Alright so, I wanted to do a more updated version of my time at Amherst as I have just finished my year abroad there so feel as if I have more knowledge of the place! I studied at Umass in Amherst and boy oh boy, stepping onto campus for the first time was so daunting. There is a massive pond, a 26 floor library and a ton of dining halls plus an epic gym, I am not surprised though as the student population is very big!
I lived in the fairly “quiet” area as I wanted to complete the Spanish language program which required residents to live in a certain building. I really can’t complain about the campus as it is honestly divine, nothing like back at home ( no offence to my university campus back in England )
By bus, to go downtown it takes 2 minutes literally. This is where all the action happens, as there are a few restaurants and doughnut shops as well as a massive bank, post office, pharmacy, church, mini cinema and a variety of bars. Amherst is such a student town so it makes sense to have the basics such as these. I really recommend going to Glazed for doughnuts because they are lush and they have vegan options that don’t even taste like vegan (I am not a vegan and even I thought they tasted the same). One of my fave restaurants has to be Pasta e Basta, check it out for Italian food! In the evening, Monkeybar is popping as students cram into the tiny room and dance to a real variety of music, entry is free and cloakroom is one dollar plus buses run late so you can easily get back to campus if you can’t drive.
The closest supermarket, Big Y, is about ten minutes from campus and is on a bus route. A little further and you will get to lots of eating places such as frozen yogurt stores ( Sweet Frog you had my heart) and the usual such as McDonald’s. Hampshire mall is a real let down though (sorry) as it just has a bunch of threading places, a massive Target (British version of Tesco) and some expensive jewel shops . . There are more shops on the other side of the road such as Marshalls which is a better version of TK Maxx and some bookshops as well as phone places. Good luck getting to the other side of the road as there is no crossing so you are basically running across a very busy road as that is your only way to cross. The amount of times I did this for frozen yogurt . . . . .
I was an exchange student from England so you can imagine the culture shock! There are things I wish I knew prior to my trip so I just wanted to list some bits of advice.
- If you need a sim, make sure you use AT&T because they are one of the few companies which accepts phones from abroad
- If you have a Barclays card, open a bank account with Bank of America because it won’t charge you for withdrawals from your British card but be careful because if you use your american card and accidentally go into overdraft they will charge you a very hefty fee.
- Ok guys listen up! Take digestion tablets with you. Serious. I suffered from extreme food intolerance to the artificial food in America, especially dairy. I never had any intolerances to food before so keep an eye out and be cautious.
- Amherst, at least from my knowledge, has nowhere to change foreign currency unless you open a bank account so don’t get to Amherst with a stack of your local currency as it is hard to change it.
- To get from Boston Airport to Amherst, unless you can drive, your only option is to take a Peter Pan bus which is around 40 dollars and takes 5 hours . . gulp.
I honestly had such a great experience and made friends with people who I would consider my best friends! Honestly being in America was such an eye-opener for me and I will cherish the memories for a long time.
Can we just appreciate this Ice-Cream vending machine by the way? I didn’t even know these things existed!