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UMass Amherst Student Mahdiar Edraki on campus.

Politics Hits Close to Home, When Home Is Far Away

Thursday, October 17, 2019

Mahdiar Edraki ’19 may never forget his 2017 winter break. At home in Dubai, he was preparing to return to UMass Amherst to continue his undergraduate studies in mechanical engineering. He had just finished saying tearful goodbyes to his friends when he received word that due to a recently enacted travel ban, he wouldn’t be able to return to campus. 

President Trump had recently signed legislation forbidding entry to the United States for residents of several Muslim-majority countries, including Iran, where Edraki lived until he was seven years old. Although he had been in Dubai for most of his life, it made no difference; as far as the United States was concerned, he was an Iranian citizen. 

Edraki was stuck, and worried about the future of his academic studies and career. “I take my education seriously. I was already thinking about my post-graduation plans, and in a split second, the president took all of that away from me,” he says. “It made me realize how uncertain things are in my life. I thought of all the blessings I had in my life, and how they could be taken away with basically a snap. It made me appreciate my opportunities more.” 

Edraki contacted the International Programs Office (IPO)’s Director of International Student and Scholars Services Kenneth Reade. Before he knew it, an email tree addressing his situation began to grow. Director of Education Abroad Advising and Student Success Carol Lebold and professors in the engineering department worked with IPO advisors to formulate a plan to ensure that Edraki’s education continued uninterrupted.  

Very quickly a solution was reached. With IPO’s assistance, Edraki would study abroad at the University of Waikato in New Zealand. It would be easier to get a visa to go there, and the semester started in February, allowing more time to prepare. He was able to enroll in general education courses, and a dynamics course crucial to his major.  

After lobbying the U.S. embassy for months, and a legal challenge to Trump’s travel ban in the U.S., Edraki was assured he could enter the United States legally. He returned to UMass Amherst the following semester, inspired to repay the university for the help. In gratitude, he immediately began training to be a resident assistant in the dorms. “Everyone wanted to make sure I succeeded and did well,” he says. “It made me feel like I’m part of this community.” 

Edraki and was honored for his “exemplary achievement, initiative and leadership” as one of the university’s 21st Century Leaders when he graduated from UMass Amherst this spring. He will pursue his doctorate in mechanical engineering at Northeastern University in fall 2019.  

Support The International Programs Office

IPO To Host Mandatory Orientation for 2020 Travelers

Friday, October 4, 2019

The International Programs Office (IPO) will host its Pre-Departure Orientation on Thursday, December 5 from 7:00-9:15 p.m. in the Campus Center.

The orientation—mandatory for all students planning to study abroad in Winter 2019/20, Spring 2020, and Calendar Year 2020—provides a combination of practical tips and important information to help students prepare for travel. The event features stories from education abroad alums and international students, country and region-specific information, question and answer sessions, and opportunities to connect with other students studying abroad. Critical health and safety material will also be covered.

If you are unable to attend due to class or work, you will be required to participate in an online makeup session. If you are no longer planning to study abroad, please be sure to log into your UMass Ed Abroad account and change your status.

If you have any questions, please contact the IPO Programming team or your Education Abroad Advisor.

Eckman to Direct Education Abroad in the International Programs Office

Friday, September 27, 2019

The International Programs Office (IPO) recently named Mark Eckman director of education abroad.

Eckman comes to IPO from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee (UWM) where he most recently served as the senior international officer and director of study abroad at the Center for International Education. He also served as partnerships coordinator there in 2007. Previously, Eckman served as assistant eirector of global student services at St. John’s University in New York.

During his time at UWM, Eckman expanded access to programs for students, creating a more robust emergency response protocol, engaged faculty program leaders from traditionally underrepresented academic areas, and positioned UWM as a leader in international education within Wisconsin.  His research interests include fiscal models for international education offices and programs, the establishment of reliable metrics for assessment— both for students and for programs—and the impact of motivation and self-efficacy in the identity development of study abroad participants.

The International Programs Office facilitates a global education network for the University, sending domestic students abroad and bringing international students’ and scholars’ talents and expertise to campus. IPO Associate Provost Kalpen Trivedi says, “I am delighted that Mark Eckman has agreed to join the International Programs Office after a competitive national search.  He has a strong background in faculty engagement and developing innovative study abroad programs.”

Eckman earned a master of education degree in educational leadership in college student personnel from Marquette University as well as a bachelor of arts degree in political science from Beloit College.

He is an accomplished international traveler, having traveled internationally for the first time at the age of five. While in high school, Eckman studied for a summer in Seville, Spain, and as a junior at Beloit, he spent a semester in Quito, Ecuador. During his time at Marquette, he decided to combine his love of international travel and international exchange with his passion for working in education.

Story Via UMass Amherst News and Media Relations

Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost and director of the International Programs Office at the University of Massachusetts Amherst

UMass Director of International Programs Office Awarded Presidential Fellowship

Friday, August 23, 2019

Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost and director of the International Programs Office at the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been awarded a Presidential Fellowship by the Association of International Education Administration (AIEA).

The fellows program provides mentorship for new senior international officers (SIOs), necessarily limited in number and of high prestige. Five fellows are matched with an experienced SIO, who will serve as mentor throughout the school year. Over the last 10 years, the fellows program has provided mentorship for over 40 new SIOs in international higher education.

“Trivedi’s leadership of International Programs has been exceptional, and I am not surprised that the AIEA chose him for this honor,” said John McCarthy, provost and senior vice chancellor of Academic Affairs.

Trivedi has been with the International Programs Office for over six years, and three years in his current role, where he leads campus strategy and initiatives for comprehensive international engagement. Trivedi is a regular contributor and presenter in various international forums and has published on current topics in international higher education. 

He serves on the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community as symposium and training lead for NAFSA: Association of International Educators, as well as being a member of the NAFSA National Trainer Corps. Trivedi is recent vice-chair and current steering committee member of the U.S. Department of State’s Overseas Security Advisory Council (OSAC) Academia Working Group. He also serves on other international education organization boards.

Trivedi was educated in India and the United Kingdom and holds degrees from Gujarat University, Oxford University (Radhakrishnan Scholar) and Cambridge University (Cambridge Commonwealth Trust Scholar). He has a doctorate in Medieval Literature from the University of Manchester (University Research Scholar) and has held a Mellon Research Fellowship at the Huntington Library in San Marino, Calif.

Trivedi joins presidential Fellows from Chicago State University, Howard University, the University of Tennessee Knoxville and Lincoln College.

Story via UMass Amherst News & Media Relations

Eleven Students Studying Abroad with Gilman and Freeman Scholarships in Summer, Fall 2019

Friday, July 12, 2019

Eight students will study abroad in Africa, Asia, and Europe in fall 2019 with the support of Benjamin A. Gilman Scholarships, as well as three studying in Asia with Freeman-Asia scholarships. 

The Gilman Scholarships for fall 2019 are:

  • Ifeoluwa Asere ’21, a public health sciences major from Boston for study in Ghana

  • Ayla Baraka ’21, a Japanese language and literature major from Boston for study in Japan

  • Zaidimary Barreto ‘20, a classics major from Worcester for study in Greece

  • Seamus Dann ’21, a Japanese language and literature major from Holyoke for study in Japan

  • Jeffrey Dunn ’21, a Russian, European & Eurasian studies major from Winthrop, Maine for study in Russia

  • Alexander Griffith ’19, a linguistics and anthropology major from Cummington for study in Israel

  • Alison Kane ’20, an anthropology major from Kingston for study in Russia

  • Adrelys Mateo Santana ’20, a psychology and Spanish double major from Lawrence for study in Spain

The students awarded the Freeman-Asia scholarship for 2019 are:

  • Kamran Noori Shirazi ’21, biochemistry and molecular biology major from East Longmeadow for study in China

  • Madeline Andrews ’21, English and Japanese language and literature double major from Chelmsford for study in Japan

  • Elizabeth Castellon ’21, a theater major from Boston for study in Japan

The UMass Amherst students submitted their applications with the guidance of the International Programs Office (IPO) and financial aid services. IPO offers workshops to bring awareness to these and other scholarship opportunities each semester, working with each student to think critically about their study abroad experience and develop strong applications. 

Full story via University News and Media Relations

 

UMass Amherst Student Daniella Iannuazzi

Education Abroad Alum Iannuzzi Named Commencement Student Speaker

Monday, May 6, 2019

Education Abroad alum Daniella Iannuzzi ’19 will be this year’s Student Speaker at Undergraduate Commencement on Friday, May 10. Iannuzzi, a Finance major and Education minor, went abroad to Italy during her junior year, visiting ten countries across Europe.

Iannuzzi said her experience abroad directly inspired her speech. “My whole speech is about appreciating the little moments in life. I’ve always been a person to appreciate the little moments, and being abroad helped me realize that more,” she says. “When you look back, the little moments are actually the big moments. When I look back and think about my time abroad, everything that was amazing—things like spending time and laughing with my roommates—was a ‘little moment.’”

Full story via UMass Amherst News and Media Relations

UMassGives and International Programs Office Logo

Support IPO During UMassGives

Thursday, April 25, 2019

The International Programs Office (IPO) will be raising money for scholarships during this year’s #UMassGives campaign April 29- 30, 2019. IPO facilitates a global education network for UMass Amherst, sending domestic students abroad and bringing international students’ and scholars’ talents and expertise to campus. A donation to our scholarship fund helps deserving students and scholars realize their goal of participating in a global academic community.

Please support us with a tax-deductible donation on April 30, 2019 from  2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.(Eastern Standard Time) during our #UMassGives power hour.

IPO To Host Mandatory Orientation for Fall 2019 Travelers

Monday, April 1, 2019

The International Programs Office (IPO) will host its Pre-Departure Orientation on Thursday, April 18 from 7:00-9:30 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium.

The orientation—mandatory for all students planning to study abroad in calendar year 2019—provides a combination of practical tips and important information to help students prepare for travel. The event features stories from education abroad alums and international students, country and region-specific information, question and answer sessions, and chances to connect with other students traveling abroad. Critical health and safety material will also be covered.
 
If you are unable to attend due to class or work, you will be required to participate in an online makeup session. If you are no longer planning to study abroad, please be sure to log into your UMass Ed Abroad account and change your status.
 
If you have any questions, please contact the IPO Programming team or your Education Abroad Adviser.
 

Umass Amherst Alum Lily Valentin

Lily Valentin ’12: “Recreate a Life for Yourself Abroad”

Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Many students pursue education abroad to pad their resume and get a better job, and Lily Valentin ’12 wants to help. Valentin works for Adzuna, an English job search engine that aggregates employment opportunities from all over the world into one convenient website.

Founded in 2012, the company has grown to serve jobseekers in 16 countries, including the United States and Canada. “We focus on having every job for every job seeker,” Valentin says. “We use smarter, more effective search tools to get results that match what they’re looking for, making the job search a more enjoyable experience for everyone.”

As a Country Manager for the United States and Canada, Valentin says she coordinates “anything and everything that has to do with running a website from a business perspective—including public relations, marketing, consumer inquiries, business development, and account management.”  Before joining Adzuna, Valentin worked in the beer industry in the U.S. and tech industry in Southeast Asia.

Valentin spent her junior year abroad in Barcelona, Spain, taking courses for her Marketing degree from the Isenberg School of Management. She found the experience to be an immersive complement to studies at UMass Amherst. “Most of the professors were ex-professionals in their fields, and a lot of the coursework drew from real life experience,” she says. “I found that most of the courses encouraged you to work as teams, as opposed to individual work, with a focus on real-life scenarios.”

Although she has always had global ambitions, Valentin credits her experience in Spain with giving her the courage to live abroad permanently. “Studying abroad gave me the added confirmation that it’s possible, and tangible to pick up and relocate,” she says. “With a little bit of support, some research, and some gusto, you can recreate a life for yourself abroad.”

ONSA To Offer Spring Scholarship Deadline Info Sessions, Workshops

Friday, March 1, 2019

With multiple Spring scholarship deadlines looming, The Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) is here to help. ONSA is hosting a series of scholarship workshops and information sessions through March and April.  These sessions promise to provide a solid launching pad for current juniors interested in applying for scholarships with fall 2019 semester deadlines.

Topics covered include Study in Asia, National Scholarships for Study in the U.K. and Ireland, the Fulbright U.S. Student Program (research or teaching English abroad), the Truman Scholarship (public policy), and the Soros Fellowship (graduate school).

Workshops on the nuts-and-bolts of scholarship applications, such as How to Write a Personal Statement and “Translating Your Experiences into Scholarship Applications, will also be offered.

All spring national scholarship info sessions require online registration, with some sessions having limited spacing; students are encouraged to apply early.

ONSA is committed to educating the UMass Amherst community about nationally competitive scholarships, and mentoring students and recent alumni in their pursuit of these opportunities. They provide advisement and support to academically talented students through their application process for highly competitive scholarships, including essay reviews, reflection conversations, and interview practice.

Spring 2019 ONSA Workshops/Info Sessions:

FULBRIGHT FRANCE INFO SESSION Monday, 4 March

10 AM – 11 AM

CHC Conference Room 305

FULBRIGHT INFO SESSION

Wednesday, 6 March                                                

10 AM – 11 AM

Elm Hall classroom 224                                                           

and                                                        

Monday, 18 March

2.30 PM – 3.45 PM Elm Hall classroom 214                                                           

and                                                       

Wednesday, 20 March                                                          

10.10 AM – 11 AM

Elm Hall classroom 224                                                         

and

Wednesday, 27 March (PIZZA LUNCH)

12.20 PM – 1.10 PM

Elm Hall classroom 214

TRUMAN INFO SESSION

Friday, 22 March (PIZZA LUNCH)

12 PM – 1 PM

CHC Conference Room 351

UNITED KINGDOM SCHOLARSHIPS INFO SESSION Monday, 25 March

2 PM – 3 PM

CHC Conference Room 351

STUDY IN ASIA SCHOLARSHIPS INFO SESSION Friday, 29 March

10 AM – 11 AM

CHC Conference Room 351

HOW TO WRITE A PERSONAL STATEMENT Monday, 1 April

2 PM – 3 PM                                                           

and                                         

Wednesday, 3 April                                                               

10 AM – 11 AM

Both in CHC Conference Room 351

HOW TO TRANSLATE EXPERIENCES INTO A SCHOLARSHIP APPLICATION Monday, 8 April

2 PM – 3 PM                                                        

and                                                       

Friday, 12 April                                                      

10 AM – 11 AM

Both in CHC Conference Room 351

SOROS FELLOWSHIP INFO SESSION Tuesday, 23 April

11 AM – 12 PM

CHC Conference Room 351

UMass Amherst Again Named Top Producer of Fulbright Awards

Wednesday, February 20, 2019

For the fourth time in five years, the University of Massachusetts Amherst has been named a “Top Producing Institution” of Fulbright student awards among research colleges and universities. 

The 2018-19 rankings from the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs appear in the Chronicle of Higher Education. With 13 students receiving scholarships in the distinguished competition, UMass Amherst tied with Dartmouth College and Duke University in the 15th position.

UMass Amherst received the same distinction in the Fulbright Student Program for three consecutive years beginning with the 2014-15 rankings. And last year, UMass Amherst was named a top producing institution in the Fulbright Scholars category, with seven faculty members given awards to teach or conduct research on four continents.

Read The Full Story at UMass Amherst New Office

2019 Gilman Scholarship Applications Now Open

Tuesday, February 5, 2019

Applications for Summer 2019, Fall 2019, and Academic Year 2019-2020 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships are now open. The Gilman Scholarship, a U.S. Department of State program, offers grants of up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students of high financial need. Additionally, students studying a critical need language may be eligible to receive the Critical Need Language Award, a supplemental grant of up to $3,000. 

All applications are due Tuesday, March 5, 2019 by 11:59 p.m. (central time).

The Gilman Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad, and the countries and regions where they go, by supporting U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not consider these unique and valuable opportunities due to financial constraints.

Full details, including qualifications are available at the Gilman website. UMass Amherst is typically among the institutions awarded the most Gilman Scholarships every year. Staff at the Education Abroad office proactively work with any student to assure the strongest possible application; interested students must meet with an Education Abroad advisors before applying. Book an appointment by emailing abroad [at] umass.edu or calling 413.545.5247.    

Learn More About Other Scholarships to Help You to Study Abroad 

UMass Amherst Student James Fritz ’19 (Second From Left in Back) And Other Winners of the CAPA Outstanding Achievement Award.

Fritz ’19 Earns Outstanding Achievement Award

Friday, January 25, 2019

James Fritz ’19 was recently recognized with the CAPA Global Education Network’s Outstanding Academic Achievement Award. Fritz, a Political Science major, studied in England in Fall 2018.

Fritz’s coursework focused on politics and the relationship between England and the European Union, including an internship with the Local Government Association. “I was able to work within the Houses of Parliament during the height of the Brexit debates, and was in regular correspondence with actors within those debates,” he says.

“I saw the opportunity to add a very useful experience to my resume that would help in gaining future employment—this experience of global political affairs will surely prove invaluable in my future endeavors,” he adds.

Every semester, CAPA asks its faculty members to nominate deserving students to be honored for outstanding academic achievement. Fritz was recognized for excellent class participation, and a paper on multiculturalism and London as a global city. He calls his stand-out paper “an attempt to greater understand the intricacies of London’s seemingly endless pool of cultural diversity.”

IPO offers an Education Abroad/CAPA scholarship, among many others.

For more information on available CAPA programs, consult our programming page.

UMass Amherst Students Glorimar Estevez  and Cassandra Georges

Estevez, Georges Named Gilman Scholars

Monday, January 7, 2019

Glorimar Estevez ’20 and Cassandra Georges ’19 are furthering their studies in psychology, linguistics, and public health through travel grants, while engaging in communities abroad. The pair are among 26 UMass Amherst students to earn Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships this year.

The Gilman Scholarship grant program enables students of limited financial means to study or intern abroad, gaining skills critical to national security and economic competitiveness. Of more than 10,000 applicants, fewer than 3,000 scholarships are granted annually.
 
Estevez, a sociology and Portuguese major, will use the funds to study abroad in Florianópolis, Brazil, for the 2018–19 academic year. In addition to courses in her majors, she plans to immerse herself in the culture, by teaching English in a local school, which will help her minor in education, and through community gardening.
 
In addition to her academic work and cultural learning, Estevez has one more goal—to become trilingual. She already speaks English and Spanish. “When you’re learning a language, there’s only so much you can do without experiencing the people and culture,” she says.
 
Georges, a public health major, traveled to Chiang Mai, Thailand, this past summer. She worked at an American health clinic and gained a new perspective on global health issues by examining them in an international setting. “Public health is really big in Thailand, and I’m interested in what kind of initiatives they’re tackling there,” she says.

Georges honored her upbringing as a foster child by volunteering at Baan Kingkaew orphanage. “It’s close to my heart,” she says.

The pair each received $2,000 from the Institute of International Education (IIE) Generation Study Abroad Travel Grant. The fund helps students from a broad range of backgrounds participate in academic, internship, or service-learning experiences abroad. They are among 50 of nearly 1,500 applicants to receive funding. 

2018 Holidays Hours In Effect December 20

Tuesday, December 11, 2018

IPO will operate under the following adjusted hours for the upcoming winter break:

Mon, Dec 24       8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Tues, Dec 25       CLOSED
Weds, Dec 26       8:30 a.m.- 4:30 p.m.
Thurs, Dec 27     8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m.
Fri, Dec 28           CLOSED
Mon, Dec 31       CLOSED
Tues, Jan 1          CLOSED

IPO will re-open (and resume normal business hours) on Weds, Jan 2 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

During the Break:

  • ISS & EA Advising by appointment only.
  • ISS WALK-IN advising will resume on Tues, Jan. 22, 2019.
  • Education Abroad Advising Center will re-open on Tues, Jan. 22, 2019.
  • Questions? Please give us a call at 413-545-2710 

     

Associate Provost for International Programs Kalpen Trivedi

Trivedi Named to NAFSA Leadership Post

Friday, November 2, 2018

Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost for international programs, has been appointed to serve as a member of the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community of NAFSA: Association of International Educators.

Trivedi’s two-year term will focus on NAFSA’s conference and symposium planning team.

He will assume the post in January and at the organization’s leadership meeting in Washington, D.C., in February.

NAFSA is the world’s largest nonprofit association dedicated to international education and exchange. It has 10,000 members at more than 3,500 institutions in more than 150 countries.

Story Via UMass Amherst News and Media Relations

UMass Amherst to Celebrate International Education Week Nov. 5 to 9

Wednesday, October 31, 2018

As part of International Education Week, the university will host events Nov. 5-9 that celebrate international exchange, the richness of cultures from around the world, education and community.

Highlights include the inaugural “Stand United, Fight Hate” lecture to be delivered by author and scholar of racism Ibram X. Kendi at the Fine Arts Center on Wednesday, Nov. 7 at 6 p.m. His talk will be based in part on his forthcoming book “How to Be an Antiracist.” The event is free and open to the public, but tickets must be reserved through the Fine Arts Center.

The week kicks off Monday, Nov. 5 from 3:30-5:30 p.m. at the Science and Engineering Library with a Building Bridges art exhibition and reception showcasing UMass Amherst worker-artists. Building Bridges fosters new connections among campus community members from varied backgrounds through art and creative expression, as well as through courses aimed at amplifying the voices of immigrant employees.

Other events include a coffee hour where students and other community members can meet over free coffee, tea and international snacks; panel discussions on safety for women traveling abroad and about race and ethnicity abroad; and the Yuri Kochiyama Cultural Center’s film festival showcasing Asian American experiences with “My Life in China,” “Nailed It” and “Yappie.”

“I’m very gratified that UMass Amherst continues to be a destination of choice for international students and scholars,” says Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost for International Programs. “International Education Week gives us a valuable opportunity to celebrate their presence and community on campus as well as highlight the important work of building an inclusive community that goes on each and every day at UMass.”

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbasway said, “I am delighted that we are again celebrating International Education Week. We are stronger for sharing our cultures, and UMass Amherst will always provide a welcoming and supportive learning environment for all members of our community.”

This fall, the university welcomed more than 1,000 new international undergraduate, graduate and exchange students from 61 countries. In all, international students at UMass Amherst represent more than 115 countries.

The university also surpassed a 2017 record, with 1,344 undergraduate students traveling abroad to study.

International Education Week is a joint initiative of the U.S. departments of State and Education for a worldwide celebration that highlights efforts to prepare citizens for a global environment.

To show support for the UMass Amherst international community, share posts and photos on social media using #IEW2018.

A Full Listing of IEW 2018 Events Is Available Here.

IPO To Host Mandatory Orientation for 2019 Travelers

Tuesday, October 16, 2018

The International Programs Office will host its Pre-Departure Orientation on Thursday, November 29 from 7:00-9:15 p.m. in the Campus Center Auditorium.

The orientation—mandatory for all students planning to study abroad in calendar year 2019—provides a combination of practical tips and important information to help students prepare for travel. The event features stories from education abroad alums and international students, country and region-specific information, question and answer sessions, and chances to connect with other students traveling abroad. Critical health and safety material will also be covered.

If you are unable to attend due to class or work, you will be required to participate in an online makeup session. If you are no longer planning to study abroad, please be sure to log into your UMass Ed Abroad account and change your status.

If you have any questions, please contact the IPO Programming team or your Education Abroad Adviser.

A photo from a previous IPO Photo Contest

Submissions For Fall Photo Contest Now Being Accepted

Friday, September 28, 2018

Submissions are now being accepted for the International Programs Office (IPO)’s annual Education Abroad Photo Contest. We are interested in photos telling the visual story of your time abroad, fully illustrating the immersive and dynamic experience of studying in a foreign country.

We need diverse images—in location, ethnicity, age, and academic focus of student work. Of particular interest are photos that capture: interactions with local residents, aspects of the host country’s culture, the essence of your host school or host city, or your academic experience or educational engagement abroad.

The contest will open for submissions on September 28; students who studied abroad any time between Summer 2017 and now are encouraged to enter.

Submissions must be sent to Joshua Murray by October 26, 2018 at midnight.

IPO, Office for Equity And Inclusion to Offer Free Passports to New Applicants

Wednesday, September 26, 2018

The International Programs Office (IPO) is co-sponsoring a “passport caravan” event for first time passport applicants October 12 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. in the Design Building Atrium.  Students in need of a new passport (not a renewal) who are U.S. citizens, current freshmen, sophomores, or juniors enrolled at UMass Amherst are eligible for a free passport. 

A full application is available here; the application must be filled out ahead of the event.

The Council on International Education Exchange (CIEE) is co-sponsoring the event along with IPO and UMass Amherst's Office for Equity and Inclusion.

To pre-register for the event, or for any questions, email Cristina Sosa.

Jonathan DeMarco ’20: “Engineers—or Anyone— Should Study Abroad”

Friday, September 21, 2018

Jonathan DeMarco ’20 is a Civil Engineering Major at UMass Amherst who studied abroad in France last semester. Before he left, he didn’t think it was possible to study abroad and graduate on time in his major.

DeMarco recently wrote about his experience in a blog at CEA Study Abroad:

“ I was hearing things like, ‘Engineers can’t study abroad, our curriculum won’t allow it,’ or ‘You won’t learn what you need to learn to be an engineer if you go abroad and you’ll have to stay an extra year.’ I would like to say that these things are absolutely not true.”

Read the rest at CEA Study Abroad.

Essentials Sessions to Begin September 4

Thursday, September 6, 2018

Education Abroad Essentials, a mandatory information session for all students interested in studying abroad, begins Tuesday, September 4.

Essentials runs in the International Programs Office (70 Butterfield Terrace) Monday through Friday at 10:00 a.m., 11:00 a.m., 2:00 p.m., and 3:00 p.m., and in the Calipari Room in the W.E.B. DuBois Library Wednesdays at 6 p.m. 

Note: On Thursday, September 6, we will not have Essentials at 2 p.m. or 3 p.m., but all other sessions will be open; there will be no Essentials in the Calipari Room on October 3.

Students who attend will learn:

  • Eligibility requirements
  • How to plan coursework
  • How financing works
  • How to start researching programs that will meet student goals

Study abroad students will not be able to meet with an Education Abroad Program Advisor until they have attended. For more information, email abroad[at]ipo.umass[dot]edu, or call 413.545.5247.   

Applications for 2019 Gilman Scholarships Now Open

Thursday, August 23, 2018

Applications for Spring and Summer 2019 Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarships are now open. The Gilman Scholarship, a U.S. Department of State program, offers grants of up to $5,000 to U.S. undergraduate students of high financial need. Additionally, students studying a critical need language may be eligible to receive the Critical Need Language Award, a supplemental grant of up to $3,000. 

The Gilman Program aims to diversify the kinds of students who study and intern abroad, and the countries and regions where they go, by supporting U.S. undergraduates who might otherwise not consider these unique and valuable opportunities due to financial constraints.

Full details, including qualifications are available at the Gilman website. UMass Amherst is typically among the institutions awarded the most Gilman Scholarships every year. Staff at the Education Abroad office proactively work with any student to assure the strongest possible application; interested students must meet with an Education Abroad advisors before applying. Book an appointment by emailing abroad[at]umass[dot]edu or calling 413.545.5247.    

All applications are due Tuesday, October 2, 2018 by 11:59 p.m. (central time).

Absentee Voting For Fall Study Abroad Students

Friday, July 27, 2018

With all 435 seats in the U.S. House of Representatives and 34 of 100 seats in the Senate on the ballot in November, are you registered to vote while studying abroad? Approximately 300,000 U.S. students studying abroad are eligible to vote by absentee ballot, able to affect national, state and local races. 

U.S. Vote Foundation is a nonprofit, nonpartisan charitable organization supporting overseas U.S. citizens to register and request their overseas absentee ballots. Get started now by registering to vote through their online form.

Umass Student Brennan Dwyer '18

Initiatives Come to Fruition

Tuesday, May 29, 2018

Mechanical engineering major Brennan Dwyer ’18 knew he wanted to study abroad but wasn’t sure that was possible given the sequential courses required for engineering students to graduate in four years. Recognizing that education abroad is challenging for some majors, the International Programs Office (IPO) found new partners to give engineering and nursing majors opportunities for international experiences.

For the first time in the summer of 2016, students from the College of Nursing were able to enroll in courses at University College Dublin, Ireland, and University of Oviedo, Spain.  For engineering students, IPO now collaborates with three new universities that offer engineering courses: Heriot-Watt University in Scotland, Hong Kong University of Science and Technology, and Swansea University in the United Kingdom. As a result, in 2015–16, 17 students took two or more engineering courses abroad, compared to seven in 2014–15.

Dwyer took three engineering courses at University College Dublin, an existing partner,in the 2016 spring semester that matched the courses he would have enrolled in at UMass Amherst. “I really wanted to make this work,” he says, “When else in your life are you going to be able to change countries and schools?” He says he was exposed to a different style of teaching and learning and enjoyed living in Ireland and learning more in-depth its history and culture. “It forced me to be a bit more outgoing and independent,” Dwyer says.

In the new initiative for nursing students, they have the option of studying in Irish and Spanish universities, taking up to three courses.  In a new partnership, the Spanish department has joined the nursing college and IPO by accepting credits from Oviedo that can be applied to a Spanish certificate.

Umass Amherst Alum Evialina Yakimovich ’17

Study Abroad Yields German Scholarship

Tuesday, May 22, 2018

For Evialina Yakimovich ’17, a year of study abroad in Germany led to a German summer internship and scholarship for graduate school. The management and sustainable development major is attending the University of Mannheim in Baden–Württemberg on a full scholarship awarded by DAAD (German Academic Exchange Service).

She began her adventures in Germany as a junior when she spent the year at the University of Mannheim. She recalls that even before the year was over, she wasthinking, “How do I get back here?” One way was winning the DAAD scholarship.

She chose the University of Mannheim based on its reputation for excellent management and business programs and affordability. She says courses were taught by professors from all over the world.For example, she studied sustainability and business with faculty from Australia. Determined to extend her stay in Germany, she secured in the summer of 2016 an internship at BASF Corporation, one of the world’s largest chemical companies. During the internship, Yakimovich continued her cross–cultural experiences by meeting other interns and employees from all over the world.

Academically, she says she developed skills in international marketing. After an intensive language course and a year of practicing daily essentials, like ordering coffee, she overcame the language barrier.

“Every day I was forced to go out of my comfort zone and what is familiar to me.”

She says she was aided by establishing routines and sharing a hobby. A rock climber, Yakimovich says getting to know other climbers at a rock gym near the Mannheim campus helped her branch out from the American and international student community and make German friends. —Ashley Nadeau

Moralee to Lead UMass Oxford Summer Seminar

Wednesday, May 9, 2018

Jason Moralee, Department of History, has been appointed as the incoming Director of the UMass Oxford Summer Seminar. He will assume this position in Fall of 2018, succeeding the outgoing director, Jenny Adams, Department of English.

In assuming the directorship, Morlaee will take charge of a program started over 50 years ago by former English Professor Ernest Hofer. One of the oldest American summer programs in Oxford, the Summer Seminar allows students to take two UMass honors courses in the humanities, social sciences, and natural sciences during a six-week term at Trinity College. Summer 2018 course offerings will include Shakespeare, Jane Austen, the Economics of Brexit, British Politics, and British Perspectives on the American Revolution. In addition to these courses taught by British academics, three UMass faculty will teach two courses: Children, Teens, and Media (Erica Scharrer and Lynn Phillips, Department of Communication) and The Psychology of Sherlock Holmes (Tammy Rahhal, Department of Psychology).

The dates for this year’s seminar are June 30 – August 10. In addition to courses, students will take field trips to London, Bath, and Stratford. Applications for next summer’s program will be available this summer via the Oxford Summer Seminar website.

“The International Programs Office is excited to work with Dr. Moralee and continue the brilliant work that Professor Adams has done in aligning the Oxford Summer Seminar with the UMass curriculum and the needs of the 21st century study abroad student,” said Stacy Lutsch, IPO’s Director of Academic Initiatives.

Cooper Heilmann ‘19: Look to Denmark For Climate Change Solutions

Tuesday, May 8, 2018

Cooper Heilmann '19 recently returned from a “life-changing” 5 months abroad in Denmark with a fresh perspective on combating climate change in the U.S.

“Danish climate awareness extends all the way to the local and individual level. Upon arriving in Copenhagen, I instantly noticed a cleanliness in the air, a noticeably quieter buzz of traffic. Bicycle highways that run parallel to every street and extend far into the suburbs are populated by hundreds of cyclists commuting to and from work," Heilmann writes. "The city has provided bicycle parking lots and traffic infrastructure, as well as an efficient bus and metro system accessed by quickly tapping your 'rejsekort' (travel card) on an electronic scanner.”

Heilmann recommends embracing local solutions to climate change with the hopes of expanding the efforts nationally. "While higher levels of government may be hamstrung by lengthy discussion and the influence of interest groups, local governments can take their own initiatives to foster sustainable living and practice," he says.

Read the entire column in the Daily Hampshire Gazette.

Nancy Condon, Community Ambassador in the International Programs Office

Nancy Condon, IPO Community Ambassador, to Retire After 23 Years

Wednesday, May 2, 2018

After 23 years at UMass as Advisor to International Scholars in the International Programs Office (IPO), Nancy Condon will retire this month. In addition to advising international scholars, faculty and staff on the nuances of US immigration regulations, Nancy has also been instrumental in coordinating the “Round the World Women” program in conjunction with the Amherst Town Committee for International Students. Over the years, Nancy has also been very involved professionally with NAFSA: Association of International Educators, and the International Student & Scholar Forum, as well as the Five College International Office Group.

“It has been a pleasure working with and being a part of the immigration process for thousands of UMass researchers and professors over the past 23 years,” states Condon.  “From the initial inquiry by the departments; to the preparation of visa documents; to the trepidation of consular interviews; and finally, sharing the excitement of a new home in the UMass Amherst community, working at the International Programs Office has given me an appreciation for the similarities and differences of cultures and a lifetime of worldwide friendships.”

Ken Reade, Director of International Student and Scholar Services, adds “Nancy has literally welcomed the world to UMass Amherst over the course of her 23-year career in the IPO. Her kindness, care and generosity to the international scholar community has touched the lives of thousands. Nancy has served as a loyal ambassador to UMass, and its extended global reach, and we all owe her a tremendous amount of gratitude for her loyal service. I am delighted for her and her family upon her retirement and wish her all the very best.”

The campus community is invited to attend a reception in honor of Nancy on Wednesday, May 9 from 5:00 p.m. -7:00 p.m. in the Marriott Center (11th floor of the Campus Center). Please RSVP to Kstender[at]umass[dot]edu by May 7 if you would like to attend.

Umass Student Kailee Kennedy ’18

Kailee Kennedy Study Abroad: Best Year of My Life

Monday, April 30, 2018

Kailee Kennedy ’18 realized the importance of diversifying her study abroad experience and chose three unique opportunities for expanding her practical knowledge of public health
and intercultural communications. After securing three scholarships to fund the bulk of her trips, the Commonwealth Honors College student with a double major in public health and Spanish was able to fulfill her study-abroad aspirations.

In the summer of 2016, she studied Spanish in Santiago, Dominican Republic, and volunteered at a public health clinic. Just a few months later, Kennedy studied global and public health in Manipal, India, with the Alliance for Global Education, an International Programs Office partner.
Lastly, in spring 2017, she studied health care and medical Spanish and volunteered and led workshops at a community-health facility that serves individuals with HIV in San José, Costa Rica. “It was the best year of my life,” Kennedy says.

Kennedy understands firsthand the importance of internationalization and cultural immersion. Ultimately, she believes that studying abroad not only taught her about other countries and
communities, it also gave her a more accurate perspective on American culture and public health policy. “I realized that problems are part of every country, and you need to educate yourself, and you need to adapt and not impose your cultural beliefs on others.”

Of her three different experiences, Kennedy notes that her time in India was the most challenging and rewarding. While taking classes at Manipal University, Kennedy completed a research project on adolescent health in rural and urban areas. Her research examined the differences between the public and private sector and considered how various groups approach taboo topics, such as reproductive health, mental health, and substance abuse.
—Ashley Nadeau

Help Support Students Like Kailee With a Donation to our Scholarship Fund During #UMassGives

A group photo of 15 Emerging Scholars in Commonwealth Honors College

Emerging Scholars Study Abroad

Wednesday, April 25, 2018

In a pilot program, 15 Emerging Scholars in Commonwealth Honors College spent two weeks during the summer in the Dominican Republic learning the country’s history and culture—and even finding the time to build a vegetable garden at an elementary school. The study-abroad
experience for the first-generation college students is part of an effort by the campus to increase participation in international education.

“Increasing study abroad is one of the ways we help students grow socially, academically, and intellectually,” says Alexandrina Deschamps, associate dean at the honors college and director of the Emerging Scholars Program. Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost for international programs, says students from diverse and underrepresented groups at UMass Amherst, and across the country, typically don’t consider education abroad. “We are trying to change the face of study abroad to be more inclusive and rewrite the narrative that education abroad is not just an elite experience,” he says.

Spearheaded by Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy, the International Programs
Office (IPO), the honors college, and the Council of International Educational Exchange partnered to create and cofund the program. Deschamps, who was responsible for the four-credit course that culminated in the trip, says the pre-trip studies included examining the tensions between Haitians and Dominicans, as well as the history, geo-politics, and socioeconomics of the island nation.

Faculty members Mari Castañeda, chair of the communication department, and Joseph Krupczynski, director of Civic Engagement and Service Learning, accompanied the students. “As faculty, we provided ways for the students to connect their experiences in the Dominican Republic with their education at UMass. We had multiple academic discussions and group reflections during the trip that allowed the students to understand how their personal experiences are related to critical thoughts and ideas,” says Krupczynski.

The students, mostly sophomores who spent their first year in the Emerging Scholars Residential Academic Program, say their two weeks in the Dominican Republic taught them many personal and academic lessons. They experienced the challenge of language barriers, the perspective of being an outsider, and adapting to a new culture. “The students learned the important lesson of stepping out of their comfort zone and being open to non-U.S. modes of thinking and ways of life,” notes Castañeda.

Maria Arenas ’20, a comparative literature major, says she enjoyed learning the differences among bachata, merengue, and salsa dances. But on a deeper level, she says, the group’s work to build a vegetable garden for young students for educational and culinary purposes left
an indelible memory. “The garden,” she says, “will leave something meaningful and lasting for the children.” Jonathan  Maciel ’19, a junior economics major, says visits to museums were inspiring. “It’s one thing to learn about this history in class, but to actually stand in the places where the events took place is a special kind of learning experience,” he says.
—Judith B. Cameron
 

Support The International Programs Office

 

Diversity Abroad & StudentUniverse Scholarship Contest: $500 + Round Trip Airfare

Tuesday, February 6, 2018

Diversity Abroad is excited to announce they have partnered with StudentUniverse for the #PictureMeAbroad Contest to offer a $500 scholarship and round-trip international airfare for students studying abroad in the Summer 2018, Fall 2018 and Spring 2019 semesters.

The #PictureMeAbroad contest seeks to showcase the changing face of study abroad through the experiences of the DiversityAbroad.com student community. One challenge to increasing the participation of underrepresented and diverse students in Study Abroad programming is that marketing initiatives have historically bypassed these populations leaving many students to ask the question “are these programs really for me?” To combat this trend, the #PictureMeAbroad Contest seeks to highlight students from diverse and non-traditional backgrounds by asking them to submit short videos highlighting their background and why they would like to study abroad.

Ethnic/racial minority, high financial need and first generation college students are strongly encouraged to apply.

There are two prizes available: one grand prize winner will receive a $500 Diversity Abroad Scholarship + round-trip international airfare provided by StudentUniverse. Runner up will receive a Diversity Abroad and StudentUniverse Swag Bag + a Bluetooth Smartphone Travel Kit.

To learn how to enter and for more information, students should visit: https://www.diversityabroad.com/contest

The deadline to apply is February 28, 2018 at 11:59 pm PST. Winners will be selected and announced two weeks after the end of the contest.

 

 

International Education Week: A Global Celebration at UMass Amherst

Wednesday, November 15, 2017

Thank you, UMass Amherst!  #YouAreWelcomeHere!

 

Gilman Scholarship: Japan Adventures

Wednesday, October 25, 2017

Sharon Chen, Communication '18, spent her Spring 2017 semester at Kansai Gaidi in Japan. She was one of fourteen UMass students awarded the Gilman International Scholarship- Official Page for their education abroad.

Check out her adventures in Osaka, Tokyo, Kyoto, Nara, Kobe, Wakayama, Nagoya, Sapporo, and Hiroshima!

Kicking Across Borders

Monday, June 12, 2017

Five years ago, Eliza Shirazi ’13 was a communication and public health major at UMass Amherst, studying abroad in South Africa, and teaching a kickboxing-inspired group fitness class. Now, Shirazi, founder of Kick It By Eliza, has 60 trained instructors and plans to bring the unique fitness program to international venues. “I wouldn’t have the courage to do all this without the experience of study abroad,” Shirazi says. 

Shirazi first began teaching “Kick It By Eliza” during her first year at UMass Amherst. With experience, she has refined the music-driven movement approach to fitness and female empowerment. This summer, the popular class was offered at Flying Kites, a Boston-based charitable organization that operates a school in Kenya. Further helping the charity, the Kick It Crew trekked for Flying Kites up Mt. Kilimanjaro in Tanzania.  

Her success, she notes, was launched during her junior year abroad at the University of Cape Town in South Africa. At Cape Town, she taught “Kick It” to her fellow students. Shirazi explains that group fitness hadn’t been very popular at the school, but by the end of the semester the mirrors of her class would be fogged up by the heat of the participants. “Kick It” had become one of the most popular fitness classes on the Cape Town campus. 

Shirazi cites that class as one of the highlights of her study-abroad experience and says that it gave her the confidence to start her own business. She knew that if her class could work in another country and help her reach across cultural differences, she could take it anywhere. And she plans to. Kick It By Eliza is developing  “Kick It International,” with classes taught all over the world.  

Jakob Lengacher; IPO Alumni Success Story

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

As Jakob Lengacher ’15 tells it, he enrolled at UMass Amherst to pursue a degree in physics and took a Chinese language class for fun. When he failed his first physics exam but aced assignments in Chinese, Lengacher realized he was in the wrong major. He is now a Fulbright scholar at Heilonjiang University in Harbin, China, where he spent his junior year abroad. “It was phenomenal, in a word. I wouldn’t have been able to speak Chinese nearly so well if I hadn’t done a year there.” 

After changing his major to Chinese, Lengacher spent a year abroad to develop his Chinese language skills. A member of Commonwealth Honors College, he won a prestigious Boren Scholarship. The Boren Scholarship funds undergraduates studying less commonly taught languages and who wish to pursue a career in national security. Lengacher, who was initially drawn to physics because of his dedication to nuclear nonproliferation, says he was a great fit for the federal program. 

Lengacher’s Fulbright Scholarship is an extension of his undergraduate study-abroad experiences. His research studies the Shanghai Corporation Organization, an intergovernmental international organization formed in 2001 to promote peace among the People’s Republic of China, the Russian Federation, and other neighboring countries. Lengacher’s project examines the organization’s role in the development of renewable energy and environmental policy. Lengacher emphasizes the importance of people-to-people contact for diplomacy. As he sees it, “research is just half of the Fulbright. The cultural exchange is as important if not more so.”  

Beyond improving his Chinese, Lengacher credits his study-abroad experience with his current achievements and personal development. He says that study abroad gave him validation for his choice of major, helped him realize the professional applications of his degree, and built his self-confidence. And he has the accolades to prove it—a year after his graduation, he was recognized by Yale University’s China Hands magazine in its 2016 list of 25 Under 25: Leaders in U.S. China Relations.