stole my heart: Portimao, Portugal. Portimao is one of the most beautiful places I have ever been, with long sandy beaches, large rock formations towering over the ocean, and sun that reflects off of the brightly-colored buildings and recharges your soul.

My Gym in Antibes

Free weights

As promised, this blog post is all about my gym in Antibes! Fitness has become one of the most important things in my life ... it is something that keeps me sane and makes me happy. One of my biggest concerns about going abroad was whether I would be able to continue training for the four months I was away from my beloved UMass Recreation Center. If you’re planning to study abroad on the French Riviera and are curious about the gym situation, keep reading!

An Ode to Facetime

Facetime screenshot of a dog

Thank you …

For allowing me to FaceTime my parents, my dog, and my friends (in no particular order). Thank you for allowing me to see the enormous piles of snow in my backyard at home (and reminding me I could be there too, and to stop complaining the weather when it’s 50 degrees and partly sunny).

My Top 5 Google Searches Before Going Abroad: 1 Month Update

Google search bar

I’ve been abroad for about a month now, and I have already had so many amazing experiences! In just four weeks, I have started at a new school, met people from all walks of life, and challenged myself in ways I never thought possible. With all this excitement, I have learned a lot, so I figured it was time for me attempt to answer my initial questions before making my decision to go abroad (If you don't know what questions I’m talking about, check out my blog post “My Top 5 Google Searches Before Going Abroad”)! 

First Impression of a French School

Student ID for the SKEMA business school

After spending two-and-a-half years on the UMass Amherst campus, I thought I had my navigation skills down. I was wrong. The Skema campus, where I'm studying this semester, is built into the beautiful landscape of Sophia Antipolis, France. There are three main buildings: Skema 1, 2, and 3. From my understanding, Skema 1 has more administrative offices and big lecture halls. Skema 2 is the business school (where most of my classes are), and Skema 3 has more classrooms and study space. There are also student dorms, all of which are single apartments.  

Getting Settled In

A view of Antibes taken by a University of Massachusetts student studying abroad

As soon as our site coordinator left our apartment after giving us a tour (check out my apartment tour post if you're curious about my living situation), my roommates and I realized that we were all alone in a foreign country. Luckily, living in North Apartments with my University of Massachusetts roommates last year helped prepare me for the living on your own part—we knew what basics we had to buy for the bathroom and kitchen. However, no amount of living in North, or French classes, could have prepared me for going into a market in France for the first time.

Apartment Tour

Apartment wall with a painting of boats and the word "Welcome"

My apartment in Antibes is located in a residential building, just across the street from the ocean. From our third-floor balcony, we can see the ocean and enjoy the late afternoon sun. Every roommate group in CEA has an apartment in a different building in the town, and I have come to love mine. 

Abroad Announcement

View of the French Riviera, with buildings on hillsides, an ocean view, and snow-capped mountains in the background

Anna here! I still can't believe I’m saying this, but I will be spending the next four months studying at an international business school on the French Riviera! As a result, the theme of my blog posts this semester will be my experiences abroad. My hope is for you to live vicariously through me, until you are able to embark on an international adventure of your own.

Cheap Thrills

Close up of nail polish, captioned "Cheap Thrills"

The off-campus place my friends and I probably visit the most is VIP Nails. Ever since we found this place freshman year, my friends and I have been religiously going every month or so. This amazing nail salon has a huge selection of colors (gel and regular), friendly and professional staff, and amazing prices. They offer gel manicures for just $25 dollars a pop. You can even do a gel color change for $20 (painting with no nail upkeep). They do tend to get busy, but if you call and make an appointment ahead of time, getting in and out is no hassle at all.

Eating Good

Soft pretzel, captioned "Eating Good"

I’m rich! I feel like that businessman you see in movies at a fancy restaurant, who nonchalantly says to the waiter, “Put it all on my tab.” I bet you’re wondering how I could possibly be saying I’m rich when by bank account is in the double digits...


SBS in DC: Summer Internship

SBS in DC summer internship

The College of Social Behavioral Sciences has an amazing program that connects current UMass students with UMass alumni working in Washington, D.C., for an unforgettable summer internship. This year, "SBS in DC" students can land an internship in a congressional office, lobbying firm, or a non-profit advocacy organization. This program really hooks it up. SBS in D.C. covers housing costs at the Washington Intern Student Housing on Capitol Hill, and also offers one academic credit. Additional funding to cover transportation, food, metro card, and other expenses are available based on financial need.

Perks of a Big School

Perks of a big school like the University of Massachusetts

When I was applying to colleges, I remember being attracted to both big and small schools. Both seemed to have their distinct advantages. After two-and-a-half years, I am beyond glad I picked the University of Massachusetts, and I am even more grateful that it is a big school. Here are some perks of bigger universities: 

How to Write a Good Admissions Essay

How to write a good admissions essay for the University of Massachusetts

These days, most colleges — including the University of Massachusetts Amherst — use a holistic admissions review. This means that prospective students are seen as more than just numbers on paper. Factors like personal experiences, strengths, and compatibility with the university are also considered. So, how do you use this to your advantage? You write an unforgettable essay that makes you stand out to admissions officers. Here are some tips to do just that:

Food for Thought

Outdoor tables in Amherst

You know that feeling when you’re carrying a huge load of laundry, and a sock falls out? And then you reach down to pick it up, and a t-shirt begins to fall out? And then, as you scramble to stop the t-shirt from falling out, your pile of clothes combusts and you’re just standing there, defeated, with a pile of clean clothes sprawled across a dirty floor?

What to Expect When Living in a Southwest Tower

View of the Pioneer Valley from the Southwest Towers at UMass Amherst

I lived in Southwest Residential Area towers my first two years of college (Kennedy Tower my freshman year and Washington Tower my sophomore year). When I first toured UMass, I remember feeling as if these giant, concrete buildings were looming over me. From one of the high floors, someone yelled “PICK UMASS!” At the time, I was slightly intimidated by the aggressively enthusiastic Southwest population. However after two years, I have come to love this corner of campus.