- New StudentsNew Students
- Class of 2018 and New Transfers
- New Student Guide
- Information for Parents
- Important Dates and Deadlines
- New International Students
- Helpful Tips for International Students
- F-1 International Students (Not Enrolled in Another U.S. School)
- F-1 International Students (Canadian Citizenship)
- F-1 International Students (Transferring to Amherst College from another U.S. School)
- Financial Documentation Requirements for Issuance of I-20AB Form
- Maintenance F-1 Student Visa: Staying Legal
- SEVIS Information Page
- International Students--Forms
- Travel & Arrival Information
- Travel Tips & Contact Information
- e-CHECKUP TO GO
Helpful Information for International Students
A Guide to Amherst College and the Pioneer Valley for International Students
- Useful Webpages
- Useful Phone Numbers
- Driving in the U.S.A.
- Local Stores
- Things to Do in the Pioneer Valley
- Winter - What Clothes You'll Need
- Conversion Table
1. Career Center https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/careers
2. College Intranet https://www.amherst.edu/myamherst/intranet
3. Calendars https://www.amherst.edu/aboutamherst/news/calendar
4. Honor System https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/deanstudents/code
5. Information Technology https://www.amherst.edu/offices/it
6. Multicultural Resource Center https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/multicultural
7. Rainbow Room https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/rainbow
8. Resources for Students https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/dean_faculty/tap/advisingforstudents
9. Library https://www.amherst.edu/library/
11. Health Center https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/health/service
12. PVTA (Pioneer Valley Transit Authority) http://www.pvta.com/
13. CCE (Center for Community Engagement) https://www.amherst.edu/academiclife/cce
14. Religious Life https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/religiouslife
15. Residential Life https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/reslife
*All campus phone numbers begin with (413)-542- and are followed by a 4-digit extension.
1. Campus Police/ACEMS (Note: call this number in case of emergency. If you are on campus, do not call 911, the general emergency number in the U.S.A., because it will route you through Northampton) (413)-542-2111
2. Campus Police non-urgent line (413)-542-2291
3. Dean of Students Office (413)-542-2337
4. Dexter Padayachee (until June 30, 2014), International Student Life Fellow, (413)-542-5560
5. Health Center (413)-542-2267
6. Counseling Center (413)-542-2354
7. IT Student Help Line 413-542-7921
8. Popular food delivery services:
a. Wings, boneless and bone-in chicken wings, (413)-549-9464
b. Sugar Jones, fresh baked cookies, (413)-549-5663
c. Bruno’s, pizza and pasta, (413)-256-0222
d. Delivery Express, an independent company that will deliver food from a list of restaurants in the area, (413)-549-0077
1. PVTA bus system http://www.pvta.com/
The PVTA is the bus system the runs throughout the Pioneer Valley. It goes from Amherst to the other 5-Colleges, as well as the grocery store, Hampshire Mall, Puffer’s Pond, and other major sites in the area. During the academic year, it is free to students. The bus stop on campus is on the corner in front of Converse.
2. Peter Pan Bus http://www.peterpanbus.com/
Peter Pan buses run from Amherst to many cities in the Northeast, such as Boston, New York, and Hartford. Most buses from Amherst have a stop or transfer in Springfield. You can buy tickets online or at Amherst Books on Main St. The bus stop is in front of Hitchcock Dormitory on South Pleasant St.
3. Amtrak http://www.amtrak.com/
This major train line can take you all over the country, although students most frequently take it to other places on the East Coast, such as Philadelphia or Washington, D.C. You can buy tickets online, and the train station is at 13 Railroad St. in Amherst (right off Main St., about a ten-minute walk from campus)
The nearest airports are Bradley International Airport in Hartford, CT (about 40 mi./65 km away) and Logan International Airport in Boston, MA (about 95 mi./150 km away). The Seemo Shuttle will take you to Bradley for $46, and the Peter Pan Bus goes from Amherst to Logan for $35. During breaks there are often free shuttles to Bradley that leave from campus. Be sure to sign up for a seat if you want to take advantage of this service.
5. Zipcar http://www.zipcar.com/
Zipcar is a car-rental service that lets you rent cars by the hour or the day. There are several cars parked on campus next to Physical Plant that students can use. To get access to these vehicles, you must open an account with Zipcar and then reserve a car during the time that you need it. There are hourly and daily rates, and as an Amherst Student you get a discounted registration rate (no application fee and a $25 annual fee). Gas and insurance are included in the rental fees.
6. School Vans
There are three groups on campus that have vans available for student use, under the condition that they are being used for trips that have “clear value to the student body.” The driver must have a valid license that is registered with campus police and at least one year experience driving in the U.S. See a summary of the van use policy here: https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/aas/transport and https://www.amherst.edu/offices/campus_police/community_services/pool_vehicle_requests/policy
Fill out a Van Request Form through the following:
Follow the flow chart here to find out, then use the links below to learn about the next steps.
Resources for Using International Licenses and Getting a Massachusetts Driver’s License:
- https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/deanstudents/international/RMVIntl (This link through the Amherst website has good step-by-step information on how to obtain a MA driver’s license)
- http://www.mass.gov/rmv/forms/21317.pdf (Rules about driving with foreign license)
- http://www.mass.gov/rmv/dmanual/chapter1.pdf (The MA RMV handbook, that has all the information you need about obtaining a MA license)
Massachusetts will honor valid Driver’s Licenses and Registrations issued by the following countries*
Central African Republic
Dem. Rep of Congo
France (inc. Overseas Territories)
Georgia (Republic of)
Germany (by reciprocity)
Hong Kong (China is not a party to this treaty but has made it applicable to Hong Kong and Macao)
Macao (same as Hong Kong)
Netherlands & Antilles and Aruba
Papua New Guinea
Portugal (inc. Portuguese Territories)
St. Vincent & Grenadines
South Africa (incl. Namibia)
Spain (incl. African localities and provinces)
Switzerland (by reciprocity)
Syrian Arab Republic
Trinidad & Tobago
United Kingdom (Great Britain & Northern Ireland) & Cayman Islands, Gibraltar, Baliwick of Guernsey, Isle of Man, & Statesof Jersey
(Former Republics of the USSR)
* From a List of Treaties and other International Agreements of the United States in Force on January 1, 2003. The RMV reserves the right to amend this list at any time based on additional information received from the U.S. Department of State or other sources. The Massachusetts Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV)
1. A.J. Hastings- Amherst College’s “bookstore”, Hastings is the place to go to get Amherst gear, like shirts, sweatshirts, hats, and more. It also has a lot of office and school supplies.
Website: http://www.ajhastings.com/ Address: 45 South Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002
Phone Number: (413) 253-2840
2. Amherst Books- Amherst’s actual bookstore. This is the place to go to get the books your professors require for their courses. The books for AC are downstairs and organized by department and course number. There are used books available sometimes, as well.
Website: http://www.amherstbooks.com/ Address: 8 Main Street, Amherst, MA 01002
Phone Number: (413) 256-1547
3. The Option- Amherst’s student-run used bookstore, the Option is a great place to get books for your courses at very discounted prices, and to sell your books after you’re done with them.
Website: https://www.amherst.edu/campuslife/studentgroups/the_option Address: Basement of Garman House, on the corner of Boltwood Ave. and Rt. 9 (College St.)
Hours: 12pm-5pm, Monday-Friday during Add-Drop period
4. Hampshire Mall- The nearest shopping mall with big stores like Target, where you can get anything from shampoo, to bed linens, to new clothes. There is also a Cinemark movie theater and Trader Joe’s grocery store.
Website: http://www.hampshiremall.com/ Address: 367 Russell Street, Hadley, MA 01035
Phone Number: (413) 586-5700
5. Stop & Shop- One of the two main grocery stores in the area.
Website: http://www.stopandshop.com/ Address: 456 Russell Street, Hadley MA 01035
Phone Number: (413) 253-3227
6. Big Y- The other main grocery store in the area.
Website: www.bigy.com/ Address: 175 University Drive, Amherst, MA 01002
Phone Number: (413) 253-0416
7. CVS- The local drugstore with medication, toiletries, paper items, candy, and some food.
Website: www.cvs.com/ Address: 76 N Pleasant Street, Amherst, MA 01002
Phone Number: (413) 253-9307
- Go to the movies
- Amherst Cinema (http://amherstcinema.org/) is located at 28 Amity St. in the town center. It plays a few new releases, as well as some independent films. Show your Amherst College ID for a student discount!
- Cinemark Theaters (http://www.cinemark.com/theatre-detail.aspx?node_id=1574&showtime_date), located in the Hampshire Mall shows all of the new feature films. They offer student discounts and discounts showings on Tuesdays.
- Hiking – The Pioneer Valley is home to many beautiful hiking trails. If you’re interested in outdoor activities, join ACOC (Amherst College Outing Club). They have frequent trips ski, hike, camp, and more!
- The Bird Sanctuary – Located just behind the tennis courts, there is a bike trail that leads to Northampton, and several walking trails the explore the woods, including the Bird Sanctuary. Go here for a map and more information: https://www.amherst.edu/museums/sanctuary/recreation
- The Notch – See the mountain range from Memorial Hill? You can climb it! There are several different trails with different difficulty levels detailed here: http://www3.amherst.edu/~acoc/website/trails/notch.htm
- Mt. Sugarloaf – Slightly further away, but you can drive to the top of the mountain, and you can’t beat the views. Get more information here: http://www.mass.gov/dcr/parks/central/msug.htm
- Farmer’s Market – During the fall, spring, and summer, there is a farmer’s market in the town center, in which local farmers sell fresh produce, baked goods, and more. It is held in the parking lot next to the town commons on Saturday mornings. (http://www.amherstfarmersmarket.com/ )
- Puffer’s Pond – A popular venue for swimming, fishing, hiking, and more. Located about 3 miles north of campus. (http://www.amherstma.gov/index.aspx?NID=1316 )
- Yankee Candle Factory—Located in South Deerfield, this store is filled with holiday cheer year-round, and is a great display of New England culture. (http://www.yankeecandle.com/about-yankee-candle/visit-our-flagship-stores/t )
- Smith Greenhouse – Smith College offers a beautiful show of different kinds of seasonal flowers. (http://www.smith.edu/garden/Home/events.html )
- Emily Dickenson Homestead – See the home of the famous poet and learn about her family’s history, just a short walk from campus, and free to students. (http://www.emilydickinsonmuseum.org/ )
1. Heavy coat
2. Warm, waterproof boots
3. Thick socks
5. Layers- sweaters/sweatshirts, thermal underwear
*Don’t forget that it gets hot in Amherst over the summer, too! So be sure to have some light clothing, as well. Despite common misconception, it’s not always winter in Massachusetts.
** If you are concerned about the cost of warm winter clothes, we can help! There is a collection of gently used coats, scarves, and other winter accessories available for free to students who need them. Look out for announcements about the "Winter Coat Drive", and email the International Student Life Fellow to set up an appointment to find clothes that fit. Plus, get information on vouchers to local thrift stores.
Below is a table with the basics. Here is a useful website that easily converts all Metric/Standard measurements.
2.2 pounds (lbs)
.035 ounces (oz)
4.2 cups (8 oz)
212 Degrees Fahrenheit (boiling point)
100 degrees celcius
5/9(°F - 32)
1 mile (5,280 feet)
1 foot (12 inches)
1 pound (lb)
1 ounce (oz)
1 cup (8 oz)
1 pint (2 cups)
1 gallon (8 pints or 4 quarts)
32 Degrees Fahrenheit (freezing)
0 degrees celcius
(9/5)°C + 32