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What is the difference between Harvard Summer School Programs and non-Harvard Summer Study Abroad Programs?
Harvard’s summer study programs are led by Harvard faculty members who design and teach the courses. Grades are recorded on your Harvard transcript and may count towards General Education requirements.
Harvard also maintains a list of suggested non-Harvard programs, particularly in sites where Harvard does not run its own programs or where there is a very high student demand. Grades from these programs do not count towards your Harvard GPA, although you may receive Harvard transfer credit. These non-Harvard programs have been tested over time by many Harvard undergraduates; please read the student program evaluations online, review advising guidelines, and speak to an adviser at the Office of International Education (OIE) for help in choosing the right non-Harvard study abroad program for you.
What are the benefits of a summer program versus a term-time program?
Summer study provides an introduction to the language and culture of a foreign country and is not always a profound immersive experience. It is generally difficult to find courses in the summer with students from the host country, as most summer study abroad programs offer courses for U.S. college students, or for visiting international students.
Summer study abroad allows a student to stay on track in concentrations where it is difficult to go away during term-time, and offers students pursuing a language citation the chance to advance in the foreign language.
Summer study abroad is not covered by financial aid, so students in need of financial assistance for summer programs should apply for summer grants, which do not always cover the full cost of the experience. Term-time study abroad allows for a student’s financial aid package to travel with them.
Students who participate in term-time programs generally return extremely happy to have taken the semester to study abroad. Students usually receive some concentration or secondary field credits, develop greater fluency in a language and familiarity with a foreign culture, and find a place beyond Harvard Square to call “home.” Students are also glad to gain some curricular flexibility with a Core or General Education course reduction. It does take more planning and consultation to study abroad for a semester, so if you are hoping to spend longer periods abroad you will need to work closely with the OIE and your adviser.
Can you advise me on programs for introductory language study?
The departments of foreign languages and literatures are the best place to seek advice on intensive language programs abroad; it is generally not advised to begin studying a foreign language in-country if you hope to study the language further at Harvard. However, if you wish to take a course in English in a non-English speaking country it is strongly encouraged that you take a course in the language of the host country along with your content courses in English.
If I want to apply to a non-Harvard Study Abroad Program, how can I find out if it will be eligible for transfer credit?
First, confirm whether this program is on the OIE's Suggested Programs List. Second, complete the student portion of the Pre-Approval of Transfer Credit for Summer Study Form. Third, you will need to meet with and obtain preliminary approval of your plans (as well as his/her signature on the Pre-Approval of Transfer Credit Form) from the appropriate adviser in your department for concentration or secondary field credit, or, the appropriate language department adviser for language credit. Regardless of the type of credit you seek, you must meet with your Freshman/Resident Dean to discuss your study abroad plans, and collect his/her signature on the Pre-Approval of Transfer Credit Form. If you are applying for Harvard funding, please submit this form along with your funding application.
What are the minimum requirements for credit for a summer study abroad course?
All courses must have a minimum duration of 4 weeks and must meet for at least 39 contact hours. Students may transfer a maximum of two half-course credits for summer study abroad, and a total of eight half-course credits from abroad during their Harvard career. Please note, however, that submission of the Pre-Approval of Transfer Credit for Summer Study Form is not a guarantee that you will receive academic credit; all coursework will be evaluated upon your return. To support your request for transfer credit, you will be responsible for obtaining copies of written work, syllabi, and an official transcript from the abroad institution as evidence of your successful completion of the course/program.
Can I take more than two courses for the summer?
You can take as many courses as you want but Harvard will transfer a maximum of two half-course credits.
Can I take only one course and combine that with an internship/job/research position?
If you wish to create your own “hybrid” study abroad program, you might combine a short-term language course or class with another activity, but remember that you will receive credit only for study abroad programs and courses for which you have received preliminary approval from the appropriate academic adviser.
While making your summer plans, you will want to consider what your goals are in going abroad: do you want to obtain proficiency in a foreign language, arrange a research assistantship, or gain exposure to a certain industry through an internship? All of these are viable options, but it is important to remember that, if you require funding for your summer international experience, you will generally need to make a compelling case for combining activities (study abroad and an internship, for example); selection committees for summer grants usually look for students who have a clear focus and interest in one particular activity, so as to allow for an immersive experience.
By when do I need to submit my summer study abroad transfer credit request?
If you are seeking funding through Harvard for your summer study abroad experience, you must submit the Pre-Approval of Transfer Credit for Summer Study Form with your funding application by February 17, 2012. If you are not seeking funding through Harvard, however, the deadline to submit the Pre-Approval of Transfer Credit for Summer Study Form is April 13, 2012.
Do you have any students to whom I can speak who have gone on specific programs before?
You may read student program evaluations online, or contact students who have participated in specific programs via the Peer2Peer database on the OCS website.
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Where can I find information and help on selecting study, internship, and service opportunities?
Particularly if this is your first international experience during your time at Harvard, good places to begin exploring options are the list of Harvard-run programs; the Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Program offerings; and the list of Suggested non-Harvard study abroad programs. If you are seeking an independent internship abroad, there are several OCS resources available to you as you begin your search, including Crimson Careers and Going Global. Visit the Office of Career Services (OCS) weekdays from 1:00-4:00pm to meet with a drop-in adviser or attend a workshop on finding (and funding) summer opportunities. If you cannot visit OCS during these hours, call 5-3530 to schedule an appointment.
I am not interested in a Harvard-run internship program. Are there any other ways to find an international internship?
- Consider reviewing internship postings through the OCS website (Crimson Careers).
- You may develop your own internship by approaching companies and organizations in whose work you are interested. Be prepared to describe your skills and interests and to suggest why you think your affiliation with the organization would be beneficial both for you and the employer. These internships may be paid or unpaid.
- An organization may have an existing internship program.
- Internship placement agencies can arrange an internship for you for a fee. When weighing this option, consider the services provided, what the fee includes, and the fields in which the internships are offered.
Will I get paid for my internship abroad?
Many internships are unpaid, although host organizations sometimes provide in-kind benefits to students (in the form of a cash stipend, room and board, language lessons, or a transportation subsidy). In light of weaker economic conditions around the world, however, your search should include unpaid opportunities. Keep in mind that many students will apply for Harvard funding towards an unpaid internship.
Will I receive Harvard transfer credit for an internship abroad?
International internships ordinarily are not eligible for Harvard transfer credit, although in some cases an internship may provide background, context, or a foundation for an independent study.
Where will I live during my internship?
This will vary widely depending on: internship location, whether you go through a Harvard program, a placement agency, or are going independently. Contact a representative at your organization to see if they can help make arrangements. If not, you should explore online resources well in advance and plan accordingly.
What are acceptable examples of the writing sample requirement for the Ledecky International Fellowship program in Journalism and the portfolio requirement for the Williams Travelling Fund?
The writing sample for the Ledecky can be either a more formal presentation of articles (directly from the publication) or printed Word versions of articles that appeared in some periodical. In either case, the articles must be cited as being authored by the student and not contain an excessive amount of material.
The portfolio requirement for the Williams Travelling Fund must contain art that the student made him-/herself or must clearly indicate that it was part of a group project/effort. Since the applications are sent to the selection committee electronically, we encourage students to submit a link to a YouTube or Flickr page where the committee can go to review the student's art. That way, students can include as many works as they would like without having to feel confined by the size limits of the application.
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I see that there are two main funding application processes: the OCS Summer Study Abroad Grant and the OCS Grant for Summer International Internships, Service, Travel, and Research Assistantships.
How do I know which one I should apply for?
Which grant you apply for will depend on the type of project you are pursuing; see below for details:
Type of Project
Harvard Summer Internship Program organized by a Center or Department (such as DRCLAS, CES, China Fund, World Teach, etc.)
Independent internship, service, volunteer project; Research Assistantship
Internship Obtained through a Harvard Student Organization or External Placement Organization
Harvard Summer School Study Abroad Program
Non-Harvard Study Abroad Program
Applications will be accepted on the deadlines listed from 9:00am-3:00pm at the Office of Career Services (54 Dunster St., Conference Room). Prior to the deadline, applications can be submitted from 1:00-4:00pm, weekdays, at 77 Dunster Street, 2nd Floor.
May I apply for both grants with two different proposals?
Technically, yes. However, if you are awarded funding for both projects, you must choose which one you would like to accept funding for. Please note that you may only submit one proposal to each grant (i.e., you may not submit multiple proposals/applications to either the OCS Summer Study Abroad Grant or the OCS Grant for International Internships, Service, Travel and Research Assistantships).
You may, however, submit funding applications to other international funding resources at Harvard; a complete list of Harvard funding sources is available online at the Funding Sources Database. A list of external grant competitions can be found on the OCS Fellowships website.
This is my first grant application—are there resources to help me in the process?
Several resources on the OCS Fellowships Office website should be helpful: “An Introduction to Fellowships” provides an overview of fellowships and the application process; “Grantsmanship Notes for Undergraduates” provides additional information just for Harvard students; and “About the Fellowships Office” includes a list of office policies that apply to submitting applications. Also, feel free to attend our daily drop-ins from 1-4pm at OCS (54 Dunster Street).
What if my proposed program or project is not eight weeks long? Would I still be eligible for other funding sources?
In order to be considered for most available funds at the Office of Career Services, projects must be at least eight weeks in duration; limited funding is available for projects that are between 5-8 weeks in duration. If you are considering a shorter project/program, we strongly encourage you to attend our daily drop-ins (1-4pm at OCS, 54 Dunster Street) to discuss your plans and options.
Can I apply for funding if I am a US citizen and I select an English-speaking country, or if I am an international student who wants to travel abroad?
Yes, U.S. citizens may travel to English-speaking countries and international students may travel to a country that is not their country of residence or citizenship.
Can I be funded to visit multiple countries?
A key objective is for students to have a significant immersion experience in one country and culture. Therefore, any proposal involving more than one country will be carefully scrutinized for a compelling reason, such as involvement with an organization working across the border of two countries.
If I plan to participate in an international activity affiliated with a Harvard student organization, do I apply individually for funding?
Yes, each member of a student organization may submit separate applications and request funding on an individual basis (i.e., groups will not be funded collectively). Grant awards will be determined by the eligibility and merit of each individual applicant’s proposal. Group grants may be awarded by regional centers or the Undergraduate Council – please review the Funding Sources Database for more information.
My summer program/project has an acceptance date that is after the February application deadlines for OCS funding. Am I able to apply for the grant if I have not been formally accepted into my summer experience program?
Yes. Please include proof of application (such as an e-mail confirmation or copy of a completed application form) with your application.
Am I eligible if I have already been to the country that my project is in?
Yes. However, keep in mind that the selection committee will favor proposals that provide you with a new cultural or work experience. If you have spent substantial time in the country before, for whatever reason, you will need to make a compelling case for how this experience will provide a more in-depth or new sort of cultural experience. One caveat: students will not be funded to travel to countries of which they are citizens or residents.
I am pursuing funding for an international internship. How specific does my letter of invitation need to be?
The application asks you to include a copy of an e-mailed letter of invitation, sponsorship, or confirmation (preferably in English; you must include a translation if the letter is not in English) from your host organization. This letter should provide basic details about the organization, as well as about your specific internship duties—including hours, duration, and remuneration, if any. The letter must include the name and contact information of the person confirming your affiliation. In order to procure such a letter, it is important to start your research early and communicate constantly with your potential host organization.
Whom should I ask for recommendation letters?
Ideal recommendations will come from people who know you well, who can evaluate your performance and potential in some detail and with obvious interest. While you’re a student, you will usually find such individuals among your instructors, advisers, coaches, administrators, and work or activity supervisors. Some funding sources prefer, and sometimes require, that both recommendations come from within the Harvard community; if only one recommendation is required, it must be from a Harvard affiliate (i.e. Harvard faculty member, TF, proctor, tutor, or other adviser). Undergraduates may not write recommendations for other undergraduates.
Since I have to plan far in advance, how accurate does my budget proposal need to be?
Your budget proposal is an important part of your application, and to many reviewers it will be as important as your proposal in demonstrating the feasibility of your experience. With that in mind, you should take time to submit a carefully researched request for funding. See "Preparing a Project Budget" on the OCS Fellowships Office website for general advice.
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How will OCS determine the award amount I will receive?
Award amounts are determined by the cost of the program and the current financial aid status of the student (if relevant to the terms of the available funding sources). OCS will not fund any proposals at a level higher than the most expensive Harvard Summer School Study Abroad program and, on occasion, the suggested supplemental budget amount. Students who do not receive financial aid from Harvard will also be considered for awards. For the David Rockefeller International Experience Grant in particular, the average award for students not receiving financial aid is $1,500, although occasionally there are exceptions depending upon available funds and type of project.
I am on financial aid. Will the award cover my summer earnings expectation for my financial aid award?
Most OCS grants do not cover summer earnings expectations (exceptions are designated in the Funding Sources Database). Many students decide to work in short-term job opportunities both before and after their trips in order to meet their summer earnings expectation. The Student Employment Office has a list of some of these opportunities at www.seo.harvard.edu (note that this is not an exhaustive list; you should also consider opportunities near home and/or in the Boston/Cambridge area). Alternatively, if you receive need-based financial aid from the College, you are eligible to receive a subsidized student loan to cover your summer earnings expectation if you are participating in a credit-bearing summer study program. Please contact the Financial Aid Office (email@example.com) for more information.
If I receive awards for my project from two (or more) funding sources, can I accept both awards?
It depends on the amounts of the awards. If the total of both awards is equal to or less than your proposed budget, then yes, receiving more than one award is permitted. However, students are not permitted to receive funding in excess of their proposed budgets. You should let the grants administrators know the amount of the award received, and they will adjust your grant amount accordingly. Failure to report additional funds will be reported to the Harvard College Administrative Board.
What if I still need more money than what was awarded to me?
Although the amount of funding available at Harvard for summer international travel is significant, the resources are not unlimited. We encourage you to consider short-term work either on or off campus, as well as loans from the Financial Aid Office, if you choose to pursue a credit-bearing activity.
What happens if I receive funding for my project from other sources?
In the application phase, we encourage you to explore all potential funding sources for your internship experience to increase the likelihood that you will be able to pursue it. However, in most cases the OCS intends to provide full support for your experience, so if you are offered funding from the OCS and another source(s), you must disclose this information and will likely need to decide between them after consulting with all of the sources involved.
What if I am awarded a grant, but I am not admitted into the program/project indicated on my grant application?
Unfortunately you must decline the grant. However, there may be other grants available later in the funding cycle, which could support another type of activity. Note that there will be significantly fewer resources available in this later process.
Whom do I contact with additional summer abroad questions?
Contact firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 617-384-7496 or 617-495-3530; our offices are at 77 Dunster Street, second floor (Summer Grants & Funding Office). Please note that drop-ins are held daily at 54 Dunster Street from 1:00–4:00pm. Faculty, tutors, and other advisers may also be able to help you as you determine the best plan for your exciting summer abroad.
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