Orientation and Guide to Harvard


Appointments are typically for a full semester (no less than twelve weeks during the term). Visiting Scholars and Fellows may extend their stay into part of January for Fall Scholars and into part of June for Spring and full-year fellows. This should be arranged with the Visiting Scholars Program Manager.

Because this is a residential fellowship, you are expected to reside in the Cambridge area during the fellowship period and to participate fully in the life of the DRCLAS community.

View the University Academic Calendar


The Harvard International Office (HIO) uses a website called Ellucian International Scholar Dossier to help you apply for your visa. If you require a visa, you will receive an email with the following subject line:

“You have been invited to D. R. Center for Latin American Studies (FAS) department”

The email will provide you with a web address, username, and password.

Please follow the web address to login to e-Scholar and provide all of the requested information. If you do not have all information available at the time of your first log-in, you may save your progress and complete the form at a later time.

Once you’ve finished entering all requested information and you’ve pressed the submit button, you must send an email to Edwin Ortiz stating that you are finished entering your information.

The Harvard International Office will create your DS-2019 form, plus forms for any family travelling with you. This usually takes 3-4 weeks from the time all infomration is submitted to HIO. The forms will be sent directly to you. Once you’ve received DS-2019 form, you may proceed to make your appointment at your local US embassy/consulate and apply for a J-1 Scholars Visa.


International fellows are required to register at the Harvard International Office WITHIN 15 DAYS of the start of their appointment. Please visit the Harvard International Office as soon as you arrive in Cambridge. Bring your passport, I-94 card, and visa document.

1350 Massachusetts Avenue, Holyoke Center Room 864, Cambridge, MA 


You will need a Harvard ID in order to access the libraries and many of the computer systems at the University. Upon arriving in Cambridge you should visit the Harvard ID Office to receive a Harvard ID and PIN. They will take your picture and issue an ID card for you. Please bring a Driver’s License or a valid Passport with you to the ID Office. You may call ahead to be sure they are ready to prepare your ID (617) 496-7827. 

953 Holyoke Center, 1350 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge , MA
Monday, Wed. - Friday 9:00 am - 5:00 pm, Tuesday 10:30 am - 5:00 pm


International fellows who do not already have a Social Security Card will need to apply for one during their residency. A Social Security Number or Tax ID Number is required for you to file for a tax refund. You may apply for a card by visiting the Social Security Office. Bring your passport, I-94 card, and DS-2019 visa document.

10 Fawcett Street, First Floor, Cambridge, MA

For directions and more information click here


Fellows visiting from outside of the United States are eligible to receive an emergency insurance plan provided by DRCLAS through CIGNA. U.S. scholars are not eligible for this plan and are expected to maintain their current coverage while they are in Massachusetts.


Visiting Scholars are responsible for finding their own housing during their stay at Harvard University. The Housing Office can be useful with housing needs.  As an Officer of the University, you are eligible to use their services. 

Please go to www.huhousing.harvard.edu  to register and gain access to listings of Harvard and non-Harvard properties (click on “Apply for Housing” on the left-hand side). You will need your offer letter as verification of you affiliation with the Center. You can forward the e-mail acceptance letter or the PDF version. 

Once you have your password you will be able to view available University housing units and also see listings from private landlords who prefer to rent to Harvard affiliated individuals at these additional sites: 

Listings posted by Harvard affiliates who are looking for a roommate: huhousing.harvard.edu/living-huh/important-information-residents/roommates
Private market apartment listings posted by area landlords and real estate agents: harvardhousingoffcampus.com

Housing through the Harvard Housing Office may be limited if you will only be in Cambridge for one semester. Although not affiliated with the Center or the University, Visiting Scholars have also had success looking for housing on craigslist and Sabbatical Home

There are also independent realtors who can help you find an apartment. It is common for a realtor fee to be charged ranging from half to a full month’s rent. These realtors have worked with Visiting Scholars in the past:

1)  Arthur Horiatis at Tory Row Real Estate (617) 245-4025, www.ToryRow.com   E-mail:Arthur_Horiatis@ToryRow.com.

2)  Patricia Mazza at Mazza Real Estate (617) 497-4500, www.PatriciaMazzaRealEstate.com  E-mail: patsapts@earthlink.net.

3)  Julie Bell at Hammond Residential Real Estate (617) 731-9316 x4, cell: (617) 755-2555)  E-mail : juliebell@verizon.net.


Schools: Visiting Scholars traveling with school-aged children should consult the Harvard International Office website page on Childcare and Schooling  page for how to best plan for enrolling them in school.

The website for the Cambridge Schools District will also be helpful.

Harvard Neighbors is a group which holds playgroups, outings, seminars etc for families of faculty, staff, and students of Harvard University. It is a great resource for helping families find their way around and connect with a Harvard-affiliated community. 

Outings and Innings is an internal website which offers information on many discounts available with your Harvard ID, including discounts for family activities and performing arts events.


This interactive searchable map of the Harvard University will help you easilty find locations such as building and departments  and navigate the campus.


Harvard Key Once you have your Harvard ID number you will need to set up your Harvard Key in order to acces the University systems. You may follow these steps to claim your Harvard Key.


It is important to check your Harvard email regularly, as important notices and emergency notifications from the University are sent to your Harvard email. You will set up a your FAS e-mail name and password for your e-mail account:
To access e-mail on the web go to: Outlook E-mail

For other questions about the e-mail system contact FAS-IT at 617-495-9000 (from your office phone just dial the last 5 digits: 5-9000) or email FAS-Information Technology at help@fas.harvard.edu 

Once you arrive in your office at DRCLAS you will find information (user name and password) for getting started and logged-in to your computer. If you need help please see Isade. 

Technical Support
DRCLAS receives technical support from the Harvard-MIT Data Center (HMDC). For help with issues related to your desktop computer (internet connection, e-mail, connection to printer), send an e-mail to: support@help.hmdc.harvard.edu. Someone from the team will contact you to set up a time to address your concern.


Harvard offers a wide range of fitness and health resources for a modest membership fee. Membership may be purchased once you have a Harvard ID.

A basic recreation membership includes access to the following facilities: Blodgett Pool, Gordon Track (academic year only), Hemenway Gym, the MAC, the QRAC, and the Ellen and Melvin Gordon Fitness Center (in the Murr Center). Please click here for more information including location, hours, and amenities.

There are several options available to add on to the basic recreation membership including: family memberships, group fitness classes and towel service. Please note you must hold a recreation membership in order to purchase tennis or squash memberships.


Your orientation session will include a presentation by Lynn Shirey, Librarian for Latin America, Spain, and Portugal who will introduce you to the Harvard University systems. Lynn can also be contacted for individual help in locating specific collections or resources.

Lynn Shirey

Library Links

A Harvard ID is not needed to access catalogues but you will need your ID and password to access full databases such as JSTOR, Lexis Nexis, etc.

The main library page: http://lib.harvard.edu/
Hollis Catalogue: http://hollis.harvard.edu/

Library privileges for spouses/partners

Spouses or partners of may apply for borrowing privileges at a number of the University’s many libraries. To apply for a library card they should take the Harvard ID of the Harvard affiliate (or a photo-copy of the ID) and their passport to the first floor privileges desk of the Widener Library, room 195. If your family name is not the same as that of your spouse or partner, you will need either proof of marriage or evidence that you live together. The cost for a library card is $5; please have exact change or a check. For further information, please telephone (617) 495-4166.