You must go to your country's capital for an interview at the U.S. Embassy in order to secure your J-1 visa. ITD is making different arrangements with our partner organizations in each of your countries to make sure you are able to make this appointment.
Travel to the US
ITD has booked your international flights. You will receive specific information about your itinerary through email.
Depending on what country you are traveling from and which airline, you will be allowed one or two pieces of luggage. If you are traveling from Mexico you may be charged a fee of $25 for your first bag and $40 if you bring a second. ITD will reimburse you $25 for your first bag when you are in Amherst, please keep your receipt. All airlines share these baggage requirements: Checked baggage must weigh 23 kilos or less and its combined length, width and height must measure 157 cm or less. If not, additional charges will be applied. Although for some countries two pieces of luggage are allowed, we encourage you to pack lightly and bring just one suitcase.
In addition, you may carry on board the plane one bag and one personal item. All items must easily fit into the overhead bin or under the seat in front of you. Approved personal carry-on items include: a) a purse, briefcase, or camera bag; b) a laptop computer — computers cannot be checked and must be carried on, or c) an item of a similar or smaller size to those listed above. Liquids of more than 3 ounces are not allowed in carry-on luggage.
More details on your airlines luggage restrictions can be found on the airlines website.
On April 30, you will be met at Bradley International Airport in Hartford by ITD staff in the baggage claim area. ITD staff will assist you with your luggage and transport you by van to Amherst, one hour away. They will then help you settle in at the ITD House.
Lodging in the U.S.
Lodging will be provided throughout the program in single or double bedrooms. From April 30 to May 8, 2016, you will be staying at the ITD House. The ITD House is a large mansion located in a friendly neighborhood near downtown Amherst and the University of Massachusetts. There are numerous restaurants, cafes and small shops within walking distance. The house has a large living room, a full kitchen, a dining room, and a laundry room. There are eight bathrooms. The house also includes eight computers, and wireless access.
During the fellowships, you will be housed at the ITD House. Arrangements are being made with the hosts to ensure you have transportation to and from your fellowship site.
We have also arranged hotels for you during your trips to Boston and New York City. During the congress you will stay in the same hotel as all the other fellows in the Professional Fellowships Programs. Following the Congress you will move to the Melrose Hotel in Georgetown.
Here are the hotels where we have booked double rooms for your group trips:
New York City (May 14-16): NYC Marriott East Side
Boston (May 27-29): Wyndham Boston Beacon Hill Hotel
Washington, DC (May 30-June 3): Washington Marriott, Georgetown; (June 4-5) Melrose Hotel
Note: We recommend that you not use the telephones or movie channels, or eat the snacks in the refrigerators at any hotels, since these are very expensive and you will be responsible for these costs.
ITD will provide transportation in 7- and 15-passenger vans for group events. During the fellowships the host organization staff may provide you with transportation. If not, other arrangements will be made. Program staff will meet with you before the fellowships to clarify your particular transportation arrangement. You will be provided with maps and schedules so that during your free time you may take public transportation. Taxis are another option that will be open to you.
Below are scheduled group cultural activities.
In Massachusetts: Driving and walking tours of the towns of Amherst and Northampton. Museums, Harvard University, and driving and walking tours to historic locations in Boston.
In New York City: Statue of Liberty, walking tour of lower Manhattan, the Empire State Building, art museums, and the September 11 Memorial and Museum.
In Washington: National monuments; Smithsonian and/or other museums.
During your free time you may wish to take part in non-scheduled cultural and recreational activities as well. For example, a group of you may want to attend a music concert, or go to films or theater performances. You will receive a cultural allowance to cover the cost of these extra-curricular cultural activities.
Meals and Allowances
The following allowances will be disbursed to you in cash by ITD for your meals and other allowances:
During the first week your meals allowance is $40 per day and covers breakfast at $8, lunch at $12, and dinner at $20. Money will be subtracted for the occasional meals that are part of the program and ITD provides. For instance, we will have a “welcome lunch” on the first day of the program, and deduct $12 from your allowances to cover this expense. Your meals allowances begin the day after you arrive.
Fellowship Meals Allowance $40/day
The ITD House provides easy access to restaurants and small grocery stores. Your meals allowances during the fellowship placements is $40 per day and covers breakfast at $8, lunch at $12, and dinner at $20. Money may be subtracted for meals that the fellowship hosts provide.
Boston and New York Meals Allowance $55/day
Some of your hotels will provide breakfast, while others will not.
Washington, DC Meals $55/day
Beginning with the Professional Fellowship Program Congress on November 9 all your meals will be provided by the Congress hosts. Following the Congress, November 13-15 you will receive the Washington DC daily allowance.
Travel Allowance for International Flights $70
This one-time allowance is for travel to and from the airport and to cover incidental expenses while traveling.
Book Allowance $50
This allowance is for materials found in the U.S. that would be useful to you professionally.
Cultural Allowance $75
This allowance is for cultural outings that you plan on your own. ITD will cover the fee for group cultural outings that we organize.
Clothing and Laundry
The style of dress in most of your fellowship organizations is “casual professional”. That means that nice pants (or skirts/dresses for ladies) are fine, but blue jeans are not except if you are going to do field work. Suits or other formal wear is not the norm except in government offices and businesses. You should bring outdoor clothes and sturdy shoes for fieldwork. Some of your fellowship placements include outside fieldwork and during the first week of your fellowships we will be spending time outdoors investigating field sites. We recommend that you bring only one or two sets of formal wear for special occasions during the fellowships, and for the Congress. You will be expected to do, or pay for, your own laundry, using your allowances. There are washing machines at the ITD House. Ironing boards and irons are available at the ITD House and at hotels. While at the hotels you may use their laundry service, although this is somewhat expensive, so we recommend doing laundry before or after the trips to New York, Boston and Washington DC and/or occasionally washing some things by hand.
Time difference and climate
You will be staying in the time zone called "Eastern Daylight Savings Time" which covers all of the eastern United States, including Massachusetts, New York, and Washington. Spring in Massachusetts runs from April until June. In May and June the temperatures range widely from 10 C to 24 C during the day, and 0 C to 15 C at night. During the spring months, it rains approximately once a week.
Health services and facilities
During the program you will be enrolled in the U.S. Department of State Accident and Sickness Program for Exchanges (ASPE). The ASPE health benefit plan covers any accident or injury you sustain while you are here. The policy does not cover preventive services like regular check-ups, blood tests, dental check-ups, etc. If you get sick and need medical help, please speak with a Smith/ITD staff person, and we will assist you immediately.
You will have access to telephones in the US at your hotels, the ITD House and probably at your fellowships. You will be able to receive international calls but not make them. If your families and friends wish to call you when you first arrive, we recommend they call the main number at the ITD House – (413) 230-3517 and (413) 549-0156
If you wish to make international calls, we will assist you in buying “calling cards” which make such calls relatively inexpensive.
Emergency telephone numbers in the U.S.
ITD Office 9am to 5pm 413-256-1925
Mark Protti, ITD: 413-687-8798 (mobile)
Edgardo Rothkegel, ITD: 413-221-9325 (mobile)
Abril Navarro, ITD: 413-559-1121 (mobile)
Kaye Dougan, ITD: 413-687-2245 (mobile)
Tim Randhir, 413-801-5552 (mobile)