Orientating around

It’s been a week since I arrived at Harvard! The time has just flown by but I finally feel like i’m settling in and excited for the academic year to start!

After a crazy 5 hour delayed flight, I landed in Boston at 1am last Saturday morning. My wonderful host family rescued me from the prospect of a night of homelessness and let me stay at their beautiful home in Cambridge. The Harvard International Office have a great programme where they match incoming international students with families in the area — my host ‘mom’ Joyce and my host ‘sister’ Seacia, are already some of my favourite people here.

Brunch with my host family!

On Saturday morning they took me shopping for dorm room essentials — lots of fluffy pillows, fairy lights and a broomstick made of cinnamon sticks..! I’m living in Perkins Hall, one of the dorms for the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences, situated right next to the Engineering School. I think I was a little unprepared for American dorm life and I have to admit I wasn’t very happy about the shared bathrooms but I hope I’ll get used to it and love all the other things!

There were still a long list of things to sort out over here - setting up a mobile phone contract and bank account, registering with the international office, meeting with the special student advisor and figuring out how to register for classes.

But the past week has also felt like a big holiday! Absolutely incredible weather, a beautiful city and university campus, and really cool people to explore it with! There have been lots of orientation and social events throughout the week and we also managed to have a few Kennedy Scholar meet ups too! I’ve been on a Boston Downtown tour, a Harvard Square pub crawl and a coffeeshop and bookshop tour, heard an inspiring welcome from the President of Harvard Drew Faust, crashed a Harvard Business School social, dressed up for a Roaring Twenties Party, sunbathed at the beach, signed up to far too many societies and somehow also broken a tooth! The Harvard community is incredibly diverse encompassing students from countries like Ecuador, Brazil, Egypt, New Zealand, Monaco so whoever you meet you’re sure to hear an interesting story.

Orientation and Dudley Fest!

We also had Dudley Fest which was a bit like a ‘Freshers Fair’ with stalls from different student societies and unlimited ice cream! In Oxbridge terms, Dudley House is also a bit like the college all graduates are affiliated to — its where you have your meals and social events, it has it’s own cafe and library and its the house you represent in intra-mural sports!

Dudley Fest with the other Kennedy Scholars!

Harvard is very different to my experience of University in the U.K. so it’s been interesting to learn how everything works over here. I’ve definitely noticed a very distinct undergraduate/graduate divide and separation between the different Harvard schools.

Classes start tomorrow so it’s been hectic trying to figure out which courses to pick. There’s so much choice it’s quite overwhelming. I’ll hopefully have a better idea by the end of the week!

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