Why you should make UMass Amherst your destination abroad

Posted on January 26, 2016 by

A number of Manchester students study abroad for a semester each year. This post is guest-written by Alberto Moron Hernandez (pictured), who’s just started his time at UMass Amherst.

Do you like cold weather? Enjoy lectures delivered in charming American accents? Want to study at a world-class Linguistics department? Then you’re probably right to be studying at Manchester already.

However, chances are that you would be just as happy at UMass Amherst and for exactly the same reasons!

The following are my first impressions after just over a week in the States and the reasons why you should make UMass Amherst your destination abroad.

1) The people you’ll meet

Sam the Minuteman

Meeting Sam the Minuteman (Amherst’s mascot) with a group of fellow exchange students.

With over 500 different organisations on campus, free tickets to games and a fantastic dining experience which brings together a large part of the 30,000 strong student population, the opportunities to bond with your peers are everywhere. UMass Amherst feels like a bit of a ‘bubble’ at times (especially when coming from a larger city such as Manchester), so make sure to take advantage of the free transport and visit the neighbouring towns and cities with friends. However, most of the time you’ll feel that you have everything you need right there on campus. With UMass accepting roughly 200 exchange and international students every semester you’ll be made to feel welcome in no time at all.

2) The variety of courses on offer


A view of Amherst’s W.E.B. Du Bois Library, the tallest university library in the world.

UMass provides a truly interdisciplinary approach to the study of language at the undergraduate level. The ample selection of modules on offer guarantee that you’ll find something that suits you and broadens your horizons!

At UMass I am taking the following modules:

Introduction to Syntax is a requirement both here and at home, and I’m certain this class will provide a solid foundation for other classes in future.

Child Language Acquisition does exactly what it says on the tin, and I am looking forward to completing a small research project as the final grade for this class. Recommended if you liked: LELA10122 Investigating Grammar; LELA10032 Introduction to Semantics

Language & Cognition provides an introduction to psycholinguistics. The syllabus covers some of the historical background of cognitive science and then delves into particular issues such as Colour & Language, Spatial Perception or Numerical Cognition. Recommended if you liked: LELA10202 Language, Mind and Brain

Finally, Computational Linguistics is the class I am most excited about. It involves using programming and statistics to do interesting things with language, mainly analyzing and manipulating corpora. We’ll be coding in Python and the homework assignments for this class look really fun! Recommended if you liked: LELA20281 The Logic of English; have an interest in programming

3) Everything else


Goodell Hall, UMass’ best attempt at rivalling the architectural beauty of Sam Alex.

Food. Glorious food. With four dining halls spread across UMass plus a range of other dining outlets peppering the campus, you’re never too far away from your next meal. All food is locally sourced and most of it can be tailored to your tastes. Be it a tasty stir fry, hearty burger, bowl of soup or plate of sushi it’ll be made at a moment’s notice however you want it by the UMass chefs.

Experiencing America. The lifestyle, the people, the academic culture are all worth seeing with your own eyes. UMass Amherst is a campus that has plenty to offer. Despite only having been here a short while here I can already tell I will look back on this time as a truly enriching experience.

If you’re thinking of applying to UMass or have any questions about Study Abroad don’t hesitate to drop me a line at alberto.moronhernandez@student.manchester.ac.uk.

Post guest-written by Alberto Moron Hernandez. Featured image: Alberto in front of the W.E.B. Du Bois Library.