IPO News

Congratulations to UMass Amherst Gilman Scholarship Award Recipients

Thursday, May 5, 2022

On May 4th, the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship announced its awardees for the March 2022 application deadline. We are very proud to announce that 11 UMass Amherst students were awarded scholarships. They join a community of 34,000 students, scholars, and alumni from around the country.

The Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship is funded by the US Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA). For more than 50 years, the ECA has sought to cultivate mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries to promote friendly, and peaceful relations. A Gilman Scholarship enables American students of limited financial means to gain proficiency in diverse languages and cultures, skills that are critically important to their academic and career development.

If you think you might be eligible for a Gilman Scholarship and you are interested in applying, please contact Education Abroad at the International Programs Office.

student on bike

I Am UMass Abroad: Hannah Sternburg

Friday, April 1, 2022

Hannah Sternburg ‘22 (Political Science) spent Fall 2021 studying at Vrije Universiteit in Amsterdam, Netherlands. Above is a photo of Hannah riding her bike into the city from her apartment. “This was in November when the rain finally broke and we got some sunshine. You can see I've got my bags attached to the back of my bike, as my bike was my main form of transportation. I put everything in them: yoga mats, pizza, laundry, and groceries.” Read her reflections on her time abroad, including her thoughts on Amsterdam itself, her coursework, and Dutch food, language and celebrating an international Thanksgiving in Amsterdam below.


I chose to study abroad in Amsterdam at Vrije Universiteit (VU) because my grandparents took a trip there when I was in middle school and I thought it was the coolest thing. I'd heard that Amsterdam is a really open and welcoming place so I wanted to see for myself what the hype was all about. 

Living in Amsterdam and studying at VU was drastically different from UMass, not just because it's in another country, but because it's a city school as well. The city is such a special place! Everything is a bit smaller in the Netherlands compared to the States, from the showers to cars. There are also almost twice as many bikes as people in Amsterdam, so the bike culture is something really cool and different about Amsterdam. 

One of my favorite classes at VU was called Amsterdam Jewish Culture. As someone who is Jewish, I wanted to learn more about my own people's history and culture in an area that has such a rich and well-documented history. My class got to go on excursions every week to really cool locations within and outside the city that were relevant to the course. We got to go to the OLDEST functioning Jewish library in the world, Ets Haim, and speak with a historian who works there. 

Something that surprised me about the academic culture is the workload and class structure. Almost all my classes had weekly readings assigned with no real classwork to go along. Don't be fooled though, the grade for the class was contingent on either just an exam or final paper. There was no messing around, I was responsible for keeping up with the course and performing well on the final cumulative exam which essentially determined my entire course grade. 

One of my favorite foods from the Netherlands are stroopwafels. They are these thin pancake-like things with caramel in the middle and they're the perfect size to put over a mug of hot tea. The steam from the tea melts the wafel and the sugary delight flavors the drink. 

A great saying in Dutch is lekker. This doesn't really have a direct translation to English but it means yummy/attractive/enjoyable. It can apply to food, people, experiences, really anything that feels I guess, lekker

A profound moment I had while abroad was having Thanksgiving. I lived on a floor of all international students from across the world who never experienced a Thanksgiving. We all sat down, cleaned the usually messy kitchen, and cooked a massive meal of various foods from people's individual cultures. It was something I had never experienced before, but it was really cool to see all different kinds of people come together with their sense of home to create a giant lekker meal. We even had the post dinner walk where we were laughing, chatting, and enjoying each other's company while walking off all the delicious food.

I Am UMass Abroad: Victoria Crockett

Thursday, March 10, 2022

Victoria Crockett '23 (English) spent the Fall 2021 semester abroad in London with Arcadia University. She had this to say:

“I had the incredible opportunity to study abroad in London in the Fall 2021 semester. My time abroad changed my undergraduate career in ways I never expected it to. One thing I was worried about was making friends because I was the only student from UMass going on my particular program, but I ended up making close-knit friendships that will probably last a lifetime. We did everything together, from studying and going to class, or weekend trips in Europe and exploring England. The students I met on the program are easily one of the best things that came out of my study abroad experience, alongside all of the adventures we had together. Traveling is one of the best ways to learn. 

With COVID, study abroad can be even more challenging but you can still accomplish your goals as long as you follow the guidelines to ensure your own safety. My experience in London was luckily not affected by the virus and I was able to see, learn, and do everything I wanted to over those three and a half months. From walking down the streets in the morning and stopping at the coffee shops, reading a book in Green Park, to walking down the Thames river at night, London seemed to have endless experiences around every corner. England has a diverse spectrum of culture, as a day trip to the countryside allows you to see the ruralness and raw beauty of the English landscape. At the end of the program it truly felt like I was leaving my home behind. Although London isn't my actual home, it truly feels like I left part of myself behind there. I've grown immensely as an individual, a student, and a traveler because of my study abroad experience, and wouldn't change anything about it."

Advising Center Closed for Spring Break

Thursday, March 10, 2022

The Education Abroad Advising Center is closed during Spring Break and EA Advisors are available by appointment.  The Advising Center will reopen at 10am on Monday, March 21.

vet science student in front of elephant

I Am UMass Abroad: Elizabeth Poirier

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Elizabeth Poirier is currently abroad on CIS Abroad's Veterinary Science Semester in Thailand. Here's what she has to say about the experience:

Beautiful coral reefs, vast jungle, bustling cities, and quaint mountain villages - Thailand truly has it all! For the past seven weeks, I have been studying veterinary science abroad with a small group of students from around the United States. When we first arrived, it was nerve-wracking to be nearly independent in a foreign country, but being immersed in Thai language and culture, it was easier than expected to settle in. You can bet that after six weeks, I am now a professional at ordering my new favorite foods and bargaining at night markets in Thai!

For me, it has been really exciting to be able to travel around the country, switching up my classes and instructors every few weeks. By traveling often, I can try delicious foods from different regions, experience changing weather, meet new people, and work hands-on with animals that I would not have access to in Massachusetts, like Asian elephants, street dogs, and sea turtles. My favorite course so far has been Elephant Management and Medicine. For two weeks, our classroom was an elephant sanctuary where I expanded on my understanding of the role of animals in Buddhism and tourism, learned about common diseases affecting elephants, performed medical treatments, and more. Currently, I am on the tropical island of Koh Tao earning my SCUBA certification and taking marine conservation, marine biology, and research-focused courses. 

A few pieces of advice I would offer to anyone starting their study abroad journey is to take advantage of your free time and to visit some of the locals’ favorite spots. By visiting local markets, temples, and restaurants, I have been able to practice the Thai language, try more authentic foods, and get a feel for life in Thailand. More importantly, utilize the time that you have, but be sure to give yourself breaks when needed. Thirteen weeks go by faster than you'd think!

Resources for Students and Scholars Affected by the Conflict Between Russia and Ukraine

Wednesday, March 2, 2022

Last updated April 12, 2022

The International Programs Office wishes to extend its support to all students and scholars who find themselves affected by the current conflict as a result of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.  We recognize how challenging it can be to focus on academic life when you are worried about family, friends, and geopolitical instability in your home country.  In addition to IPO, we would like to offer the following resources for anyone who is affected by or concerned about the situation in Ukraine.  Please do not hesitate to contact your IPO advisor if we can support you in any way.

UMass Resources and Events

External Resources

Ways to Assist in Ukraine

Academic and News Resources

I Am UMass Abroad: Abby Curto

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Meet Abby Curto '23 (Public Health), our newest Peer Advisor.

​​Hi! My name is Abby Curto. I am a junior and in Fall 2021 I studied abroad in Verona, Italy. I am a public health major with a minor in education. Even though I went abroad in the middle of a pandemic, studying abroad was one of the best decisions I have ever made! While I was abroad, I was able to travel all over Italy and to 6 other countries. I ate tons of yummy food and made lots of new friends and memories!

One of my favorite memories from being abroad was attending a soccer game in Milan, Italy. Soccer is a huge part of Italian culture, so we decided to go to a game where Milan was playing Verona. The game was rowdy and fun and unlike any sports event in the US. I think if anyone is considering studying abroad, my advice is to do it! Studying abroad is truly a life-changing experience where your perspective on the world and different cultures changes drastically. You don’t get many opportunities in life to just drop what you are doing and go travel the world and live in a different country for 3 months so do it!

Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship

Wednesday, January 26, 2022

Ready to change the world? Apply for the Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship, a full scholarship to study abroad with a cohort of student leaders from around the country.

The Frederick Douglass Global Fellowship was founded to empower students of color with a transformative experience abroad, much like Frederick Douglass was inspired by his travels. All program fees are covered, as well as airfare.

This year’s cohort is once again co-sponsored by the Irish Department of Foreign Affairs to commemorate the 175th anniversary of Douglass’s four-month journey around Ireland. You’ll be based in Dublin and visit other cities where Douglass campaigned, while meeting with government leaders and social justice activists.

This opportunity is offered by CIEE, a student exchange organization whom we partner with. As a next step, start your application at www.CIEE.ORG/FDGF. (If you enter your name and email, you’ll receive updates before the February 14 deadline.) All eligible students who submit an application also qualify for a $1,500 scholarship towards any CIEE summer program. Questions? Email FDGF[at]ciee[dot]org.

I Am UMass Abroad: Tanishq Agrawal

Thursday, December 9, 2021

Tanishq Agrawal ‘22 (Managerial Economics)

I have always been curious to learn about things outside my surroundings. Growing up in India, I was fascinated by the concept that people from different parts of the world lead a different life. So when, for the first time, my parents took me abroad to travel, it blew my mind. I was mesmerized by the architecture and fast-paced environment of London. Imagine me, as a six year old, seeing a double decker bus for the first time! This experience also ignited my interest to explore and visit more places. 

I decided to earn my undergraduate degree abroad, at UMass Amherst, and deciding to also study abroad was a no-brainer for me. I had already learned that moving to a different country to study is extremely rewarding because it forces you to be more independent, and that it is liberating to live in a different country all by yourself. 

Prior to attending University of Auckland, in New Zealand, I had heard a lot of good things about New Zealand, and it did not disappoint. Auckland had the perfect balance of being a metropolitan city but still laid back. Living in the heart of Auckland was amazing. Mt Eden, a dormant volcano, is right in the city, and a quick hike up afforded beautiful views of the city and the water on both sides. Plus, the All Blacks (New Zealand’s national rugby team) play in Eden Park! There are lots of islands near Auckland to explore as well, only a 45 min ferry ride away. The locals were always willing to help and to show us a good time. 

New Zealand never fails to surprise, and has become one of the places I would like to live. My enthusiasm for exploring has only increased since studying abroad; I hope to continue walking this path and to become a truly global citizen.

I Am UMass Abroad: Antje Jannie van Dijk

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Okay, so Antje is actually abroad at UMass; her home university is Vrije Universiteit van Amsterdam (VU), where she studies Criminology, and will graduate in 2022. UMass has exchange relationships with 40 universities abroad, which means we have 60-100 visiting exchange students on campus each semester, from the very same universities that UMass students attend. So next time you have the opportunity, engage with an exchange student or an international student at UMass — next year, that could be you! 

Antje was kind enough to answer some questions about how she chose UMass, and about her experience thus far. 

What attracted you to UMass?
To be honest I kind of randomly chose UMass because I wanted to go to the US and UMass seemed to have good options for courses that were connected to criminology. Also, I liked the idea of it being near a college town and of course the fall colors are amazing!

What has surprised you about Americans or life as a UMass student?
I was surprised that the campus is so big. I was not aware of that until I actually arrived at UMass. It's huge! I like how there is plenty of space for nature within the campus.

Now that you’ve been at UMass for a while, what is one cultural tip you’d share with a UMass student who is planning to study at your home university?
Back at my home university they don't have dining halls or meal plans, so be prepared to cook your own food (which can be a very fun experience)! Also, the Dutch culture is very direct. I've noticed that in America people try really hard to not offend others, so I just want to give you a heads up: be prepared for people being very direct (this can be a good and a bad thing). 

What have you learned as an exchange student?
I have learned a lot of things like how to arrange for a visa and how to study like an American student. I have also learnt a lot about American culture

I Am UMass Abroad: Isabelle Graves

Friday, November 19, 2021

Meet Isabelle Graves '23, a first-semester junior and Communications major at UMass. Isabelle is studying at the University of Nebrija in Madrid, Spain through API for the full academic year. Isabelle sent us a quick note to let us know how she’s doing and how glad she is to be staying for two semesters. 

“The first half of my fall semester has been so amazing. I live in a Residencia similar to a dorm, but they have laundry services once a week, make our beds every morning, and cook three meals a day for us. My roommate is from Spain, so I am learning so much about the Spanish language and culture. I have been traveling almost every weekend. Covid restrictions have made things more difficult, but everything is open with masks required for the most part. My favorite place to travel has been Italy because of the amazing landscapes and yummy pasta. Being part of an international program, I am meeting people from all over Europe and all around the world. The classes have been more difficult than I anticipated because of the different learning styles and course structures. I am ready to come home for the holidays, but also so, so glad that I am coming back another semester because there is so much else to see and learn. I would most definitely recommend spending an academic year abroad, especially if you love to meet new people.” 

I Am UMass Abroad: Katherine Gutierrez Orrego

Wednesday, November 10, 2021

While holding onto nothing but hope, I was fortunate enough to go to Japan during the 2020-2021 academic year — the only UMass student to do so. I studied abroad at International Christian University in Mitaka, Tokyo and fell in love with Japan in a way that I hadn’t before. Ever since I’ve returned to the U.S., all I think about is how to get back to my home away from home.

To me, every day in Japan was a dream. Despite the COVID regulations that were in place, I had the best time of my life. I loved going to Kichijoji to shop and eat delicious nabe or Korean food with my new friends. Overcoming my shyness, I fell in love with Japanese onsens and karaoke. When I was taking transportation, I felt peaceful looking at the beautiful scenery. Whether it was taking the train an hour to Shibuya or riding my bicycle to the grocery store, I was happy. Doing these simple things fulfilled me.

My life on campus was just as great. My senseis (teachers) were very knowledgeable and caring and my classes helped fulfill requirements for both my Japanese and Sociology degree. During the semester, my classmates and I stressed together about all the exams and reports that we had to do. Outside of class, I joined the Korean pop dance club and met other students with the same interests as me. Meeting every week to practice for our final semester performance was always a fun time. Developing my own little community at ICU made my time in Japan amazing.

One of the greatest opportunities that I had was taking a judo class. Being the only foreigner in class, I often could not understand my senseis’ explanations. Instead, I learned by watching and relied on my classmates and senseis’ further explanations in simpler Japanese. Every week, I noticed myself getting stronger and performing the moves smoother and smoother. Although I
was not in a formal judo club, I was happy with my improvement and the praise I received from my senseis. Judo made me feel alive and powerful. Through judo, I felt like a true ICU student and not just a study abroad student. When the semester came to an end, my senseis allowed me to hold the class motto, the ones we always bowed to before and after practice, to take pictures. I couldn’t have had a greater honor. Through judo, I came to learn and understand a part of Japan that I had never known before, and this became precious to me.

Studying abroad in Japan is one of the best decisions I ever made. My senseis, my roommates, my friends and the scenery were all worth the wait. I can’t wait to go back to Japan, my home away from home.

I Am UMass Abroad: Alexis Haring

Thursday, November 4, 2021

In Summer 2021, I was selected to participate in the DAAD RISE program which allows English-speaking undergraduate students to work in a research lab in Germany. My experience was completely funded by RISE, and I received a stipend of 900€ each month for the three months I was there. 

This lab experience shaped and fostered my love for research and grew my German language speaking skills. In addition to working with my PhD student, I also collaborated with other lab members who were from different parts of the world. We had amazing conversations about differences in culture and education, and I also formulated professional connections in my academic field.   

I was matched into a Biochemistry and Genetics Arabidopsis thaliana lab at the Heinrich-Heine Universitaet, Düsseldorf. I worked under a Phd student and together we examined key roles in the regulation of the quiescent center of the stem cell niche in the Arabidopsis thaliana. Using this model organism, I learned molecular techniques such as FRET-FLIM, genotyping, PCR, and mammalian cell culture. 

A concern I had going into this program was how I was going to make friends in a new city, and in a new country. But I was able to connect with other students from the US, Canada, Ireland, and the UK who were in the program through Reddit, Facebook, and Groupme. We met up in places such as Munich, Amsterdam, and Belgium! I was also fortunate enough to have a core group of four friends in Düsseldorf, and we were able to travel every weekend together to new places. But every Tuesday we always met up and ordered Telepizza. Still to this day I talk to each of them despite them being at different universities such as ASU, OSU, and UVA.  

Düsseldorf is located in the state of North Rhine Westphalia, and is a perfectly sized city for me; I never got bored and could always find things to do on the weekends. Some of the sites that I visited frequently were the Rheinturm, the Rhine, Schloss Benrath, Koenigsallee, and Little Tokyo. I was surprised to find that Düsseldorf has a large Japanese population, which influences the local culture and I was able to try some really cool foods that I couldn’t get anywhere else in Germany. Also, Düsseldorf is an ideal location to travel on the weekends, with a large Hauptbahnhof (main train station). Since I was working in a lab NOT taking classes, I had no homework, and had a generous stipend that more than covered my living expenses, I traveled to 14 places on my weekends including Paris, Brussels, Amsterdam, Vienna, Prague, Berlin, Aachen, Hamburg, Munich, Lucerne, Zürich, Antwerp, Maastricht, and Luxembourg. 

Germany and, in general, Europe has demonstrated stark contrast in lifestyle and culture. I really struggled with using public transport and understanding how to get to places. I definitely lost loads of time but I was able to persevere through and ended up discovering new things that were just off the beaten path. I also learned different methods in grocery shopping as I had to purchase new food every 2 days instead of a week's worth of food. The biggest differences were the restaurants and alcohol. I was astonished to see ash trays just on the table and people smoking cigarettes while having dinner. Also, seeing alcohol carried in public and not in a concealed bag threw me off for a long time.  

Overall, this past summer has really guided me into discovering new things about myself. I was pushed out of my comfort zone through dealing with differences in culture, language, and the change in my everyday life. This has also garnered me with a fresh perspective as I head into applying for medical schools in the upcoming cycle. I just know that my time in Germany was just a “see you later” and not “goodbye.” I felt I had the best of both worlds: a funded research internship and time abroad without classes. I really encourage anyone who has an inkling to study abroad to just take it! 

Learn more about DAAD RISE with Alexis, Tuesday, November 9, 6-7 pm at IPO and on Zoom.

I Am UMass Abroad: Chase Bezonsky

Thursday, October 28, 2021

Finding Fun in Florence

In Spring 2021, I was lucky enough to have the time of my life in Florence, and now as a Peer Advisor at IPO, I get to share photos and stories about my fabulous time abroad on a daily basis. My time in Florence was much different than what yours is likely to be, as COVID-19 restrictions were quite strict in Spring 2021. Being unable to leave Tuscany for a while let me explore Florence at length and find the hidden gems. You may be able to traverse Europe to see some of the world’s greatest wonders, but don’t ignore Florence, the city you are calling home. Take some time to explore what Florence has to offer, beyond magnificent museums and breathtaking cathedrals. 

My favorite thing to do was swing by Mercato di Sant’Ambrogia, fill up on fresh food, and have a picnic on the Arno enjoying the company of locals and students alike who frequent the spot. Check out the vintage clothing shops scattered across the city for a glimpse at one of Italy’s finest exports, designer clothes. But for those of you looking for a deal, check out the flea market in Piazza Ghiberti and keep an eye out for the occasional pop-up across from Chiesa di Sant’Ambrogia. Both of these spots have vintage clothes and jewelry without the Gucci price tag.

For a quick bite in between classes, check out Pino’s Sandwiches. Florence is filled with subpar paninis, but Pino and his sandwiches are truly divine. Although there are amazing pastries and coffee on every corner, Ghibellina Forno Pasticceria takes the cake (and serves it too). Ghibellina offers a wide variety of fresh bread and pastries; the schiacciata, pistachio muffins, and sfogliatelle are unmatched and will surely improve any gloomy day.

Be sure to cross the Arno and try out some of the amazing food Santo Spirito has to offer. My roommates were truly obsessed with Gustapizza, though I must admit I was not as enamored with it as they were, it’s hard to say no to pizza in Italy. Santo Spirito also boasts the best gelato in Florence. Gelateria della Passera has a variety of specialty flavors that incorporate seasonal produce, my personal favorite being mojito. For students going with CAPA you may even be able to make gelato and sample some of the flavors.

And finally, you can finish off every day by heading up the steps at Piazzale Michelangelo for the best views of the city. As you take in the views, soak up the wonderful culture and city you get to be a part of.

UMass Amherst Named a 20-Year Top Producer of Gilman Scholars

Wednesday, October 27, 2021

The University of Massachusetts Amherst was among the higher ed institutions recognized today by the U.S. Department of State’s Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs for having produced the most Gilman Scholarship recipients over the past 20 years in the Large Institution category. A total of 285 students from UMass Amherst received Gilman awards since 2001.

“The announcement of this important recognition is an occasion to celebrate both the accomplishments of our many students who received Gilman Scholarships over the past two decades and the work of the International Programs Office, which supported them in preparing their applications,” said Provost John McCarthy.

The U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs is proud to announce the 20-year anniversary of the Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship Program and its top producing institutions over the past 20 years. Throughout its history, the Gilman Program has reshaped study abroad to make it more accessible and inclusive for American students by providing scholarships to outstanding U.S. undergraduate students who, due to financial constraints, might not otherwise participate. Since the program’s inception in 2001, more than 34,000 Gilman Scholars from all U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and other U.S. territories have studied or interned in more than 155 countries around the globe.

“I am incredibly proud of our long success with the Gilman Scholarship,” said Kalpen Trivedi, vice provost for global affairs. “By providing generous support for students from groups traditionally underrepresented in study-abroad, the Gilman program plays a crucial role in our campus priority of creating an inclusive international education program.”

Read the full story here.

I Am UMass Abroad: Fengyue (Lisa) Zhao

Thursday, October 21, 2021

Meet Fengyue (Lisa) Zhao ‘22, a Math and Linguistics double major, who studied at the University of Konstanz in Germany in the spring of 2021. Fengyue comes to UMass as an international student from Guangzhou, China, and wanted a different perspective on her academic interests. “Academically, United States and Europe are two ideal place to study linguistics, especially computational linguistics. It’s very cool to be exposed to both American and German linguistics courses and research. I benefited a lot from reflecting both the similarities and differences. At the same time, I could investigate on my native language, Mandarin Chinese, from various linguistic dimensions.” 

Fengyue did find learning German to be a challenge. “Like other exchange students, the language barrier was also a problem for me. While other American students learned German as their second language, I learned it as my third language, which sometimes is a harder process. The three languages often fought against each other in my head. ”

In addition to her coursework, Fengyue enjoyed the opportunities for self-growth that she had while studying abroad. “It is a process of self-exploration. Traveling around Europe alone was definitely a unique experience to undertake by myself. Sometimes it’s hard to be aware of how the cultures influence me as an individual. Now I couldn’t be more proud of my culture and diverse background than ever."

Kalpen Trivedi Honored as Senior International Officer of the Year

Thursday, October 21, 2021

The Institute of International Education (IIE) announced its annual Senior International Officer (SIO) of the Year Award today, presenting the 2021 honor to Dr. Kalpen Trivedi, Associate Provost for International Programs at the University of Massachusetts Amherst.

The Senior International Officer Award honors an individual currently serving as their institution’s senior international officer who has demonstrated outstanding and sustained leadership in international education. The selection committee pointed to Trivedi’s “extraordinary internationalization efforts on campus; commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion; and his leadership throughout the pandemic” as the factors that earned him the award.

Chancellor of UMass Amherst, Kumble Subbaswamy, said, “Kalpen Trivedi has done extraordinary work to strengthen UMass Amherst’s global network. His wide-ranging efforts have enriched our campus and strengthened our community by bringing together scholars and students from across the world and providing transformative international experiences for our undergraduates. This international recognition is well deserved.”

“I am humbled and honored to be recognized by the IIE, a truly inspiring organization that is torch bearer for connecting US higher education with the world,” Trivedi said.  “IIE plays a tremendously important role in supporting the soft diplomacy goals of the United States, and this award is really testament to the campus-wide work in global engagement at UMass.”

Read the full story here.

Education Abroad Notary Hours

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Do you need a form notarized for your visa application? Stop by IPO for notary drop in hours at the following times:

Mondays: 10am - 3:30pm

Tuesdays and Thursdays: 10am - 12:30pm

Fridays: 12pm - 3:30pm

We will be in the Advising Center ready to stamp and sign your forms. No appointment necessary and this service comes at no cost to you.

70 Butterfield Terrace
Amherst, Ma 01003

I Am UMass Abroad: Ido Diamant

Wednesday, October 13, 2021

Engineering students can go abroad? Yes, they can, with just a little planning! Meet Ido Diamant, who spent (most of) his sophomore spring semester in Edinburgh, studying at Heriot-Watt University. Ido loves to travel and explore new places, and so knew that education abroad would be part of his UMass degree. Read more to discover how Ido’s academic experience at Heriot-Watt differed from UMass.  

“At Heriot-Watt University, I took courses in Maths, Statistics, Mechanical Engineering, and Computer Science. These were classes I normally would have taken a different semester at UMass, but I had planned with my Academic Advisor to set them aside, and the timetables lined up so that I could take all four! These were all prerequisites for higher-level engineering and CS classes I was planning to take once returning to UMass. I also had a Scottish Studies class approved that I would have taken if there were any scheduling conflicts. 

Assessment for these classes looked very different from what I'm used to in the US; grades are mostly determined by a final examination in the UK. Although we had homework and problem sets to work on throughout the semester, almost none were graded assignments. Roughly 80% of the grade from each course came only from the final exam, meaning that individual accountability and knowing when to ask for help was crucial to succeeding. I studied abroad in Spring 2020, so my program was actually interrupted by the start of the pandemic. Heriot-Watt initially had departments move classwork and exams online, but later decided to cancel exams for all undergraduate courses for logistical reasons. This obviously led to a very different semester than I was expecting, but I was still able to access learning materials after returning to the US so I was prepared for UMass classes when fall classes began.

I Am UMass Abroad: Francesca Bruni

Thursday, October 7, 2021

Francesca Bruni ‘22 (Civil and Environmental Engineering) studied at SKEMA Business School with CEA, near the town of Antibes on the French Riviera in Spring 2020, the second semester of her sophomore year. Thanks to the English language courses in engineering at SKEMA, Francesa was able to complete all her required curriculum for the semester and stay on track for graduation. 

Francesca noted several differences between studying at UMass and her semester abroad with CEA. “SKEMA is located in Sophia Antipolis, a technology park situated between the Mediterranean Sea and the mountains. As CEA students, we were housed in apartments and homes across the old town of Antibes. From Antibes it is about a 25 minute bus ride to SKEMA to get to class each day. While this might not be something you are used to at UMass, it is definitely worth the ride. SKEMA gives study abroad students like yourself the opportunity to learn with French students and students and faculty from across Europe as every class is taught in English. The opportunity to learn directly with students from different backgrounds allows you to connect with them outside of school as well. This includes traveling with your international friends as well as exploring the town of Antibes and surrounding towns together after school. 

Antibes has some incredible views, and there is always so much to do and discover in the town! Grab a fresh sandwich from one of the local shops on your way home from class and relax at the Plage De La Gravette, a local beach just 5 minutes from your home. Hike along the Cap d’Antibes and around “Billionaires Bay.” Antibes also has a great nightlife, and your friends from SKEMA will want to meet you for an “after work,” or an organized event at different venues. Juan-les-Pins is just a walk away, and Cannes is a 10 minute train ride away. Antibes is also a great base for weekend trips around Europe, via the train to Milan or flights from Nice.”

I Am UMass Abroad: Haley Potter

Wednesday, September 29, 2021

Meet Haley Potter, who jumped at the opportunity to study abroad in the spring of 2021, after being sent home from Prague in Spring 2020, an experience she described as heartbreaking. Haley regrouped in the fall of 2020, set her sights on Thailand, and chose CIS’s program at Mahidol University, outside of Bangkok. 

“Thailand was one of the only countries letting students in [for spring 2021] so I jumped at the chance. Studying abroad is a once in a lifetime experience filled with new people, culture, food, language, trip planning, and a new outlook on life. I came back more confident and with a new idea of what I wanted to do in life. As cliche as it sounds, studying abroad changes your life and being able to immerse yourself in another country is amazing.” 

Haley said that planning her second study abroad experience during COVID was stressful. “I didn't know if I could get the plane ticket or my visa in time but CIS helped me through the whole process and I got everything in plenty of time. It was a lot more work for CIS and for me since I was travelling during a pandemic. I had to get COVID tested, get better insurance for COVID, and a hotel I would quarantine in for 14 nights. Even though all that made my anxiety go through the roof, I would do it all again. Thailand was super amazing and beautiful and even though I couldn't leave the country to Vietnam or Cambodia, I got to explore more of Thailand.”

Through her travels in Thailand, Haley learned a lot about herself as well as Thai culture. 

“I had incredible experiences with local people that you can't get by staying in touristy places. I started appreciating everything I have more and not taking anything for granted. People can't just go to Phuket or Bangkok to really experience Thailand; the rural towns have the best people and awesome food. I would suggest Chiang Mai and Rai, Pai, Krabi, Phuket, Koh Tao, and Koh Lipe. Flights are cheap going around Thailand so whenever you can, take a little excursion and explore a little more of Thailand! Try every food, drink, and beach and it will be an amazing trip. Also as a vegetarian, it was easy to get delicious meals!!”

UMass Amherst & National Institute of Wind Energy India Sign Memorandum of Agreement to Facilitate Collaborative Research

Friday, September 24, 2021

The University of Massachusetts Amherst has signed a memorandum of agreement (MoA) for inter-institutional cooperation with the National Institute of Wind Energy (NIWE) India on Wednesday, Sept. 22.

Chancellor Kumble R. Subbaswamy attended a virtual event formalizing the agreement, along with Judy Chang, Massachusetts Energy Undersecretary; Dinesh Jagdale, Joint Secretary from the Ministry of New and Renewable Energy; John McCarthy, Provost and Senior Vice Chancellor for Academic Affairs; K. Balaraman, Director General of NIWE; Kalpen Trivedi, Vice Provost for Global Affairs at UMass Amherst; and a number of others.

The goal of this partnership with NIWE is to establish mutually beneficial collaborative research projects and facilitate the exchange of faculty, staff and students for short- and long-term visits for the purpose of research, teaching and presentation of seminars.

Read the full article here.

I Am UMass Abroad: Maria Fabiano

Wednesday, September 22, 2021

Maria Fabiano studied abroad in Summer 2021 on the CIS Summer on the Italian Coast program, in Sorrento, Italy. Maria was happy to share her thoughts about her motivation to study abroad during a global pandemic.

“I decided to pursue my study abroad plans despite the pandemic because of how highly my peers had spoken of their experiences. I am entering my Junior year as a Kinesiology major, and my schedule would not have allowed me to study abroad during one of the fall or spring semesters. I am so glad I decided to study abroad this summer in Sorrento, Italy for five weeks at Sant’Anna Institute. The southern Italian culture, lifestyle, and beautiful traditions will always hold a special place in my heart. Luckily, I always felt safe when studying abroad despite the pandemic and made sure to follow protocols at all times. Masks were worn indoors and all students in my program were fully vaccinated. Despite some of the mandates and protocols, I still had the experience of a lifetime while studying abroad. I am very proud of myself for overcoming these challenges and for successfully traveling by myself to another country for the first time. As a global traveler, I now feel more independent and confident in my abilities. 

Studying abroad is truly an experience like no other and one that I will always be eternally grateful for. I never realized how incredibly vast, diverse, and breathtakingly beautiful this world truly is. I immediately fell in love with Sorrento and its cobblestone streets. I found myself taken away by the beautiful views of Marina Grande and the crystal clear ocean views in Capri. I did not know anyone prior to my study abroad program, which made me very nervous. However, I ended up meeting some of the most amazing people and now have lifelong friends with whom I shared this experience. Study abroad has given me a newfound sense of independence and confidence. I was able to take many forms of public transportation in an entirely new country where not many people spoke the same language as me. I loved learning the Italian language and connecting with locals wherever I went. It was so interesting to experience an entirely different way of life and try new things. I tried many of the traditional Italian dishes and enjoyed grabbing gelato with friends in between classes. Studying abroad in Italy makes me want to go back and explore everything else that it has to offer. I highly encourage everyone to study abroad if they have the opportunity to do so as it has positively impacted my life forever!” 


I Am UMass Abroad: Nicholas Ivanovskis

Wednesday, September 15, 2021

Nicholas Ivanovskis ’21 (Economics) spent Spring 2021 studying at Mannheim University in Germany. When asked about his experience spending a whole semester abroad during the COVID-19 pandemic, Nicholas had the following to say:


I studied abroad during the pandemic. Here is what I learned. 

My experience studying abroad was not what I expected. By starting the application process well before the pandemic, it was not a factor in my early preparations. As a graduating senior this spring, I was lucky enough to reach Germany for my final semester. Since this was my last opportunity to go, I was determined to make it work. 

I learned much about travel and how to prepare appropriately to get the most out of my free time.

With less than 20% of the world’s population fully vaccinated, students going abroad this year may still have to face certain restrictions. Looking back on my experience, here is what I would have done differently and would suggest others consider as they prepare for their semester abroad. While I only went to Germany, and rules certainly vary between different countries, I believe that most of what I learned could apply to many countries.


Ask about the rules.

After arrival, I was concerned about compliance with local regulations, and quickly speaking with locals made me more comfortable. In Germany, the rules depended on the positive test rate among city and state populations, so trips to a city for a day could mean different rules would be in place. People who live in the country you study in can also share information on how strictly rules will be enforced, which can be nice to hear if you’re still a little uncomfortable. 


Prepare for Trips

Outside of normal activities, thoroughly researching locations you want to visit will help you get the most of your free time. I would often find that, even in the same city, some museums would be fully open with only a mask requirement, while others required a specific time slot reservation, and that some were closed completely. Remember that you have a student ID! There might be discounts.


Gather Transit Information

Figuring out how to best use transit systems is one of the greatest steps that can be taken to feel flexible and comfortable. Having been used to being able to drive where I like, depending on public transport and biking felt restrictive at first. But, reading online and speaking with local students quickly reversed this and saved me money on transport. Looking back, I would ask for tips and details on how to use the transit systems well in advance of starting my exchange.


Consider mask type

Some countries only permit N95 or KN95 masks. I had brought a couple cloth     masks from the U.S. with me, but never used them. KN95s usually cost about $1 each.


Find your closest testing site and have an emergency plan.

In Germany, I was lucky as there are several free testing sites in every city.

If the country you study in still asks for tests (even though you’re vaccinated) quickly locating your closest testing site and becoming comfortable with how it works could be very useful. The first time I went to one I went with a local student who helped me understand how it worked. After getting tested so many times, I had to think of what would happen if one came back positive. Speaking with advisors and staff and making a plan if this does happen would be a step I take were I to go overseas again, as well as saving emergency numbers early on.



Language Preparation

When going to a new country, we’re often advised to learn a little of the language of the country we visit. But, I found it difficult to know what to practice beforehand outside of the most obvious phrases. Looking back, imagining oneself going through a typical active day could shine a light on things. Learning how to order food, ask for help in a store, ask for directions, or choose a payment method can go a long way and don’t require too much practice. Looking into common responses to these situations is important too, even if you don’t understand perfectly. Various words for food were also useful, and made shopping much easier. Even if I didn’t recognize a brand, looking at the ingredients could tell me what the product was once I knew the necessary food terms.



When exploring, I found myself using Google Maps heavily. If you’re concerned about your phone holding a charge, keep in mind that you can  download specific maps for offline use. They can easily be deleted after use so that you can keep space! In case you do burn through your charge or are worried about the possibility, a small travel charger can be very useful. Never turn on international roaming! Local SIM cards are probably affordable.


I Am UMass Abroad: Elizabeth Paez

Wednesday, September 8, 2021

Elizabeth Paez ‘21, Political Science, spent the Spring 2021 semester studying at Korea University. It was actually her third semester abroad, and when asked about why she studied abroad during the pandemic, Liz had lots to say. “I chose to pursue study abroad plans despite the pandemic, because my biggest hope coming into college was being able to live abroad and expose myself to different cultures, especially in Asia. Upon entering UMass as a freshman, I knew I wanted to study abroad as much as I could, so I had calculated all of my semesters strategically to allow me to be able to go abroad three times: sophomore year, spring semester in Thailand; junior year, spring semester in Costa Rica, and senior year, fall semester in Japan. However, while I was studying in Costa Rica, in spring 2020, the COVID pandemic first broke out on the global scale. I was sent home and worried about my future plans to study in Japan. While awaiting news on Japan, I noticed that South Korea was doing very well in their response to the virus and so I listed South Korea as my backup plan for spring 2021 study abroad. After Japan was cancelled for the second time, I was so grateful to still be able to have the opportunity to go abroad to South Korea. 

Study abroad is such an important experience for me, because I think it's absolutely essential as a global citizen to step out of my comfort zone and expose myself to different cultures and perspectives in order to be more well-rounded. Not only does studying abroad help one grow as an individual but it gives a sense of self-responsibility that sometimes complacent learners face. Growing up in the US education system, I think it has to be acknowledged that we as students are learning through one perspective in early education. It's very important to be responsible for going outside of those particular constraints and exposing ourselves to different methods of learning, especially from different perspectives. I'm a firm believer that you learn a great deal through a formal structure, but you learn the most outside of the classroom, and what better way to learn than by traveling and exposing myself to different environments. Especially considering this day and age, many Americans as well as western perspectives have a very individualized ideology and I believe it's crucial to build relations in the global community to encourage the movement of collaborative thinking, as the world needs us to work together to promote positive change. 

I also think that (in a less grand approach), study abroad helps you grow as an individual. Studying abroad three times has really formed me into the thinker and person I am now. It has helped me overcome fears that come with growing and it has made me realize that I am much more competent and capable than I credit myself. Studying abroad gave me the confidence to be able to pursue my goals without concern over failure, you will fail many times but coming back from that failure and trying again is the difference. And who knows, studying abroad might ignite something within you to realize that your future lies elsewhere and that makes it all the more exciting.”

Liz’s Must-Do Recommendation for future students studying in Seoul: “Try local food! The places that usually don’t look the fanciest or upscale are usually the places with the best food and best prices. Try to follow the locals, if you see a lot of locals going to a certain place, trust them. Definitely visit the COEX Mall to see the Starfield Library, too!” 

Fall 2021 Study Abroad Outlook

Tuesday, August 10, 2021

The International Programs Office is proud to support the 98 UMass Amherst students who will soon embark on their Fall 2021 Education Abroad experiences in a range of countries around the world. This fall represents the fourth consecutive semester of UMass Amherst operating Education Abroad programs during the pandemic.

IPO is committed to the continued safe operation of our programs, and continually monitors the status of the pandemic in the locations where students are studying. IPO utilizes a wide array of reputable sources including data from the World Health Organization, Harvard University's and Brown University’s Global Epidemics tool, Our World in Data from Johns Hopkins University, the European Center for Disease Control, the CIEE Health Risk Index, as well as our university’s intelligence provider, and on the ground information from our partners abroad. We also require that all our students be fully vaccinated before their program begins, which is proven to be the single most effective way to combat the virus. 

We are likely to continue to see shifts in these levels throughout the semester, as the COVID-19 Delta variant spreads and locations react. At this time, we are confident in our partners abroad and the risk mitigation measures that are in place to help our students have a safe and successful experience. Students and families with specific questions or concerns are encouraged to reach out to their IPO study abroad advisor, or the staff at their specific program.


I Am UMass Abroad: Cherika Rodriguez

Wednesday, April 14, 2021

While I was visiting a touristic island off the coast of South Korea, I had an experience I’ll never forget. I’d gone abroad with the idea that I would be prepared for anything that came my way since I’d done my fair amount of research on the country. But this experience made me realize that there is no amount of preparation or formula that could help me preclude people’s actions. I was trying to read the bus schedule, but I was having a really hard time. Apparently it was very noticeable since this man jumped out of his seat and came to help me. Now this is where it all began. In the United States we have certain social norms such as respecting people’s space (AKA the space bubble) or asking for permission before taking a stranger’s personal object. Well, he did the complete opposite. He got very close to me to the point where I could see the pores in his face, took my phone out of my hand without asking for permission, and then proceeded to take pictures of me without asking me first. 

Now I had two options: act out and further emphasize the stereotype of the rude and entitled American, ‘specially the angry black woman. Or I could try to look at the situation from his point of view. It is not uncommon to come across a Korean resident who has never met a foreigner. This man just came across me, a black person, someone who he’d only seen on TV. At that moment I realized I was a unicorn to him. That mystical creature that you see on TV and never expected to meet. And because of the circumstances I just decided to look up and smile for the picture.

Some of you will have experiences similar to mine -- where you are confronted with the discomfort of being different from everyone else. But be careful that you could also be the one treating local residents as unicorns. While your excitement and curiosity are understandable, always make sure to be respectful of their boundaries. While both parties should do their best to compromise and accommodate each other, be aware that you are the one coming into the foreign space. That entails that it is your responsibility to have knowledge of their norms and values in order to maintain respect.

Some of you might face situations where you won’t have much time to think. Situations where your patience will be tested in ways that you’d never imagine. But this is when empathy and understanding should come in. Just because you live in a socially diverse society does not mean that this is the case for everyone. And just because your culture upholds certain standards of norms and values does not mean that they’re right, it just means that they are different. My advice, as you travel, is to try and understand other people’s thoughts and actions from the perspective of their own culture instead of your own. 


Editor’s Note: Cherika’s story is a wonderful example of how students abroad are presented with opportunities to interact, observe and adjust. Cherika was able to reflect in the moment and respond to the stranger with kindness, despite the discomfort she initially felt. At IPO, we consider it important to listen to and transparently relay these experiences, to highlight just how unique and diverse the range of experiences abroad can be. This doesn’t mean that Cherika’s response is necessarily the right course of action for you, if you find yourself responding to a challenging or uncomfortable situation. Being open to engaging with new people is an important part of learning and making connections while abroad, but know that it’s also okay to refrain from an interaction if it’s something that feels unsafe or distressing (even if the other person seems well-meaning).

Students who study abroad will encounter cultural interactions and experiences that may or may not meet their expectations and perceptions of their chosen place of study. However, IPO believes firmly that everyone —  regardless of sex, gender, race, class, nationality, and an abundance of other individual identifiers — should feel welcome, safe and supported during their time abroad. We are committed to supporting a diverse population of students and facilitating successful, meaningful experiences for all of our applicants. You may wish to explore our Navigating Identities Abroad resource or some of the great resources put together by Diversity Abroad.

Application Deadlines Extended to May 1, 2021

Tuesday, April 13, 2021

UMass Amherst Education Abroad has extended its deadlines for Fall and Academic Year 2021 - 2022 programs to May 1, 2021. Please note that your program provider or institution deadline may be earlier than this. If you are unsure of your provider or institution deadline, please contact them or your advisor for more information.

Brennan Dwyer in Ireland

I Am UMass Abroad: Brennan Dwyer

Tuesday, March 16, 2021

So, there I was, sitting in a restaurant in Italy, preparing for the best meal in my life. Since I have severe nut allergies, I am always cautious about what food I order and eat. Being abroad was a little nerve-wracking for me because each country has different laws and regulations regarding food allergies, and of course language barriers. I had prepared notecards with all of my allergies, translated into different languages. I gave the notecard to the waitress, and she signaled that everything would be fine.


When the waitress brought out the dish, I could see what looked like pesto drizzled over the top of the meal. I tried to ask her about it, but I don’t speak Italian and she didn’t speak English. After a few minutes of trying to confusingly communicate, the restaurant manager came out. He also didn’t speak any English. At this point, the entire restaurant was quiet and staring at me and the manager. Ten painstaking minutes passed with unsuccessful attempts to communicate. Finally, a couple walked in and I could hear them speaking English. I went up and asked if they spoke Italian, and they said they did. Ohhh the relief!!! I was able to explain the situation to them, and they conveyed the message to the waitress and owner. Once they understood what was going on, I could tell their mood totally changed. They whisked my plate away and brought out a new one a few minutes later, without the pesto drizzle.


Pro tip, yelling the same thing, but louder, doesn’t help if they didn’t understand in the first place.

Regardless of whether it’s food allergies, or other concerns, at some point during your study abroad experience you will probably find yourself in a similar situation where you’re facing a challenge, are struggling to communicate, and don’t know what to do. My advice: Keep your wits about you, and make sure you try to understand where other people are coming from. Don’t be afraid to advocate for yourself and ask questions in any situation you feel unsure about.


Study Abroad Application Deadline Extended to April 15, 2021 for Fall and Academic Year 2021

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

The International Programs Office (IPO) is pleased to announce the extension of our application deadline for Fall 2021 and Academic Year 2021-22 programs. Students now have until April 15 to begin their UMass Abroad application. While students are encouraged to complete their UMass Abroad application materials by April 15, IPO is aware that certain application materials, like ICAFs and program acceptance letters, may require additional time to complete. 

Students must meet all deadlines set by their programs or host universities, which may be before April 15. It is important to confirm these deadlines with your study abroad advisor or program advisor, as exceptions and extensions cannot be granted by IPO.

The deadline for Summer 2021 study abroad remains March 15. 

Visit the Virtual Advising Center to get started.

Andrew Gundal in Thailand

I Am UMass Abroad: Andrew Gundal

Tuesday, March 2, 2021

Andrew Gundal (Managerial Economics ‘21) is currently studying abroad at Mahidol University in Thailand this semester through CIS. In his first month abroad, he has relished numerous opportunities to explore the country and culture and is happy to report that his university returned to in-person classes on February 15.

Getting back to in-person classes has been great! It was a huge sigh of relief, as it felt like the world returned a little bit back to normal. In regards to safety measures, you have to check in and out of every building you enter with your student ID, they have dividers between every desk and table, and everyone obviously has to wear a mask 100% of the time while you are inside. 

About half the students are still online, so the professors have to navigate a zoom lecture and in-person at the same time, so it ends up being a little more rewarding for the in-person students as group work and understanding the material is much easier, at least for me. Food is quite reasonable on campus, as lunch is usually around $1-2, which is about the same price as it is off campus. The campus is beautiful, with rivers and boardwalks all throughout. All of our classes are in English and the professors promote a "western style education" which really encourages students to ask questions and challenge ideas and concepts. 


I would highly recommend Thailand to anyone. It is one of the safest places you can go (in general and with COVID), it's very reasonable, welcoming and beautiful. We have a great group of around 35 exchange students here from the US, Mexico, Europe, and Asia and it has been very easy to coordinate trips in Bangkok or other places throughout the country.


I Am UMass Abroad: Emily Stein

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Emily Stein (Kinesiology ‘18): If I Can Do It, You Can Do It

Cape Town, South Africa Spring 2017


The first time I set foot in an airport was when I was on my way to Cape Town South Africa, for a 15 hour flight. You know, no one really ever tells you how to go through security, and there were no signs. At this point, I’m not even thinking about the fact that I won’t be back in New York for another 5 months. All I can think is, where are the signs? How am I supposed to know what to put in these bins? When I tell you I had no knowledge, I mean I had no knowledge. I was trying to think of how people did this in movies, but I don’t really watch movies, so that wasn’t helpful. 

Now I’m just distracted, and standing in everyone’s way. People move so quickly in airports, especially in New York, and they know EXACTLY what they’re doing. Almost like well-oiled machines. The woman at the check-in desk is not amused by any of my jokes, so now I’m nervous. Nonetheless, I check my luggage and this time I’m actually ready for security. There’s two lines, and like I said there were no signs so I just picked one and hoped for the best. So, I’m on the line and in my head I’m just trying to figure out if I need to take my earrings out because the last thing I need is the security thing beeping. I decide to ask one of the people at security, and he grunted at me. Okay, so that’s not really an answer sir, but I took it as a yes. So I’m trying to take my earrings out, I’m shaking uncontrollably, the guy behind me is breathing down my neck, and I’m freaking out and feeling emotions that I have never felt before. 

But, I made it through. That’s really my theme, and the reason I’m here talking to you. I had never been in an airport before, never traveled, and I survived. If you’re a first-time traveler, or just nervous about your experience, remember why you want to study abroad. Remember your goals and how excited you were when you first thought of studying abroad. If I can do it, you can absolutely do it.

Nichole Morin ’21 in Italy

Student Perspective: Studying Abroad During Covid

Monday, February 8, 2021

By Nicole Morin ’21

Florence, Italy was everything I dreamed it would be. Waking up to the hustle and bustle of the city was an indescribable experience, an incomprehensible feeling. Navigating the windy cobblestone streets to find my classrooms was a maze I looked forward to solving each day. My classes were small and intimate, filled with students from around the world—each of us eager to learn about wide-ranging topics from Italian language and culture to international sports marketing. I looked forward to my daily americano from the cafe below my apartment while immersing myself in the chaos of this city. 

I had no idea that my study abroad experience was about to be over almost as quickly as it began. In late February, just days after Milan Fashion Week, the city became a COVID-19 hot spot, with hundreds of new cases popping up each day. Initially, life seemed normal in Florence (south of Milan). The streets were still crowded with people, and taxis and cars were buzzing through the streets; I felt safe. During the week of February 24-February 29, things would drastically change. I watched as panic spread. People began wearing masks, and the streets were significantly less crowded. I still remained optimistic that I would continue my journey; nothing could get in the way of my lifelong dream.

I was traveling in the Czech Republic on February 29 when I received an email from the International Programs Office explaining that, due to COVID, I must return to the states by March 6. I rushed back to Florence as quickly as possible to pack my belongings. I was heartbroken and disappointed; completely beyond anyone’s control, this experience I had spent months planning and daydreaming about came to a sudden halt. 

My last few days in Florence were some of the most bittersweet of my life. I made sure to see the statue of David, climb the steps within the Duomo, walk the Piazzale Michelangelo, and enjoy local cuisine with the friends I made while abroad. We shopped, we laughed, we cried, and we made the most of a terrible situation. Although my study abroad experience was cut short to just five weeks, I have come to accept that everybody has had to miss out on something this year.

I grew in a multitude of ways that I truly believe only international education can provide. I gained fresh perspectives, traveled to five different countries and met people from all over the world. I know that someday I will return to Florence, just as optimistic, hopeful and excited as I was when I arrived on Jan. 25, 2020. 

IPO Covid Response Highlighted by NAFSA

Friday, February 5, 2021

NAFSA: Association of International Educators recently highlighted the International Programs Office’s response to the Covid-19 pandemic with a profile in their International Educator magazine.

“As was the case at many colleges and universities, intentional efforts by the UMass Amherst international office to create structures for risk management helped staff respond to and plan for an emergency response and ongoing uncertainty over the past year. This proactive approach to risk management has also reaped benefits as the pandemic continues: UMass Amherst was one of a relatively small number of U.S. institutions to send students abroad in both the fall and spring semesters of the current academic year. This decision, empowered by a sophisticated approach to assessing risk, broadened potential options for students—and also shifted some of the responsibility to them,” the piece reads.

Read the full story—including quotes from Associate Provost for International Programs Kalpen Trivedi, Director of Education Abroad Mark Eckman, Director of International Student and Scholar Services Kenneth Reade, and Director of International Health, Safety, and Security Andrea Campbell Drake— on the NAFSA website.

NAFSA also recently profiled Trivedi in a piece on leadership in international education and several IPO staff were recently appointed to NAFSA leadership roles.

Watch: Catherine Lerose ’21's Abroad Story

Friday, January 29, 2021

Catherine Lerose ’21 was the first person in her family to travel overseas when she studied in Scotland in 2019. That didn't stop her from having what she calls a "transformative experience," even including her parents in her journey abroad! Watch Catherine's story below:

Ready to get started? Visit our Virtual Advising Center.

Student Perspective: Internships Abroad

Monday, January 25, 2021

Internships are a crucial part of any undergraduate program, providing real-life skills that help students stand out in a crowded job market. According to a 2018 CNBC article, more than 90 percent of former interns have a college-graduate job three months after getting their degree. The range of skills and experience that internships provide do not expire at the border—students abroad are able to enhance their resumes with work experience, too!

Study-abroad alum Nate Procter ’20 reached out to three fellow students who worked or interned abroad to find out what makes the experience so unique and enriching.

As a student in Florence, Italy, Deborah Azer ’21 recalls a particular morning that left her awestruck. The classroom itself was tucked into the back of a vintage clothing store—the perfect spot for her class in fashion merchandising. “The whole store was empty,” she recalled. “There were no clothes or anything on display.” Azer and her classmates were tasked with merchandising the entire store—picking a theme to ground their inspiration, picking what clothes to sell, and designing the optimal display. 

Azer says the hands-on education was unique to her time abroad. “The experience I got there, I could not get in America,” Azer said.

At the end of her time in Florence, Azer, still hungry for industry experience, secured an internship with Huaywasi, a small handmade clothing company in Lima, Peru. Azer served as the main public relations coordinator: photographing, editing, and designing posts for the company's blog and social media. 

“By the end, they really took me in,” she said. “I had an important job that they trusted me with.” In fact, they trusted Azer so much that they offered her a full-time position, which she accepted.

Allison Gaines ’20 recently graduated with a dual degree in painting, and arts marketing. She interned in the marketing department of Sydney, Australia's National Art Gallery, preparing private student events, assisting in web design, and planning marketing campaigns for public events. Gaines returned to the states that summer with a refined outlook on her field. “I realized the thrill of art sales and fell deeper in love with the industry,” she said.

Madison Wilken ’18 continued to feel the urge for field studies in biology beyond graduation. In the Spring of 2019, she traveled to Belize to audit a week-long, UMass Amherst faculty-taught research course with CIS, studying the mating behaviors of blue-eyed cichlids, a common fish. “We ended up working with some of the locals, and it was a huge growth opportunity to learn how to communicate without a common language,” Wilken said. “It taught me patience.”

Normally, Wilken would be in a lab directing tests and developing results. But in Belize, she found a new appreciation for on-site research. The following year, Wilken carried her experience further to Bioko, Equatorial Guinea, as a seasonal fieldworker. There, she studied monkeys, sea turtles, and a range of native birds with the Bioko Biodiversity Protection Program.

“Once you’re graduated and looking for jobs,” she advises students, “look outside the borders—use the skills you gained abroad.

Get started on your study abroad experience at our Virtual Advising Center today!

Maggie Zhang ’21 and Sarah Yi ’22

Zhang, Yi Awarded Sara’s Wish Scholarship

Thursday, January 21, 2021

Maggie Zhang ’21 and Sarah Yi ’22 are this year’s recipients of the StudentUniverse and Sara’s Wish Foundation Travel Award.

Sara's Wish Foundation was established in 1998 to honor the memory of Sara Christie Schewe, with the mission to sustain Sara’s loving spirit by promoting travel safety standards and practices around the globe and by providing financial support to young women working in the areas of education, health care, and/or public service in the global community. 

The president of Sara's Wish Foundation is Sara’s mother, Anne Schewe. Sara’s father, Charles Schewe, is Professor Emeritus of Marketing at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst. The scholarship is co-presented by the Foundation, as well as StudentUniverse, one of the world's leading travel booking sites for students and young adults. 

Both Zhang and Yi are first-generation students studying in South Korea in Spring 2021. Zhang is studying Public Health on a Pre-Dental track; Yi is studying economics with a minor in information technology. 

Zhang says she hopes the scholarship, and the study-abroad experience, will help her to continue a tradition of volunteering that began for her in high school. “I chose public health as my major because I was amazed by the impact public health professionals have on peoples’ lives,” she says. “I want to go on mission trips to low-income countries and provide dental care because I believe everyone should have access to dental and medical care.”

Yi is hopeful that her experience will provide her an immersive look into the South Korean economy. “The Korean economy has shown a rapid and continuous growth in the past couple of decades in addition to becoming world leaders in many industries,” she says. “I hope to gain a better understanding of how the Korean corporate system operates, how it differs from the United States, and how the strengths and weaknesses of both can be combined together in harmony to take on the economy on a global scale.”  

More info on the scholarship is available on the Sara’s Wish Foundation website.

Find about all the scholarships IPO offers on our page.

IPO to Close From December 25 to January 4

Monday, December 21, 2020

The International Programs Office will be closed from December 25, 2020 to January 4, 2021. After January 4, IPO staff return to work and can be reached through email only! Staff emails are located here.

For international students and scholars with urgent I-20 or DS-2019 travel signature issues, please consult our F-1 Student Travel website or our J-1 Student Travel website.

In the event of an international emergency, please call the UMass Police Department at 413-545-2121.

IPO Staff Appointed to NAFSA Leadership Roles

Friday, December 11, 2020

Several staff members in UMass Amherst’s International Programs Office were recently appointed to leadership positions with NAFSA: Association of International Educators. NAFSA is the world's largest professional association dedicated to international education. With over 10,000 members, NAFSA strives to increase awareness of and support for the contributions of international education and exchange in higher education, government, and the community, believing that citizens with international experience and global awareness are crucial to U.S. leadership, competitiveness, and security.  

Director of Education Abroad Mark Eckman was named to the national Education Abroad Regulatory Practice Committee beginning in January 2021 and running for two years. The committee identifies best practice related to regulatory issues (e.g. Title IX, financial aid) requiring action in the field of education abroad.

Director of International Health, Safety, and Security Andrea Campbell Drake was appointed to the national Education Abroad Knowledge Community .This volunteer-run group works to sustain and develop resources, tools, and model practices for professional development in the field. The term for this appointment is January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2022.

Education Abroad Advisor Emily Ostenson was appointed as the secretary of the Region XI (New England) Leadership team, beginning January 2020 and running for three years.  International Scholar and Student Advisor Nichole Hunley has also been appointed to the Region XI team as the Regulatory Ombudsman for Scholar Issues (beginning January 2021, running for three years). The Leadership team organizes the annual regional conference and provides programming and general support for the region in all knowledge communities.

“I am delighted that so many IPO staff have been recognized for their expertise and leadership by their peers at NAFSA.  It is a testament to their talents and to UMass’s commitment to global education and I am confident that our professional community will be served very well through their efforts,” says Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost for international programs.

These appointments come after Trivedi was recently elected to serve in the chair stream for the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community. In July, Director of International Student and Scholar Services Kenneth Reade was appointed to serve on the Government Regulatory Affairs Committee (GRAC).

Watch: Education Abroad Alumni Panel

Tuesday, November 24, 2020

As part of International Education Week 2020, IPO Peer Advisor Afia Abrafi ‘21 moderated this alumni panel featuring Laura Archambault ‘15 (Psychology), Patricia Camerota ‘16 (Communication), Eydis Lima ‘12 (Chemical Engineering), and Daniel Riecker ‘17 (Geography, French & Francophone Studies, Commonwealth Honors College). These alumni shared how education abroad impacted their UMass experience and post-graduate life. Watch below:

Dignity and Respect Banner

Listen: Dignity and Respect in Action Podcast

Thursday, November 19, 2020

IPO's own Kalpen Trivedi (associate provost for international programs) and Chrystal George Mwangi (IPO Chancellor's Leadership Fellow) join the Office of Equity and Inclusion Podcast. They discuss International Education Week, the importance of this celebration within the UMass community,  the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus, the challenges faced by our international community due to the Covid pandemic, what "internationalization at home" means, and more!

Listen below:

Laura Barkowski ’19 smiling at the camera

Student Profile: Combating the Opioid Epidemic with Anthropology

Tuesday, November 17, 2020

Many students return from a study abroad experience with an expanded worldview—Laura Barkowski ’19 found a career. Barkowski studied abroad in Botswana during her sophomore year, leaving the United States a biology major and returning an anthropology major. 

Immersing herself in a new culture— including a vastly different healthcare system—inspired her to switch her major. “Studying abroad was a turning point for me, and my career,” she says. “It made me take a hard look at myself, and what worked for me. That’s why I switched majors when I got back—I was so interested in others’ perspectives impacting systems and functioning.”

Barkowski works for Boston Medical Center (BMC), focusing on opioid treatment, where her background in anthropology is important. “Most of my work is qualitative. I interview people about their experiences, and what the opioid epidemic looks like in their community,” she says. “My job is to look into why some treatments work and why some don’t.”

“The foundation of anthropology is helpful here. You need the perspective that all experiences are valuable,” she continues.  “Before I studied abroad, i don’t know if i’d have been able to separate my own biases from information and observation in the job i do now. That’s very important.”

When Barkowski returned to the states, she accepted a position as a Peer Advisor at the International Programs Office. There, she took over leadership of the Contemporary Women Travelers workshop, which seeks to prepare women travelers for studying abroad in a variety of settings. “I felt an obligation to provide women with the tools they needed to navigate gender dynamics, regardless of where they choose to study,” she says.

Barkowski’s position at BMC is funded with a grant through 2023. After that, she plans on pursuing an advanced degree—potentially a PhD—in public health.

Get started with your education abroad journey at our Virtual Advising Center.

IPO to Host Pop Up Education Abroad Fair for IEW

Tuesday, November 10, 2020

The International Programs Office will host a Pop-Up Virtual Education Abroad Fair on Wednesday, November 18 from 4:30-7:00 p.m. An extension of our November 4 virtual fair, this event will utilize a new online platform where students explore virtual booths with over 60 international partners. The event is intended for students who are interested in studying abroad in summer 2021 and beyond.

Education Abroad Peer Advisor Jerry Chen will be available to answer questions for the duration of the fair.

Students will create a profile that matches their majors and intended destinations to best-fit study abroad programs. Registration is open now, and all students who register will have access to virtual swag. Students are encouraged to register early through this link.

The Education Abroad Advising Center is closed for all in-person business for the Fall 2020 semester but education abroad resources are available in our Virtual Advising CenterPeer Advisors and Education Abroad Advisors are available by appointment via Zoom to help students explore options and make plans for their education abroad.  Students can meet with us by following the instructions here.

This event is part of IPO’s International Education Week Programming for November 16-20. 

Watch: Centering Social Justice in Education Abroad

Friday, November 6, 2020

As part of our Virtual Education Abroad Fair November 4, we hosted "Centering Social Justice in Education Abroad," a dialogue between Dr. LaNitra Berger, author of Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, & Perspectives, and IPO Chancellor's Leadership Fellow Dr. Chrystal George Mwangi. The pair discussed social justice in the education abroad experiences, considerations for diverse students pursuing education abroad, and more. Watch the full event below:



Carol Lebold in Jordan

Lebold Honored with Lifetime Achievement Award

Thursday, November 5, 2020

NAFSA: Association of International Educators recently honored former Interim Director of Education Abroad Carol Lebold with the George Commenator Award. This lifetime achievement award for NAFSA’s Region XI (New England) recognizes members “whose professional life was dedicated to the field of international education, and who provided extensive service to the regional and national NAFSA community.”

Lebold recently retired from the International Programs Office after more than thirty years. She was nominated for the award by Associate Provost for International Programs Kalpen Trivedi. “I’m absolutely delighted that Carol Lebold has been chosen to receive this year’s George Commenator Award. She’s truly deserving of this lifetime achievement award for her long career of service to international education regionally, nationally, and globally,” Trivedi says. “Her commitment to fostering peace, justice, and equity through international exchange has been humbling to witness, and she inspires us all to be better practitioners and educators every day.”

She received the award at the closing ceremony of NAFSA Region XI’s Annual Conference on October 29th, 2020. Colleagues praised Lebold’s dedication to international education and her passion for working with students in videos shared at the event. “I really can’t imagine anybody who has earned this and provided as much service to the community {as Carol},” said Ken Reade, director of international student and scholar services at IPO.

“{Carol’s} contributions to UMass and the world of international programs are invaluable. She’s been a champion for {the communities of color at UMass} giving access to those who otherwise didn’t think they had access to international programs,” said Special Assistant to the Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Campus Life Sidonio Ferreira,

“{Carol has} been the best mentor. I couldn’t have asked for anyone more kind, giving, and knowledgeable to teach me so much about international education, who I am as a person, and what kind of advisor I want to be,” added AJ LeBlanc, education abroad advising center coordinator.

NAFSA is the world's largest professional association dedicated to international education. With over 10,000 members, NAFSA strives to increase awareness of and support for the contributions of international education and exchange in higher education, government, and the community, believing that citizens with international experience and global awareness are crucial to U.S. leadership, competitiveness, and security.  

More information on the Commenator Award is available on the NAFSA website.

International Education Week 2020 Logo

IPO to Host International Ed Week November 16 to 20

Monday, November 2, 2020

The International Programs Office (IPO) is excited to announce our celebration of International Education Week (IEW) November 16-20, 2020. This year’s programming is built around the theme of “Coming Together,” and features sessions on education abroad, professional and career development for international students, self-care in times of Covid-19, and more. 

Associate Provost for International Programs Kalpen Trivedi and IPO Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow Chrystal George Mwangi will also be recording a special podcast with Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Nefertiti Walker. They will be discussing the importance of this celebration within the UMass community and IPO’s work as it relates to the advancement of diversity, equity, and inclusion on our campus in wake of the challenges faced by our international community due to the Covid pandemic. The episode will be available on the Office of Equity and Inclusion’s podcast page.

Additionally, the IPO website will be updated with profiles celebrating international education at UMass Amherst throughout the week. Check the Education Abroad news page and International Students and Scholars news page throughout the week for up-to-date listings.

“International Education Week provides an annual opportunity to celebrate the vibrancy of our international communities at UMass,” Trivedi says.  “The aim of all international education is to foster a globally engaged citizenry and, this year, rightly, our theme highlights resilience and unity at a time of global turmoil.”

IEW, a joint initiative of the U.S. Department of State and the U.S. Department of Education, promotes the benefits of international education and exchange worldwide. IEW seeks to prepare Americans for a global environment and attract future leaders from abroad to study, learn, and exchange experiences.

The week is co-sponsored by the International Programs Office (IPO), Office of Equity and Inclusion (OEI), Office of Professional Development (OPD), Graduate Student Senate (GSS), Student Affairs and Campus Life (SACL), Center for Multicultural Advancement Student Success (CMASS), Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH), Fine Arts Center (FAC),Student Legal Services Office (SLSO), and the Center for International Education (CIE),

See the complete schedule below:

November 16

International Scholar Meet and Greet

2:00 p.m. to 3:00 p.m.
Join IPO Staff for an informal meet-and-greet social with International Scholars.

Access the event via Zoom.  Meeting ID: 95261893585

Watch Party - Black Lives Matter in a Global Context

November 16, 4:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Anti-Blackness and racism have negative effects on all aspects of higher education internationalization. Come watch and discuss this pre-recorded panel that explores existing barriers and future possibilities for promoting racial justice through international education.

Pre-register here.

November 17

Self-Care in Times of COVID

1:00 p.m. to 2:00 p.m.
Join Professor Ian Barron to discuss a framework for understanding the mental health challenges of COVID as well as learning strategies to mitigate potential negative impacts.

Access the event via Zoom. Meeting ID: 93614004337

Job Seeking Advice for International Students 

5:00 p.m. to 6:30 p.m.
Join this discussion with Marcelo Barros, author of The International Advantage: Get Noticed. Get Hired!

Pre-register here.

November 18 


9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Enjoy sipping your coffee or tea over great conversation with UMass international community and staff.

Access the event via Zoom. Meeting ID: 91267068501

Pop-Up Virtual Education Abroad Fair

4:30 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
An extension of our November 4 virtual fair, this event will utilize a new online platform where students explore virtual booths with over 60 international partners. The event is intended for students who are interested in studying abroad in summer 2021 and beyond.

Education Abroad Peer Advisor Jerry Chen will be available to answer questions for the duration of the fair.

Pre-register here.

Life After UMass - Immigration Panel

5:00 p.m. to 6:00 p.m.
Join Attorney Dan Berger to discuss a variety of immigration topics, including employment-based visas, permanent residency, and green cards.

Pre-register here.

November 19

Let's Stay Informed with SLSO & IPO

10:00 a.m. to 11:00 a.m.
Navigating Immigration Rights and Policies during COVID as an International Graduate Student. An Informative conversation with Director of International Student and Scholar Services Ken Reade and Student Legal Services Office (SLSO) Attorney Bernie Stark.

Access via Zoom. Meeting ID: 96997221860

Education Abroad Alumni Panel

6:00 p.m. to 7:00 p.m.
Enjoy this moderated panel with alumni from our Education Abroad program

Access via Zoom. Meeting ID: 93253264156 

November 20

Post-Election Community Support for International Students

9:00 a.m. to 10:00 a.m.
Having complex thoughts about the election?Join us for a supportive conversation with staff from the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health and International Programs Office.

Pre-register here.

TAKE A MOMENT: A Mixer Sharing Culture and Celebrating Identities

11 a.m.-12 p.m.
Join in to engage in student activities and conversation to build connections amidst geographical distance.

Register Here.

Let’s Talk International Edition

4 p.m.-5 p.m.
Join us for a friendly and  confidential consultation with a counselor from the Center for Counseling and Psychological Health (CCPH).

Register Here

Spring 2021 Update on Education Abroad

Friday, October 23, 2020

In light of today’s announcement about spring 2021 reopening, the International Programs Office (IPO) wants to make sure students interested in studying abroad know that a limited number of options remain open for new applications. If you are interested in a spring semester abroad, there are two important steps:

  • Check the list of spring 2021 Approved Programs for an up-to-date roster of programs likely to be available.

  • Visit the IPO Virtual Advising Center (VAC), which provides all of the in-person resources IPO typically offers, in a convenient, virtual setting. Information on programs, scholarships, health and safety, and more is available at the VAC 24/7.

We understand that planning for a study abroad program amidst so much uncertainty connected to the ongoing pandemic can be difficult, and we remain available to help navigate this complex process. Your Study Abroad Advisor will work with you to select a program, as well as make backup plans, including maintaining your enrollment in Spring 2021 courses at UMass and ensuring you have housing.

Those who are not ready for a spring 2021 semester abroad, can consider adding a virtual international internship experience to their regular UMass course load. More information on available internship placements, associated application process and costs, and next steps, is available here. 

And, of course, it is never too early to start planning for fall 2021, academic year, and even spring 2022 programs.

Associate Provost for International Programs Kalpen Trivedi

Director of International Programs Elected to NAFSA Leadership Position

Thursday, October 22, 2020

Kalpen Trivedi, associate provost and director of the International Programs Office (IPO), has been selected to serve in the chair stream for the International Education Leadership Knowledge Community (IEL KC) at NAFSA: Association of International Educators. The term for this position is January 1, 2021 to December 31, 2023.

“I am honored to have been selected by the members of NAFSA. Many thanks to my international education colleagues and UMass Amherst for supporting me in this leadership position,” said Trivedi, who is currently finishing his term on the IEL KC as Conference and Symposium Team Lead.

“Associate Provost Trivedi’s election to this leadership role at the nation’s leading international education organization is a well-deserved recognition of the prominence that he and his colleagues have brought to our International Programs Office,” said John McCarthy, provost and senior vice chancellor for Academic Affairs. “Both domestic students interested in studying abroad and International students and scholars seeking to join our campus are very well served by IPO’s exceptional care and concern for their well-being.”

NAFSA is the world's largest professional association dedicated to international education. With over 10,000 members, NAFSA strives to increase awareness of and support for the contributions of international education and exchange in higher education, government, and the community, believing that citizens with international experience and global awareness are crucial to U.S. leadership, competitiveness, and security.  NAFSA’s IEL KC, under the aegis of the NAFSA Board of Directors, supports senior international officers and campus internationalization leaders who provide the vision and build commitment for comprehensive internationalization. To that end, the IEL KC coordinates the delivery of a comprehensive set of resources, sessions, workshops, and networking opportunities for senior campus leaders.

“We count on the commitment of our members who volunteer their time and energy to continue advancing the field of international education and are truly appreciative of Kalpen’s dedication to the role, said Esther Brimmer, NAFSA executive director and CEO. 

The complete list of leaders elected in September 2020 is available on the NAFSA website.

Story via UMass Amherst Office of News and Media Relations.

IPO to Host Virtual Ed Abroad Fair

Thursday, October 15, 2020

The International Programs Office will host a Virtual Education Abroad Fair on Wednesday, November 4 from 4:00-6:00 p.m. Replacing the traditional in-person event, the fair will utilize a new online platform where students explore virtual booths with over 60 international partners. The event is intended for students who are interested in studying abroad in summer 2021 and beyond.

Students will create a profile that matches their majors and intended destinations to best-fit study abroad programs.  From there, they can attend live drop-in sessions, chatting with international partners and learning more about a wide array of program options. Fair resources will be accessible again on Thursday, November 5 from 7:00-8:00 p.m. with no live drop-in sessions.  

As part of the event, Dr. Chrystal George Mwangi, a Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow at IPO, will host “Centering Social Justice in Education Abroad,” a dialogue with Dr. LaNitra Berger. Berger, author of Social Justice and International Education: Research, Practice, & Perspectives, will be discussing how students can center social justice in their education abroad experiences and considerations for diverse students pursuing education abroad. More info here.

Registration is open now, and all students who register will have access to virtual swag. Students are encouraged to register early through this link.

The Education Abroad Advising Center is closed for all in-person business for the Fall 2020 semester but education abroad resources are available in our Virtual Advising CenterPeer Advisors and Education Abroad Advisors are available by appointment via Zoom to help students explore options and make plans for their education abroad.  Students can meet with us by following the instructions here.

Outlook for Spring ‘21 Study Abroad

Friday, September 11, 2020

Yes, you can still plan to study abroad for spring ‘21! The International Programs Office (IPO) is cautiously optimistic about study abroad in the spring semester of this academic year. While the pandemic will continue to affect our lives for the foreseeable future, we can’t predict what exactly those effects will be, neither here nor abroad. 

Since study abroad takes a lot of planning, students who want to have the option to study abroad in spring ‘21 need to be working on their applications now. Visit Ed Abroad’s Virtual Advising Center to get started. 

IPO has not issued a blanket suspension of all programs; instead, we are working to identify a portfolio of programs that we are confident will be available to students, possible to travel to, and that, as always, meet UMass’s rigorous standards for academic integrity, as well as health and safety.

 UMass Abroad (our program database) and the Virtual Advising Center will be the most up-to-date resources for advisors and students to determine what programs are available this Spring.  

George Mwangi to Join IPO As Leadership Fellow

Monday, June 15, 2020

Associate Professor in Higher Education Chrystal George Mwangi is joining the International Programs Office (IPO) as a Chancellor’s Leadership Fellow. George Mwangi will work with Associate Provost for International Programs Kalpen Trivedi for the 2020-21 academic year to help IPO develop and coordinate a global engagement strategy. 

“I am delighted to have the opportunity to collaborate with Professor George Mwangi in furthering IPO’s work,” says Trivedi, Associate Provost for International Programs. “Given her exciting academic work in equity and inclusion in international higher education, Professor George Mwangi is ideally suited to helping us develop a global engagement strategy grounded in social justice.”

George Mwangi’s scholarship broadly centers on 1) structures of opportunity and issues of inequity that impact the trajectory of diverse students into and through college; 2) internationalization efforts within higher education, the transnational nature of universities, and the use of higher education as a tool for international mobility/migration; and 3) African and African Diaspora populations in higher education with emphasis on the impact of race, racism, and coloniality on their educational experiences. 

Dr. George Mwangi is currently the principal investigator on a grant from the Worldwide Universities Network focused on comparatively understanding how higher education systems across six countries are pursuing diversity, equity, and/or inclusion for student success in their policies and practices. She serves as Associate Editor for the Journal on Diversity in Higher Education. Dr. George Mwangi has received multiple research awards from the Comparative & International Education Society and was the 2018 recipient of NAFSA’s Innovative Research in International Education award

Chancellor's Leadership Fellowships seek to cultivate future campus leaders by offering a half-time, one-year, temporary appointment to an administrative area on campus and by providing shadowing and mentoring from the leaders of the host units. In addition, fellows are expected to launch a significant program during the fellowship year.

Chancellor's Fellows have the opportunity to participate in university decision-making and to develop and demonstrate capacity for leadership in arenas that are not often a part of day-to-day faculty life. 

Full story via the Office of Faculty Development

IPO to Close From June 8 to June 15

Thursday, June 4, 2020

The International Programs Office (IPO) will be closed from June 8 to June 15, 2020. Staff will not be checking email or returning calls during this time.

Staff across the University will be on furlough at different times between June 1 – June 19, 2020.  Messages received the week of June 8 will not be read or responded to until the office re-opens on June 15.

Updated Summer 2020 Contact Info for Education Abroad

Wednesday, May 13, 2020

The online Education Abroad Advising Center is closed during the summer, but Education Abroad Advisors are here for you.  Please be sure to watch Online Essentials, a mandatory information session for all students in all majors interested in all countries, and when you’re ready to make a Zoom appointment, follow these instructions.  Not sure how to get started?  Send an email to abroad [at] ipo.umass.edu.

IPO offers study abroad programs all over the world, in countries like New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, Scotland, and more. We are also offering scholarships with extended deadlines for fall 2020 and beyond.

Education Abroad Alums Named 21st Century Leaders

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

Two alums of education abroad at UMass Amherst have been named 21st Century Leaders by the university for exemplary achievement, initiative, and leadership.

Christopher Clark of Westfield, a Commonwealth Honors College student receiving a degree in environmental science and STEM-German, plans to pursue a master’s degree in environmental health sciences from the University of Michigan’s School of Public Health and eventually a Ph.D. Clark worked in the research lab of Professor Alicia Timme-Laragy in environmental health sciences doing toxicology research. Clark’s leadership experience includes working on the steering committee and as a community organizer for Westfield Residents Advocating for Themselves, which led an effort that resulted in a CDC-sponsored exposure assessment and an increase in regulation for per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). Clark also served on the Student Government Association as chief of staff and undersecretary of sustainability. He has received numerous academic awards, including a Benjamin A. Gilman International Scholarship awarded by the U.S. State Department to study abroad in Germany.

Jonathan DeMarco of Hopkinton is a civil/environmental engineering major who will begin work as an environmental engineer in New York City upon graduation. He plans on studying for a master’s degree from UMass Amherst as well. DeMarco has worked as a student ambassador in the dean’s office of the College of Engineering and worked as an engineering study abroad essentials coordinator with the International Programs Office (IPO) at UMass to implement a long-term IPO program that will assist engineers to engage in study abroad. He was involved in the Engineers Without Borders chapter on campus and traveled to Kenya and Ghana to assist communities by implementing various water-related infrastructure.

Read the full story via University News and Media Relations

Deadline for Fall 2020 Abroad Programs Extended

Friday, May 1, 2020

The International Programs Office (IPO) is extending the education abroad application deadline for fall and academic-year programs to July 1, 2020. IPO hopes that by extending the deadline, students and their families have additional time to feel confident in their decisions as to whether or not to study abroad.

Correspondingly,  the deadline to commit to fall study abroad is also extended to July 15, or five days after students are accepted by their program (if it is after July 15). Host university or partner programs may have earlier deadlines. Students are encouraged to complete applications in a timely fashion. 

A list of common questions and concerns is available here, but please understand some answers will vary based on your program. Please reach out to your Education Abroad Advisor for any additional or program-specific questions.

2020 Scholarship Deadlines Extended

Monday, April 27, 2020

The deadlines for both the Education Abroad scholarship and the Education Abroad Merit scholarship have been extended to May 29. The Merit scholarship is a highly competitive program awarding $1,000 per application cycle (fall, spring, academic year, calendar year). The minimum GPA to qualify is 3.6. The Education Abroad scholarship is open to all UMass students with high financial need, with priority given to Pell Grant recipients. Awards start at $500 per semester.

Students participating in a fall, academic year, or virtual summer 2020 program through the International Programs Office (IPO) are encouraged to apply. Recipients will be notified July 1.

More information on these and other IPO scholarships is available on our website.

Virtual Summit to Examine Equity in Higher Ed

Tuesday, April 14, 2020

How can higher education foster equity while serving a variety of constituents, and what does it look like?  These questions—among many others—will be on the table when UMass Amherst hosts the virtual Higher Education Equity Summit on April 24 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. EST. Students, faculty, staff are encouraged to preregister for this free event by April 19 through this link.

The summit, funded by a grant from the Worldwide Universities Network (WUN) is a part of a larger global initiative led by Dr. Chrystal A. George Mwangi on equity in higher education, with related events on campuses in Ghana, India, South Africa, Ireland, and England. 

Dr. Gerardo Blanco, Associate Professor and Associate Academic Director at the Center for International Higher Education at Boston College, will serve as keynote speaker. Blanco—who earned his doctorate from UMass Amherst—focuses his research on the intersections of quality, branding and position, taking in a context of global competition in higher education. 

A panel discussion featuring Associate Provost for International Programs Kalpen Trivedi, Rutgers University’s Vice Chancellor for Diversity, Inclusion, and Community Engagement Anna Branch, and CEO of AFA Diversity Consulting, LLC Dr. Amer Ahmed will follow Blanco’s address. The group will discuss and debate what “success” means in the university context, how it can be achieved given the myriad local and global pressures impacting higher education, and how higher education improves or hinders equity (locally and globally) in its pursuit of success. 
““In higher education we use the term ‘success’ a lot, but what outcomes are we really seeking to address? For campus administrators working in their specific areas, how are we really defining what it means? Is there a common understanding of it, is it about serving the university, serving the community?” says Associate Professor for Higher Education (and event co-organizer along with UMass Professor Sangeeta Kamat and Assistant Professor Jonique Childs) Chrystal George Mwangi. “Dr. Blanco can speak to that, and the panelists can unpack it through their lens.”

This event is co-sponsored by the Researching Diversity, Inclusion and Student Success Project; Worldwide Universities Network UMass College of Education UMass International Programs Office, Center for Student Success Research, and the UMass Undergraduate Student Success Office. Contact Dr. George Mwangi with questions. 

Education Abroad Peer Advisors posing

Education Abroad Advising Now Available Virtually

Thursday, April 9, 2020

In keeping with the UMass Amherst campus policy of remote work, the International Programs Office (IPO) is currently closed for in-person business. However, Education Abroad advising services are now avilable virtually. 

Education Abroad Essentials, a mandatory information session for all students in all majors interested in all countries, is now available online. You will not be able to meet with your Education Abroad Program Advisor until you have attended. 

After you have completed Essentials, you can book a Zoom appointment with a peer advisor.

Education Abroad Advisors are available during the summer; students should email abroad[at]ipo.umass[dot]edu for more information.

IPO offers over 450 study abroad programs all over the world, in countries like New Zealand, South Africa, Thailand, Scotland, and more. We are also offering scholarships with extended deadlines for fall 2020 and beyond.

The International Programs Office Building

IPO Services Available Remotely

Wednesday, March 18, 2020

In keeping with the UMass Amherst campus policy of remote work, the IPO building is currently closed for in-person business. All advising and student-support activities continue during this time and IPO staff members are available via phone or email. Please contact the appropriate staff member for your query by visiting our staff directory. 

Education Abroad Essentials, a mandatory information session for all students in all majors interested in all countries., is now available online. You will not be able to meet with your Education Abroad Program Advisor until you have attended. 

After you have completed Essentials, you can book a Zoom appointment with a peer advisor.

If you are unsure whom to contact, here are some general email addresses for your reference:

General Study Abroad Inquiries: abroad[at]ipo.umass[dot]edu

For study-abroad students and families affected by CoVID-19 issues: coronavirus-ipo[at]umass[dot]edu

Please note that IPO is receiving an extremely high volume of calls and e-mails currently on account of the study-abroad and travel disruptions as a result of the global CoVID-19 situation. Up to date information about the University’s response to CoVID-19 (including IPO-specific information, residential information for international students, and other campus services) can be found at: www.umass.edu/coronavirus. Information on most general topics and FAQs regarding travel and study-abroad can be found there. The main IPO phone line 413 545-2710 will continue to be monitored during business hours

UMass AMherst student Makhai Dickerson-Pells ’21

Student Perspective: Identity and Intersectionality in the Dominican Republic

Monday, February 24, 2020

Makhai Dickerson-Pells ’21 is a double major in history and anthropology and a peer advisor in the Education Abroad office. Dickerson-Pells studied abroad in the Dominican Republic during his freshman year as part of IPO’s Emerging Scholars program, which sends first-generation students from the Commonwealth Honors College abroad. 

Reflecting on culture and race as aspects of my identity was a vital part of my experience abroad. I was faced with a different concept of race and ethnicity in the Dominican Republic— the term “people of color” is completely different in a country where the majority of people are black and brown. Intersectionality of identities is present anywhere in the world, but I tried to be more aware of it while I was visiting the Dominican Republic.  

In the U.S., many people view race as black and white, but in the Dominican Republic colorism—discrimination based on the social meanings attached to skin color— is the predominant factor. Haitian people who live in the Dominican Republic speak Spanish, know Dominican dance and culture, and may identity as Dominican, yet they’re still treated as second class citizens and refused support or access to certain jobs and rights. This bothered me because I grew up in a place where identifying as being black or part of the African diaspora can be a uniting force, but Dominicans refused to identify as black or accept the influence of the African diaspora to their culture and history, and discriminated against darker Dominicans and Haitians.  

My ideas of race and ethnicity were also challenged as I identify my ethnic background as black and Native American, or Cape Verdean and Wampanoag. In terms of phenotype and racial background I share a lot in common with Dominicans who are mixed with African, European, and Indigenous roots just like I am. However, I more strongly identify with my African roots and am prouder of my ancestry than many of the Dominicans I encountered are. My discussions of race, ethnicity, history, politics and more brought about reciprocal acknowledgment and understanding of our differing values that I will continue to value for the impact it has had on my own views and academic interests to this day. 

As you begin your journey, you may find that you are seen and understood by individuals from your host country in a completely new context from how you see yourself. Encounters with new worldviews and perspectives can foster productive intercultural dialogues and greater opportunities for learning, but they can also be surprising, challenging, or even deeply unsettling. Regardless of your identity, I encourage everyone to learn about the cultural context of the communities among which you will live while abroad and to reflect on your personal experiences. 

ONSA To Offer Spring Scholarship Sessions, Workshops

Monday, February 24, 2020

With multiple education abroad scholarship deadlines looming this spring, the Office of National Scholarship Advisement (ONSA) is here to help. ONSA is hosting a series of scholarship workshops and information sessions throughout March and April. These sessions promise to provide a solid launching pad for current juniors interested in applying for scholarships with fall 2020 semester deadlines.

Scholarship topics covered include Study in Asia; National Scholarships for Study in the U.K; the Fulbright U.S. Student Program (overseas research or teaching English abroad); the Truman Scholarship (public policy); the Soros Fellowship (graduate school); and the DAAD Study Scholarship & Long-Term Research Grant in Germany.

The Fulbright info sessions will be split into two topics: general information and how to write an application. Students are advised to attend the general info session before the application session.

Spacing is often limited; students are encouraged to register online if attending. A full listing of sessions is available below.

Spring 2020 ONSA Workshops/Info Sessions:

Fulbright General Info Session 

Monday, March 2
12.00 PM – 1.00 PM
Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall / pizza lunch 

Fulbright General Info Session

Wednesday, March 4
10.00 AM – 11.00 AM
Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall

Fulbright General Info Session

Monday, March 9
11.00 AM – 12.00 PM
Elm Hall room 210

Fulbright General Info Session

Thursday, March 12
12.00 PM – 1.00 PM
Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall / pizza lunch

How to Write a Fulbright Application

Monday, March 23
10.00 AM – 11.00 AM
3rd fl., Commonwealth Honors College

How to Write a Fulbright Application

Wednesday, March 25
2.00 PM – 3.00 PM
Elm Hall room 224

How to Write a Fulbright Application

Monday, March 30
11.00 AM – 12.00 PM
Elm Hall room 210

How to Write a Fulbright Application

Thursday, April 2
2.00 PM – 3.00 PM
Elm Hall room 210

Applying for U.K. Scholarships Info Session

Tuesday, April 7
10 AM – 11 AM
3rd fl., Commonwealth Honors College

Applying for Asia Scholarships Info Session

Wednesday, April 8
1.00 PM – 2.00 PM
3rd fl., Commonwealth Honors College

Applying for U.K. Scholarships Info Session

Thursday, April 9
2.00 PM – 3.00 PM
3rd fl., Commonwealth Honors College

Truman Scholarship Info Session

Tuesday, April 14
10.00 AM – 11 PM
3rd fl., Commonwealth Honors College

DAAD German Info Session

Tuesday, April 14
12.00 PM – 1.00 PM
Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall / pizza lunch

Soros Fellowship Info Session

Wednesday, April 22
12.00 PM – 1.00 PM
Commonwealth Honors College Events Hall / pizza lunch

UMass Amherst student Jessica Rodriguez ’19

Student Perspective: Foster Children Abroad

Thursday, February 20, 2020

Jessica Rodriguez ’19 is a recently graduated peer advisor in the International Programs Office. She studied abroad at the University of Limerick in Ireland for the 2016-17 academic year. Growing up in Massachusetts and Florida, Rodriguez became a foster child during her teenage years; this provided a unique perspective on studying abroad. 
I spent the first 13 years of my life growing up around the central Florida area. I went to five different elementary schools and two different middle schools in Florida before moving to Watertown, Massachusetts (my mother’s hometown) in eighth grade. Constantly moving from place to place due to financial insecurity taught me to be adaptable and open from a young age, as I was always having to make new friends in new places.  
I went into foster care as a junior in high school. This experience forced me to grow up quickly and become very independent. It also motivated me through much of college. The percentage of foster children graduating from a 4-year college is below 3% (according to the National Foster Youth Institute). I have always been driven and college was my best ticket out of the low-income situation to which I had become accustomed. So, I double majored in chemical engineering and environmental science with the hopes of becoming an environmental engineer. 
I studied abroad for a variety of reasons. I wanted to travel outside of the U.S., experience new cultures, and challenge myself. Being a foster child, I figured that if I could manage to make going abroad for a year work financially and academically, then I could do anything I set my mind to! My study abroad experience was full of learning (academically and personally), growing, and adapting. 
Studying abroad is an important and valuable experience. Most foster children—or even students from low-income backgrounds or tough family situations—do not even think studying abroad is an option. I want other students to know that despite the hard times, you can create positive experiences and move forward and push yourself and try new things. These are some of the best steps you can take to break free and grow, even though it’s tough. 
I am continuing my studies at UMass Amherst this fall, pursuing a master of science degree in plant and soil sciences. Once I complete this degree, I will begin looking for a career in the environmental engineering field, with the possibility of a PhD in the future. 


A logo saying "absentee vote"

Important Voting Information for Abroad Students

Thursday, February 20, 2020

The 2020 United States elections will be held on Tuesday, November 3, 2020. On the national level, all 435 seats in the United States House of Representatives, 35 of the 100 seats in the United States Senate, and the office of president of the United States will be contested. 

Are you a US Citizen who is eligible to vote?  Make sure your ballot is counted while you are abroad!

Please visit the U.S. Vote Foundation to find important information on

  • Upcoming Election Dates and Deadlines
  • Eligibility Requirements
  • Identification Requirements
  • In-Person, Online, and Snail Mail Options
  • Verifying That You are Registered to Vote
  • Voter Registration
  • Requesting an Absentee Ballot

Choose your state from the drop down menu and make sure you meet your state's requirements. 
Do not miss the deadline to register to vote in the November elections.  Be sure to request your absentee ballot and return it on time so your vote will be counted.

CIEE, IPO to Offer Matching Grant for Summer Pell Recipients

Monday, February 10, 2020

The International Programs Office (IPO) is excited to share a scholarship opportunity for students who already received a Federal Pell Grant and applied for Frederick Douglas Global Fellowship (FDGF).  CIEE, a leader in international education and UMass Education Abroad Partner, is awarding the Frederick Douglas Global Scholars to all qualified applicants.

CIEE will guarantee the $1,500 grant, which can be used toward any UMass-approved CIEE summer 2020 program. Additionally, UMass will match the amount, bringing the total to $3,000 toward the cost of a CIEE summer study abroad program.

Financial aid is rare for summer programs, and students are encouraged to consider this unique opportunity. The application deadline is February 14, 2020.

Information on completing the UMass study abroad application, as well as the list of approved CIEE summer program locations can be found here. Please note that this process is a mandatory component of going abroad, and needs to be completed in addition to the CIEE scholarship application.

To learn more about the award, and start your CIEE scholarship application, please visit the CIEE Frederick Douglas Global Fellowship page.

Students from the UMass Public Health in Cuba program

Comparing Health Care Delivery in Cuba

Tuesday, February 4, 2020

How do you earn a semester’s worth of credits for less than the cost of in-state tuition? If you’re a member of the UMass Amherst School of Public Health and Health Sciences program, you might do it by going to Havana, Cuba.

UMass Public Health in Cuba, a new program launched in February 2019, offers students the opportunity to immerse themselves in the island nation’s unique health care system while learning a new language. The first iteration of the program was supported by a successful grant through the Marlene M. Johnson Innovation Challenge. The program design strongly aligns with the broader goals of the 100,000 Strong in the Americas initiative to increase the annual number of U.S. students studying in Latin America and the Caribbean to 100,000 and bring 100,000 students from that region to the United States by 2020. 

Students travel in groups of up to 20 with four UMass faculty members, traveling to Havana for three-week blocks. Each block comprises a different UMass public health course. This intensive model lets students focus deeply on one topic at a time. Courses change depending on the faculty associated with the program. In spring 2019, courses included Community Development and Health, Global Women’s Health, Environmental Controversies, and Food Toxicology.

Alongside their public health courses, students also take a semester-long course in intensive Spanish especially for health care professionals. Equivalent to two semesters of Spanish at UMass Amherst, the course is taught by a University of Havana faculty member and is connected to a service-learning project allowing students to become more keenly engaged in the community. 

Senior Lecturer and Public Health Sciences Undergraduate Program Director Gloria DiFulvio coordinated the program’s design with the International Programs Office. DiFulvio says the program provides unique opportunities for undergraduates—whether it be traveling to Cuba (a recent development), or spending time abroad with their professors. “Cuba is like a hidden country. It has been difficult for U.S. citizens to travel there yet we have a lot to learn from their health care system,” she says. “The sense of community in Havana is really strong. When it comes to health, the attitude is that health care is a human right. It is not dependent on employment as it is in the U.S.” 

DiFulvio says this attitude is what has allowed Cuba’s public health care program to thrive. All Cuban citizens have access to health care free of cost; the only expenses they incur are for medicine, and even those are cheaper than in the United States. The Cuban health care system supports an infant mortality rate and a life expectancy rate comparable to those of the United States. 

These factors make study of health care in countries with markedly different health care than the U.S. an important addition to the studies of public health majors. “When studying public health, it is helpful to obtain a global perspective,” DiFulvo says. “Students will benefit by studying health and health care in different cultures and political systems to gain an understanding of how health and justice play out in those countries. 

The Cuba program is bringing 16 new students to the island in the spring of 2020. 

2019 Holiday Hours

Wednesday, December 4, 2019

Holiday hours at the International Programs Office (IPO) begin the week of December 23:

  • Monday, December 23: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.
  • Tuesday, December 24: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.
  • Wednesday, December 25: Closed
  • Thursday, December 26: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.
  • Friday, December 27: 8:30 a.m.—4:30 p.m.
  • Monday, December 30: Closed
  • Tuesday, December 31: Closed
  • Wednesday, January 1: Closed

On December 26 & 27 staff are available to assist you but the main door is locked for security purposes. Please call 413-545-2710 for assistance. 

  • The Education Abroad Advising Center will close for Winter session on Thursday, December 19 and will reopen January 21.  
  • Peer Advising Learning Commons hours and Wednesday evening Essentials will end on Wednesday, December 11 and will resume January 21.  
  • Education Abroad Advisors are available during the break by calling 413-545-2710 or emailing us. 
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.  

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


Associate Provost for International Programs Kalpen Trivedi

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:


10 AM – 11 AM

CHC Conference Room 305


Wednesday, 6 March                                                

10 AM – 11 AM

Elm Hall classroom 224                                                           


Monday, 18 March

2.30 PM – 3.45 PM Elm Hall classroom 214                                                           


Wednesday, 20 March                                                          

10.10 AM – 11 AM

Elm Hall classroom 224                                                         


Wednesday, 27 March (PIZZA LUNCH)

12.20 PM – 1.10 PM

Elm Hall classroom 214


Friday, 22 March (PIZZA LUNCH)

12 PM – 1 PM

CHC Conference Room 351


2 PM – 3 PM

CHC Conference Room 351


10 AM – 11 AM

CHC Conference Room 351


2 PM – 3 PM                                                           


Wednesday, 3 April                                                               

10 AM – 11 AM

Both in CHC Conference Room 351


2 PM – 3 PM                                                        


Friday, 12 April                                                      

10 AM – 11 AM

Both in CHC Conference Room 351


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.

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.