I have met amazing people that make feel like at home. It is surprising to meet new people of different nationalities, backgrounds, and cultures that share similar experiences and ambitions than mine. That helps me to get along easily with them.
I have found it easier and quicker to learn about anything, whether academic or nonacademic, by asking the people around me about it rather than looking up the information online or in books. Therefore my advice to new international students would be to really utilize people around them as resources.
I was lucky enough to attend a reception at the beautiful Harvard Museum of Natural History. The galleries had been outfitted with food and drink and music and many students from countries all over the world were mingling. I was so surprised! I had never seen a party with food and music hosted in a museum.
My best experience at Harvard has been the First-Year International Program, a four day preorientation program for international students. I participated in it when I matriculated, and have had the privilege of been involved in organizing it. Each year it has been a fantastic way to connect with the international community.
The teaching teams in Harvard are wonderful. They are knowledgeable and helpful. The hierarchical barriers don’t exist between you and your professors. If you would like to learn more, take as many office hours as possible.
I was attracted to Harvard for its excellent and broad scientific environment. Specifically, in my case Harvard offered a very unique opportunity allowing me (a theoretical physicist) to work very closely with experimentalists; this is a new and refreshing experience for me.
I would say just relax and explore everything with curiosity; make new friends, listen to their stories, and tell your stories; manage time well, make plans, and balance work and rest; and just be open, confident, and happy.