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Submitted by Janna K. Behrens
Students studying abroad for the semester or year must register their trip with the Amherst College Travel Registry. This steps takes only a few moments:
Go to the Amherst College Travel Registry website.
Your Amherst email is already in the database, so you should be able to log in with your regular Amherst email and password. If you cannot, click the "forgot password" button and an email will be sent to your Amherst email with log in instructions.
Create a "side trip." (This is also an excellent opportunity to update your emergency contact information to your AC Data profile.)
Your campus mail box will be closed while you are away. Anything that is sent to you from outside the college will be forwarded to your home address via first class mail. Any campus mail will be returned to sender. To change/update your home of record, you must contact the registrar's office (email@example.com).
The Amherst College Study Abroad Office is committed to promoting diversity within international education. To help all students prepare for study abroad, it is important that students begin to understand about the abroad experience from different perspectives from students with different identities. Please visit Diversity and Identity Abroad for for information and lists of resources that will give you exposure to some of these perspectives. For inquiries regarding diversity issues please do not hesitate in contacting Dean Janna Behrens, Director of Education Abroad.
Students can specialize in select area studies and take full advantage of the curricula in the five colleges through several certificate programs. Please see Amherst's website on five college programs for more information on these unique and exciting programs that offer courses in disciplines not exclusively offered at Amherst. Many of these programs can easily incorporate a semester abroad, which would enhance the certificate program significantly.
There are many resources within the five colleges that can help you prepare for and/or build on your study abroad experience. In addition to resource centers, there are several certificate programs students, such as the Five College African Studies certificate and the Native American Indian Studies certificate program, just to name a few. Please visit the Five Colleges, Inc. Academic Departments and Programs website for more information.
Of particular importance to study abroad are the Five College Center for the Study of World Languages and the Five College Course search engine. Use these to prepare for and build proficiency on languages of interest to you.
- Five College Center for the Study of World Languages
- Five College Center for East Asian Studies webinars (e.g. Chinese Characters and the Stories They Tell, Japanese Tea Ceremony)
- Five College Course search engine
While no program or institution can guarantee your safety (at home or abroad), you can minimize your risk abroad by researching your host city and culture and engaging fully in the orientation provided by your program. Other resources that you should review are below:
- AIG Travel Guard has country-specific health and safety profiles. (See "Insurance" information below for more information on this program.)
- The U.S. State Department has created a Students Abroad website specifically for students traveling, working, or studying abroad. The website has a wide variety of information ranging from how to obtain a passport and visa to filling prescriptions abroad.
- Association for Safe International Road Travel promotes global road safety and has developed country reports about driving conditions abroad.
- Travel medicine clinics administer vaccinations and can provide necessary pre-travel health information. There are two in the area: UMass Travel Clinic and The Travel Medicine Center of Western Massachusetts. You need to book well in advance for an appointment.
Because you are a student at an institution in Massachusetts, you are required to have health insurance. If you are on the college plan with Gallagher Koster, you will be covered while studying abroad for the semester or year. If you are on a different plan, call to make sure it will cover you in your study abroad country as well as countries where you intend to travel.
Most health insurance policies do not include coverage for emergency evacuation or repatriation of remains, both of which can be costly. As an Amherst student on study abroad, you have a benefit through the Five College's policy with AIG TravelGuard, you have a benefit through AIG Travel Guard. This benefit includes emergency medical assistance, general trip advice, and access to many other services. The online resources of AIG TravelGuard are extensive which include country-specific medical and security information, travel guidance, up-to-date travel delay information, and much more. The attachments below include an introductory letter by Elizabeth Carmichael, CPCU, Director of Compliance and Risk Management at Five Colleges, Inc. as well as the policy summary of coverage. More information on international college-sponsored travel is available on the Five Colleges, Inc. website.
AIG Travel Guard policy number: GTP 9125324
Toll-free number: 877-244-6871
Overseas collect: +1 715-346-0859
If you and your parents would like to purchase additional coverage, you may want to review the emergency medical assistance insurance from the International Student Identity Card (ISIC) or iNext. You may also want to check with your study abroad provider to see if they include such insurance through their program fee. An additional resource where you can compare different insurance packages is available at www.insuremytrip.com.
The Green Passport Program is an organization that promotes sustainability in study abroad. The website has "green" recommendations for travelers, study abroad offices, and programs overseas. Students can learn how to promote environmental awareness while living and traveling abroad.
The International Student Identity Card (ISIC) can also provide you with discounts on rail, bus, and air travel and accommodation, as well as discounts on access to museums and other cultural activities. The card can be purchased online or at any STA Travel office.
Glimpse Magazine is an online and print resource that promotes cross-cultural understanding and exchange. There are articles, forums, and photo essays by young adults living and studying abroad. Reading about study abroad experiences by students like yourself may help you decide if it is the right experience for you during your college years. "It's Your World. Get Acquainted."
Let's Go is a budget travel website written by students.
TransititionsAbroad.com also has a wealth of information for living, studying, and traveling abroad. It contains editorial articles as well as resources for travel and study overseas.
spoonfed is an online resource for students living, studying, and working in London.
Study Abroad Australia is an online resource for students studying in Australia.
Frost Library has a number of books prospective study abroad students may be interested in reading:
A History of US Study Abroad: Beginnings to 1965 by William W. Hoffa
Developing Intercultural Competence and Transformation / ed. Victor Savicki
Intercultural Journeys: From Study to Residence Abroad / Jane Jackson
Integrating Study Abroad Into the Curriculum / eds. by Elizabeth Brewer and Kiran Cunningham
Speak the Culture: Italy
Speak the Culture: France
Speak the Culture: Spain
You will need a passport to travel outside the U.S. and perhaps a visa, depending on which country you plan to study and depending on the length of your stay. You can apply for a passport through the mail at U.S. post offices and some town halls. Please see the U.S. State Department's Passport webpage for more information, including application materials, how to expedite the application process, etc.
A visa is a document that allows you to legally enter a country or stay for an extended period of time. For more information on whether or not you need a visa for your study abroad host country, please check with your program and consult the U.S. State Departments Visa webpage.
The U.S. State Department also has an excellent page with information on health, safety, country profiles, and a whole host of other information that was created just for students studying, living, or working abroad called "Students Abroad."
Some visa applications require you to submit a "statement of good conduct" from a police station. Amherst College Campus Police is not able to produce this letter for you under MA state law, but you should either check with your hometown police department or make a formal request to the MA Criminal History Services Board.
Some students might want to enlist the assistance of a company that can assist with obtaining the visa. These companies are particularly useful if you need your visa expedited. Fees vary depending on destination, citizenship, and if you want expedited service. Previous students have consulted with Travisa and A Briggs.