Below are resources that offer academic and personal support to students and scholars. It is important to note that not all services are available to students in every school within Harvard University. Check with individual schools regarding resources available.
Harvard International Office (HIO)
In addition to providing assistance with immigration related issues, the staff of the HIO provides assistance with cross-cultural adjustment and other personal and social issues and makes referrals to various centers and offices to help international students and scholars deal with academic and financial issues, personal and social concerns, relationships, health-related issues, and career issues. The HIO offers several programs for spouses of international students and scholars including a discussion group where adjustment issues, American values and behavior, and practical tips for daily living are discussed. The HIO provides services to all international students and scholars.
For students who are on the Harvard Student and Affiliate Health Plan the HMHS staff offers help and guidance with a variety of adjustment issues. Since family and close friends from one's home country are not around it may be helpful to consult a mental health professional when dealing with issues of adjustment, depression, or just feeling overwhelmed.
Bureau of Study Counsel (The Bureau)
Experienced counselors at the Bureau are available to assist students with academic issues and personal concerns, and also to provide courses, seminars, and academic tutoring to develop reading and study skills. They are interested in talking to international students about their personal concerns and issues related to adjusting to a new culture, a different educational system, and the use of a foreign language. They also offer workshops related to stress and stress management, individual counseling on personal or academic matters, psychotherapy, and group discussions on the University experience. The services offered by the Bureau are available to undergraduate students, and students from the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences (GSAS), the Harvard Kennedy School (HKS), and the Graduate School of Education (GSE). Extension School students must get a referral from their school in order to use the service.
The staff of the Barker Center offers free services to students to help them improve their writing skills. Some staff members are trained specifically to assist those for whom English is a second language. Note: the Center does not offer proofreading services. This service is available to undergraduates and GSAS students.
Peer-Support Services or Hotlines
Popular way for students to discuss personal issues confidentially is by calling on other Harvard students for support. This organization is staffed by American and international students currently at Harvard. They are trained and supervised by professional counselors to answer questions or discuss any subject, and to provide referrals when needed. The hotline is a relaxed, friendly way to talk to other students who are interested in helping students. All calls will be received in strict confidence. In Common is available for graduate students in GSE, GSAS, HKS, HLS, GSD, and the Divinity school. This service is available to all graduate or professional school students.
The Vivian Allen International Student Emergency Funds
The Vivian B. Allen Fund provides emergency funds to full-time financially needy international students. The Fund is not a regular financial aid source, but provides emergency assistance to students. Examples of how the fund might be used include payment of uninsured dental expenses or travel grants for family emergencies. Eligible students must contact the Financial Aid Office at their schools for further information and application forms.