Right now, your primary concern is preparing to go abroad, and it is hard to think about preparing for your return to Mount Holyoke. You may have noticed, however, that this booklet is dedicated nearly as much to helping you make a smooth transition back to Mount Holyoke as to helping you plan your time away. Careful planning now will make your return to South Hadley that much easier and will better enable you to integrate your experience abroad with your academic and co-curricular life here. Use the Timeline of Important Dates to help you plan ahead.
- Be prepared for an adjustment when you return home. During your time away, you will have grown and changed in ways that many of your friends and family will not have. You may have new political or cultural sensitivities, as a result of coming to know a place very different from home (perhaps with a different standard of living, a different political outlook, etc.). You likely will have a new perspective, perhaps one very different from that of your friends and family. Nearly all students experience some return anxiety, or "re-entry shock," as it is sometimes called; talking with others who have studied abroad will help. Many students have found that maintaining some contact with Mount Holyoke and thus keeping informed about changes and events on campus make the return easier; they recommend that you subscribe to the Mount Holyoke News or check out the website periodically. Also keep in touch with campus organizations in which you have been active so that you can more easily rejoin those groups when you return. If you experience any difficulty contacting people or have general questions while you are away, please call the Office of Student Programs at (413) 538-2478 or e-mail John Laprade.
- We strongly encourage students to find ways to share their experiences abroad with different audiences on campus. The McCulloch Center for Global Initiatives will arrange several opportunities, including departmental presentations, information sessions for education abroad, and Family Weekend events. If you’re interested in learning more about these opportunities, contact Joanne Picard. Also, consider submitting your reflective writings and/or photos to Abroadview or Glimpse magazines for competitions and publication.
- You will be able to pre-register from abroad for courses in the semester that you return to Mount Holyoke. Details will be sent to you by e-mail in November (for students returning in the spring) and April (for students returning in the fall). Pre-registration information will also be posted to the Registrar's web page. You may need to e-mail faculty for permission to enroll in courses with limited enrollment or prerequisites; be persistent, and let the McCulloch Center or your adviser know if we can help.
- Students who are away in the spring semester will receive a letter (in February or March) from the Office of Residential Life asking them to name a proxy for room choosing for the following year. When arranging for a proxy, be sure to choose someone you trust to follow your instructions, and be sure to spell out exactly what housing arrangements are and are not acceptable to you. Students who will be away only for the fall semester should choose a room number in the spring and indicate their housing preferences for the following spring; the numbers will be used to establish priority. The Office of Residential Life will do its best to accommodate students' preferences, though obviously there are fewer choices available for students returning in the middle of the year. Note that students away for fall semester only cannot return to campus housing until the beginning of spring semester; rooms are not available during Intersession.
- Caps and gowns for senior year are typically ordered in the spring of junior year. You may order yours from abroad by contacting the Campus Store; they will need your height and hat size.
- Voting for both Class Board Officers and elected SGA positions now occurs at one time, during All Campus Elections in early April. While running a campaign from off-campus can be challenging, it is still possible to run for these leadership positions while you are away. Please contact Student Programs as early as possible for more information. Election procedures and timelines for other student organizations vary from group to group, though all organizations are encouraged to hold their elections in the spring. Contact someone involved with the particular group in which you may be interested for more information.
- If you expect to have a car on campus when you return, be in touch in advance with the Parking Office to find out what policies and restrictions will be in force.
- While this is a rare occurrence, it sometimes happens that a student becomes ill or is injured while studying abroad, and needs to withdraw from her program for medical reasons. In this case, the student will need clearance from MHC's Health Services before she can return to campus to resume her studies here.