Currently about 10% of students at Harvard College are international (or closer to 20% if dual citizens and recent immigrants to the US are included). Our experience has been that the strongly self-motivated, confident, outgoing students from abroad who choose Harvard have few problems in the transition to the US and Harvard. International students are fully integrated into the life of the College from day one, but there are some special programmes and organisations that may be of particular interest:
Freshman International Program (FIP): All first-year students spend the first week on campus for Freshman Orientation but international students are also invited to a three day pre-orientation called First-Year International Program (FIP). Co-sponsored by the Freshman Dean’s Office and the Harvard International Office, and led by current international students, sessions range from basic topics such as setting up bank and mobile phone accounts to more detailed discussions on choosing courses and understanding cultural differences.
Woodbridge Society: This international student group on campus which helps run FIP and sets up a mentoring program so that new students will have a “Big Brother or Sister”, if possible from their own home country, to help with the transition to the US.
Harvard British Club: The Club holds social events such as a welcome party for new students from the UK, Guy Fawkes Night, Indian restaurant meals, and a Leaver’s Dinner for graduating seniors. Club members contact incoming UK Freshmen and informally mentor them in the first term…often over a cup of proper tea!
Harvard International Office: The office where International Students will go to register once on campus. This office issues the US government I-20 forms for student stays. They are a knowledgeable source for questions on visas, taxes, work regulations and so on.
Residential and Peer Advisers: In the first-year residences, numerous proctors (adult residential advisers) and deans live among students and are available to discuss Harvard’s broad academic and extracurricular opportunities, as well as giving advice about social and personal matters. Peer Advising Fellows (PAFs) assigned to each first-year entryway, have a unique perspective within the advising team. They provide suggestions about curricular and extracurricular choices, take an interest in individual student concerns, and give firsthand advice on the best ways to use College resources.