Before You Go
As soon as you know you will be going abroad, please review the McCulloch Center's Study Abroad Moodle site (log into Moodle, enter 'Study Abroad' in the central, "search courses" search box and click on the site to self-enroll). There you will find extensive resources to help you plan ahead, including academic policies for study abroad, health and safety, financial planning, diversity resources, crossing cultures, and a checklist. You are responsible for reading the resources there and on our website and for following the policies and procedures that pertain to you.
In the excitement of planning to go abroad, it may be difficult to think about your return to Mount Holyoke; but the more you can reflect on your learning experience abroad as part of your overall educational program, the better you will be able to integrate it into your academic, personal, and professional goals. Resources for returning to Mount Holyoke include advice on connecting your experience abroad to campus, community, and career; marketing your experience abroad; readjustment to MHC and to home; and a timeline of important dates.
Note these items in particular:
If you have been approved to study abroad for a year or semester, you must submit the Study Abroad Decision Form to confirm your plans, whether or not you ultimately decide to study abroad. This form serves as your official notification to the College that you will (or will not) be taking your leave of absence. Deadlines: May 15 for the fall or full year, November 15 for the spring.
Research visa requirements well in advance, as it may take several months to obtain your visa. Requirements vary depending on your citizenship, the country to which you are going, what you will be doing, and where you will be at the time you apply. You may be required to apply in the consulate that has jurisdiction over your home or over MHC, so you will need to find out the requirements and plan accordingly.
International students should note that they may be required to have a valid US visa before they can apply for a study abroad or internship visa; check with the appropriate country’s embassy. More information is available in the Moodle Study Abroad site.
Coming back to Mount Holyoke, and returning home, represent another important transition in the learning abroad experience. Whether you return with a renewed commitment to your original goals and plans, or with a dramatically new agenda, you likely will have changed in ways that you and your family and friends may not have anticipated. For some students, particularly those who go abroad for a semester or a year, coming back requires as much of an adjustment as going abroad did. Some students breeze right through this transition, others may find it quite disconcerting. The "Returning to MHC" page describes the process of re-entry, has some practical information to help you with the transition back to campus, and includes resources to help you consider how to build on your experience abroad, what to do next, how to identify opportunities to go abroad again, etc.
Every student who studies abroad for a semester or year must complete an on-line study abroad evaluation. These evaluations provide you with a chance to reflect upon your program and your personal and intellectual growth, as well as to complete the advising cycle by passing along to other Mount Holyoke students the same kind of frank advice and information you relied upon in planning your time away. Your evaluation is particularly important if you attended a program that is new to Mount Holyoke, as we will consider it in determining whether to approve the program in the future.
Completed evaluations will be available for other students and faculty to read, but will not be available to the general public. If you prefer that your evaluation remain confidential (accessible only to the McCulloch Center), you can indicate that when you submit the form.
One of the most frequently-asked questions we hear from returning students is "How can I go back?" Take advantage of your time abroad to investigate opportunities for work or study. Working abroad, in particular, tends to be highly restricted, but you're in the best position while you're in the country to see what might be possible, talk with potential employers, and research the conditions under which you can work legally.