Prioritizing Self-Care

Study away can be an engaging and exciting time, but it is not without challenges. It is important to carefully consider your personal needs and to plan accordingly in order to enjoy a successful semester or year away from Amherst. A few of the most common challenges and concerns that study away students encounter are related to the following: health, wellness, and safety; cultural immersion and adaptation; and diversity and social identities.

This page provides a number of resources for you to review, as well as a few suggestions for making the most of your study away experience. Your program will be your primary point of contact during your time off-campus, but please also remember that Amherst College is still a resource for you, as well. Refer to the Study Away Handbook in Moodle for more information about Amherst resources available to you.

If you have any doubts about available resources or require more information about a particular situation, please do not hesitate to contact your program or the Office of Global Education for assistance.

Making the Most of Your Study Away Experience

Study away can be a time of profound academic and personal growth. Here are a few pointers for making the most of your time off-campus.

  • Get involved! Ask your program about opportunities available to you. Programs often have on-site staff who can help connect you with various opportunities in your host city or host institution. Some even offer an "opportunities fair" towards the beginning of the semester.
  • Find your community. Are you a student-athlete at Amherst? Are you connected with the resource centers on campus or any affinity groups? Regardless of how you identify, it is just as important to build your community and support network during study away as it is here on campus. You can often find such groups through your program staff, local organizations, or social media.
  • Use the local language. We cannot stress this one enough! Whether you're a complete beginner or a near-native speaker, attempting to use the local language can open many doors for you.
  • Consider living with a host family or local students. Living with locals provides insights into the culture that you wouldn't otherwise be able to access.
  • Begin thesis research. This can be a unique opportunity to access archives that are not available outside of your host location. Your program may also offer courses that are relevant to your thesis topic, but are not offered at Amherst or within the Five Colleges.
  • Volunteer or apply for an internship. (Note that Amherst College does not award credit for volunteer or internship opportunities. These must be completed above and beyond a full course load.)
  • Network. Check the Amherst Alumni Network to see if there are any Amherst alums in your host city or region. This can be a great opportunity to learn more about your host location, network within the broader Amherst community, or simply share an Amherst connection if you're feeling homesick. If your program is hosted at a local university, don't hesitate to stop by their career services. 
  • Browse additional tips and career benefits of study away on our Beyond Amherst page.

Please note that this is not an exhaustive list, but rather a starting point for you to begin engaging with your host culture.