10 Challenges International Students Face

Being an international student is a great honor. The students who decide to study abroad are usually the brightest stars of their generations.

Nevertheless, their life is not exciting and fun all the time. They meet tons of new people and they are thrilled to explore the new environment, but they also face difficulties in various aspects of studying and living.

In the continuation, we will provide a list of 10 common challenges international students face. We’ll also suggest solutions to each of these problems, so we’ll hopefully make your life more enjoyable while studying abroad.

  • Challenge 1: Feeling Homesick

After the first flow of excitement, you may start feeling homesick. Although you’ll meet new people, they will seem cold and distant, simply because you don’t know them yet.

Solution: Although Facebook Messenger and Skype can’t completely replace real interaction with the people back home, they will still make you feel connected to them.

Try to open up to as many opportunities as possible. If someone invites you to a social event, show up! You don’t have to talk too much if you’re an introvert, but the least you could do is be part of different activities and make some friends.

  • Challenge 2: Fitting In

You’ll suddenly find yourself into a completely different culture. The people behave differently, the food is different, and you can’t get used to the way they socialize.

Solution: Be yourself and allow your new friends to learn about your culture while sharing their viewpoints with you.   

Club membership is a great way to fit in. Get informed about the available clubs in your university and join the ones that are closest to your interest. When you connect with like minded people, it will be easier for you to fit in.

  • Challenge 3: The Language Barrier

If you’re studying in a country where people speak a foreign language, you will have difficulties to express yourself. If you don’t speak the language well, you won’t have enough confidence to talk to people.

Solution: Take language lessons. Don’t be shy to describe what you want to say if you don’t know the precise words. With time, you will be more confident to speak up; it just takes a lot of practice for you to get to that point.

  • Challenge 4: Academic Writing

Oh, this is a tough one. Even native speakers find academic writing difficult. For foreigners, it’s almost impossible to write impeccable papers from the first attempt.

Solution: You have to practice a lot. If you don’t know how to write a paper, see if your university offers specialized writing courses.

Here are few online tools that will help you deal with this challenge:

  • Mendeley – a reference manager and PDF organizer. You can use it to collect sources for your papers, and then reference them in the appropriate citation style.
  • Google Scholar – a search engine that leads you to reliable research studies.
  • Plagtracker – free plagiarism tracking engine that will highlight the plagiarized parts of your content. Then, you’ll reference or paraphrase them to get completely unique content.
  • NinjaEssays – online agency that connects you with professional writers and editors. When you collaborate with them, you’ll gain experience that will help you work on your own papers in future.
  • Challenge 5: Roommates

It’s not easy to live with people you just met. They will have their own lifestyle that may collide with your habits.

Solution: Allow your roommate to have personal space, but don’t allow them to make your life miserable. Try to be a good friend and do everything in your power to make that relation work. If it doesn’t, you’ll just have to live through the year and get new roommates for the next semester.

  • Challenge 6: Finances

You’ll want to see many new places and have drinks every night, but that won’t be possible.

Solution: You’ll have to be a bit tight with your money. Get second-hand books, cook your own meals whenever possible, find part-time job, and attend dorm parties instead of going out in clubs.

Mint is an app that will make you the master of budget management.

  • Challenge 7: Procrastination

When you have so many new places to see and friends to make, it’s easy to neglect the most important thing: studying. You’ll keep saying there’s enough time for everything, but there’s not.

Solution: Mark every important date in your Google Calendar. Plan the studying and completion of projects, and you’ll see there’s enough space for socializing in between those important activities.

  • Challenge 8: Family Problems

When you’re away from your family, it doesn’t mean you’ve abandoned their problems. In fact, everything seems more serious when you’re not close to them. These worries may interfere with your focus on the studies.

Solution: Communicate with them as much as possible. Every family has problems. Try not to take things too seriously, and have conversations that would make them feel better.

  • Challenge 9: Relationships

You have someone you love back home? You’ll meet many new people on campus, so it will be difficult for you to maintain that relationship.

Solution: Before you start something with someone new, you have to understand your feelings. It’s not okay to cheat on your current partner if you plan to stay with them. If you feel a spark with someone new, end the current relationship before doing anything you want without feeling guilty.

  • Challenge 10: The Lectures

Native students have the needed background to attend lectures like that, but you might not be prepared for it.

Solution: If you don’t understand the presentations, ask some of your new friends to share their notes with you. Don’t worry too much about this; you’ll get used to the new methods with time.

You can face any challenge that comes in front of you, so don’t let the new environment to discourage you. You’re strong, smart, and committed!

Julie Petersen is a freelance writer and content marketing specialist. Being an author of AskPetersen essay writing blog, she regularly creates helpful guides, articles and samples for students. Read her latest posts about Bid4Papers and EssayTigers reviews.


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