The Professional Communication Program for New International Scholars, a collaboration between the GSAS Office of Student Affairs and the Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars at the Derek Bok Center for Teaching and Learning, introduces incoming international graduate students to life at Harvard and to the United States and helps them activate their English language skills in preparation for beginning their graduate programs. This intensive program provides opportunities for non-native English speakers to develop professional communication skills, to explore campus and classroom culture at Harvard, and to foster connections and build community across disciplines. Program participants live free-of-charge in the GSAS residence halls, where they connect with fellow participants and start to feel at home at Harvard. The program is aligned with the GSAS Oral English Language Requirement and is designed to feed directly into the Bok Center’s Professional Communication Program for International Teachers and Scholars.
Students are assigned to a core class of approximately 15 students that meets every morning. The core classes provide a student-centered learning environment focused on helping you activate and develop your English language skills (reading, writing, listening, and speaking) and cross-cultural communication skills. You’ll engage with academic materials across disciplines, explore current events, and practice communicating to diverse audiences through discussions and various types of presentations. In the afternoon, you will participate in program-wide activities including site visits, workshops, and panels to learn more about your new environment and to practice the skills you are building in an authentic context. In the evenings, you will have an opportunity to connect with fellow participants in the residence halls. Students are asked to sign a contract demonstrating their commitment to this full-time, intensive program. Take a look at a sample calendar from last year’s program for more detail on how the days are structured!
When does the Professional Communication Program take place? When should I arrive?
The program is held immediately before the start of the fall academic term. For the 2020–2021 academic year, the program will take place August 3 through August 20.
How much does the program cost?
The program is tuition-free, and GSAS provides some lunches during the program. You also receive a $200 credit that will allow you to buy meals on campus using your Harvard ID. You should budget accordingly and be prepared to cover any additional living expenses that will arise during the program.
Who will be in the program with me?
The program will be made up of international students who are first-year GSAS students who have not had much experience studying in the US. GSAS students come from more than 100 different countries, and our program participants represent a wide variety of geographic backgrounds.
Where will I live? Will I have roommates?
GSAS provides housing (a single room) at no cost to you in the GSAS residence halls. You will not have roommates, but you will get to know other students during the program.
Where will I live after the end of the program and before the beginning of the academic term?
Students who have signed up to live in GSAS residence halls during the academic year may remain in the residence halls between the end of the program and the beginning of term. Students who have elected to live off-campus should arrange for housing from the end of the program, on August 20, until the start of their new housing lease.
Will I have health insurance?
Yes, you will have health coverage under the Harvard University Student Health Program provided by Harvard University Health Services and Blue Cross/Blue Shield of Massachusetts Student Health Insurance Plan.
As a participant in the Professional Communication Program, will my visa documents be different from other incoming international students?
Yes. Your visa documents will accommodate an earlier arrival in the US to allow you to attend the program. You will receive information about financial certification and about applying for your visa from the GSAS Office of Admissions and Financial Aid. Your visa documents will be sent to you as soon as possible to allow you to schedule an appointment at a United States embassy or consulate.
If eligible, anticipate an invitation via email by the end of April 2020. If you would like to inquire about eligibility or what the program entails, contact the Office of Student Affairs at email@example.com.