Pastoral Care and first-year orientation

Currently about 12% of students at Harvard College are international (or closer to 20% if dual citizens are included). While some international students have few problems in the transition to the US and Harvard, for others it can be quite a culture shock. To help new students to settle in, many orientation activities are laid on for incoming first-years, including:

Listed below are some special programmes and organisations that may be of particular interest to incoming students.

First-Year Retreat and Experience (FYRE)

FYRE is a pre-orientation programme that aims to provide first-generation, low-income, and under-represented first-year students with the resources and community to feel supported, celebrated, and ready to take ownership of their Harvard experience.

First-Year International Program (FIP)

The FIP is a six-day orientation program for international students and US residents who have lived and studied primarily overseas. Partnering with the Harvard International Office, 45 upperclass leaders mentor approximately 150 incoming freshmen, introducing them to Harvard and helping them adjust to life in the United States. Specifically, participants receive foundational information for a happy, successful start at Harvard, including sessions and discussions about American culture, immigration, and academics in the US and at Harvard. Participants are also able to set up a bank account and mobile phone service. Through its emphasis on inclusion and belonging, FIP creates new friendships at the same time it cultivates the larger international community at Harvard.

Harvard College 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 (HIO)

The HIO is part of the University’s Central Administration and offers services to international students and scholars at Harvard College, the graduate and professional schools, as well as the numerous research centres and affiliated teaching hospitals, to minimise the difficulties they may experience both upon arrival and later during their stay at Harvard.  It provides information on a wide range of topics, including immigration issues, financial questions, social and cultural differences, and resources in the community.

Residential and Peer Advisers

Please refer to the ‘Academic Advising’ in the drop-down menu for details of residential and peer advisers.