Challenges of Studying Abroad and How to Overcome Them

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Studying abroad can be an exciting time in the life of a student. You can move to a new country and learn new skills and make friends for life. You may be encouraged to seek new adventures and extend your boundaries.

Although there are many great benefits to studying abroad it does come with its challenges. Therefore, as a student abroad, you will have some difficult times.

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In this article, we will be discussing study abroad UPS and DOWN and how to solve them.

It can be very difficult to move to a new place, especially if you relocate to someplace very far from home and your loved ones. Starting a new life abroad will cause you a little headache and trouble. Adapting to a new country in a new culture can make you doubt your decision. But do not lose hope! We understand that the biggest challenges of being an international student are more than you think.

For instance, approximately 300,000 international students are enrolled in various Australian universities. Australia is well known for its high-quality education. So undoubtedly, the number of international students keeps increasing every year. Yet, most of these students STILL face many challenges when they come to Australia for the first time. Some have trouble adapting to the culture, others have trouble connecting with people.

As you may know, the best way to mitigate potential problems is to feel prepared to face those problems, a road bump here and there does not have to derail you from your overall time abroad. Therefore, we have put together some of the barriers a student faces when they want to Study abroad AND their solutions

Barriers to Study Abroad

You may also refer to it as The Challenges of Studying abroad

Many think that going abroad will be as quiet as other types of travel: enjoy, eat, and have fun. But studying abroad is not a vacation. It is real life. The cost of dining at the restaurant will eventually add up, late nights will lengthen your sleep during class and the overall pace can make you run away in ruins. Even if you do well, you will find the study abroad ups and downs that affect you, day in and day out – sometimes exacerbating.

Here is a list of what to expect.

1. The Language Barrier

The main problem abroad is the language barrier. Living in a country where nobody speaks your language can be very isolating.

Communication barriers are a fact of living abroad and making sense of the lifestyle of foreigners. This means that many students studying abroad may feel lonely and homesick

You can let it stress you or you can see it as a learning opportunity.

2. Cultural Differences

In addition to the language barrier, there will also be difficulties in culture. Each country has its own culture and you may find it difficult to integrate. This can be especially difficult when you live with roommates. The behavior of your roommates may seem strange and bad, but in your new home, these behaviors are quite normal.

You suddenly look and feel very lonely. You are surrounded by other people and your appearance, your fashion, your inability to communicate in the language of the country, or your general presence are of course … different. Never before have you felt so uncomfortable or disconnected.

3. Finances–Running low on cash

Despite all your efforts to plan, budget, and track your spending throughout the semester, there might this one weekend you may have spent too much. Nobody can blame you for managing your double-digit bank account.

Like all students, from time to time you will have difficulty controlling your finances. If you live abroad, it can be harder to reconcile your living expenses and your study expenses. Concerns about your finances can slow you down and make you feel alone or stressed out.

4. Academic Difficulties

Honestly, you can have trouble when it comes to starting classes at your new college or university. The language barrier only can contribute to this challenge, because you may be taking your courses in a language you don’t even understand the first word of.

5. Homesickness

We have already mentioned homesickness, but for many students abroad this can be a real problem. You live thousands of miles away from your friends and family, making you feel isolated. Universities around the world are faced with students’ problems with homesickness, which shows how widespread the problem is.

But then, It is perfectly healthy and normal to feel homesick, just do not let it become a crippling part of your experience abroad. Your support networks are still there!

 6. Time zone annoyances

Trying to navigate two time zones on opposite ends of the world can be frustrating. You need to constantly check what time is appropriate for each time zone and make a habit of calling early in the morning or late in the evening.

7. Getting used to currency differences

Getting used to currency differences is also a difficult process. For example, in Costa Rica, you need to remember that 500 Costa Rican colones are equal to one dollar. And in continental Europe, you will have to remember that anything that costs €1 costs $ 1.40.

As with most foreign learning challenges, currency differences are some of the things that do not hurt you if you only stay for a short time but have a big impact if you stay at least one semester or more.

8. Wanting to stay forever

You have fallen in love with this new place and love everything about it – the sights, sounds, smells, and energy. More importantly, you love the YOU that lives here. You feel more self-confident and self-assured than ever, fearing the idea of returning home. Like the saying goes every good thing surely comes to an end.

Solutions to study abroad challenges

How to Handle the Language Barrier during Your Study Abroad

The best thing to do is practice more before the start of your studies. Also, do not be afraid to ask the locals to re-pronounce the words. They are usually eager to help you. ”

We also recommend using some online tools that can help overcome the language barrier. Duolingo offers a very useful language learning program, while SpellCheck, JSpell Reverso, or similar programs help you translate sentences or check for grammatical errors.

1. How to Handle Cultural Differences Studying Abroad

Make an effort to be familiar with local cultural norms and terminology. If you do not speak the mother tongue of the host country fluently, have a translation dictionary created or fill your smartphone with foreign language applications. Make friends and ask for tips and advice on how to be more authentic with strangers.

Ultimately, you should not allow the fear of offending or speaking incorrectly to keep you from interacting healthily within the host culture. You will learn over time, and if you are patient with yourself.

2. How to Handle Finance Challenges studying abroad

“There are a few ways to make sure you bring enough money while you’re away,” says Best British Essays author Fiona Morrison. “Take advantage of all the options available to you.” Here are some that you can try for yourself if you need money:

  • Look for scholarships that will help you. There are a lot of scholarship opportunities open to international students studying abroad
  • Depending on the laws in your study abroad country, you may be able to work part-time. Try to find a job that you can integrate into your studies.
  • Cook all your meals instead of buying takeaway food.
  • Save up cash for emergencies, as you’ll be glad you did when an unexpected bill comes in.

3. How to Deal with Your Academic Difficulties

Balancing your time can be a great help to you. Do not let your social relationships take all of your time. Remember that you do well at school, especially if you have goals in life

Also, nothing can beat a person who is prepared. Organizing your timetable and creating a to-do list can be a great help for the success of your schoolwork.

The to-do list can also avoid getting stuck if you have a list of projects/schoolwork that you need to do first. It will also help you to be less stressed when you have a lot to do.

4. How to Deal With Homesickness While Studying Abroad

There are several ways to calm the loud voices in your head reminding you how far you are from home. You can engage in new interests, new clubs, or new adventures in your study abroad destination, you can ask your friends/family /counselors for advice.

You can find a taste of home by introducing yourself to the local Starbucks Café. Most persons can practice yoga, meditation, journaling, or another self-knowledge activity. Find other parts of yourself that have been kept unknown.

The important thing is that you do not spend hours on Facebook and your other favorite social networking sites. This would be counterproductive and feeds your feelings of homesickness, rather than eradicating them.

5. How to Deal with Currency Differences

Make sure that you develop a fast conversion system for yourself so that you mentally determine the prices of goods when you want to buy anything and know the “normal” price for the essentials, that is. Ask the locals how much they expect you to pay. Do not spend the euro like dollars or the dollars like naira/rand/cfa!

This might seem like an intimidating list, but don’t worry! It sounds significantly harder than it is. The phrase “having failed your way to success” comes to mind. I think all people who have studied abroad can relate to that statement. From university applications to finding a place to stay and identifying the social norms, we have all been unsuccessful in some if not all of these respects. But when you push through the challenges, everything will work out

6. Challenges of Studying in some of the best cities

Being a student is a challenge because of busy schedules, difficult projects, and complex social situations. However international students experience even more challenges because being a student in a different country can be hard.

If you are the big city type then you are in luck, we have put together all the challenges those wishing to study in the big study abroad destination can face.

Challenges faced by international students in Germany

International students studying in Germany enjoy their stay and are happy to recommend their experiences to other students, as shown by the StudyPortal’s 2014 International Student Satisfaction Award.

Nearly 7,000 students from around the world shared their impressions and insights. According to Opinions on European universities in the world’s largest database of international student experiences, Nearly 600 students reported having studied in Germany.

Overall, Germany had a total score of 8.8 out of 10 and was ranked 11th in terms of student satisfaction. Student impressions provide an interesting insight into German universities and can help potential students decide on their future study goals.

In total, 17 German universities received an award for international student satisfaction. Two of them, the Friederich-Schiller-Universität Jena and the Georg-August-Universität Göttingen, received certificates of outstanding international student satisfaction with an average mark of 9.5 out of 10. Eight German universities were considered “excellent” and seven were rated “very good”.

Students who studied in Germany were generally more satisfied with the university than the European average, although some argue that there is still room for improvement. Students are satisfied that the courses have contributed to their development and are generally satisfied with the participation of teachers. Many also report high academic standards and experienced teachers. The quality of the facilities is also welcomed by many students.

”I came back with a lot of new techniques and insights related to my major that I and even my professors haven’t heard before. This exchange/Erasmus period helped me reach broader horizons.” – Student from Turkey

“During my first lecture – real-time machines and robots – I was amazed when the teachers gave us a mini-robot and told us we could have it at home during the whole semester to practice on. All the practice-orientated examples helped a lot to understand the aim of the lecture and get the ability to gain industrial insight.” – Student from Hungary

The challenges of studying in Germany

International students in Germany have complained about the lack of activity in some of the smaller cities in the country. Those in these places found the social life boring and recommended traveling to the country’s largest cities. Some were dissatisfied with the services of academic staff, particularly the high bureaucracy and the lack of relevant information for international students. German language skills are highly recommended and students should pay attention to the language of instruction, which is often German and offers a very limited range of English language courses.

Other challenges many have faced include (from the top):

  • Orientation into the German Education System
  • Finding the right course path that will guarantee you work in Germany
  • Looking for a room or apartment
  • Getting a work permit
  • Interaction with Germans outside the Uni
  • Applying for the visa before arriving and extension issues at migration offices in Germany
  • Interaction with German Professors
  • Recognition of academic qualifications from the students’ home countries
  • Performance demands from their study course
  • Understanding German

Browse Scholarships in Germany. Click here

Study in USA Challenges

Compare Studying in Germany vs. the USA via the video below

Are you one of the many students from all over the world who have applied to study in the US, or are you planning to study in the US?

The United States is home to many of the world’s leading universities and offers many opportunities for research and academic activities. International students in the United States face many challenges, whether they are seeking international student aid, coping with cultural differences, or finding a solution to an academic problem.

The challenges here are no different from other places, you will still find a solution that suits you so that you can study at the American university of your choice.

International students, especially those from countries where English is not spoken, face particular challenges as they adapt to the American education system.

Cultural shock is the first challenge of every international student. The American way of life may differ from that of your country and American culture is a mixture of cultures from around the world. You need time to get used to life in a new country and to accept cultural differences.

More than the cultural shock, is the real academic work, American colleges and universities, commonly assign students lots of academic papers in practically all classes.

Completing these papers on time can be challenging because of the language barrier.  You will need to learn a lot of unfamiliar terms to use them in your university assignments. Besides, you will need to master a more advanced writing style.

Therefore, if you are aspiring to study at a US University, my advice is to dust up your writing skills because you will have a lot of research work to do.

Browse Scholarships in the USA Click Here

Challenges faced by international students in the UK

International students in the UK can be easily identified. You will often see them at the border control tightening their landing cards and biting their lips with hope. When seen in some places, such as the local pub, they stand out from the crowd by their accent. Maybe it’s your best friend or maybe you are in the description.

For all international students, life will be a little more difficult than that of local students. Do not give up yet. You cannot afford to give up the world-class education that Britain offers you.

Additionally, the opportunity to meet people from all over the world during your Study in the UK makes studying there a wonderful experience for most international students.

However, this does not mean that living in the UK is easy and comfortable. International students sometimes have problems, which ranges from being financially low, homesickness, language barrier, or problems of integrating which is a problem of coming from different cultural background to study in the UK.

Currently, the biggest challenge facing international students in the UK is the issue of BREXIT.

For EU students commencing studies in the 2018/19 or 2019/20 academic year, fees and financial aid will remain the same as before the Brexit vote, regardless of when the UK leaves the union. It remains to be seen whether there will be any changes in the 2020/21 academic year.

In the longer term, it seems likely that EU students will have to pay the higher fee rates that currently apply to those from outside of the EU. However, those looking on the brighter side have pointed out that the pound’s fall in value, if sustained, will continue to make studying in the UK more affordable for all international students.

With immigration controls so central to the Brexit debate, new regulations will likely be introduced. If the UK withdraws from existing agreements on freedom of movement, future EU students may need to apply for a Tier 4 student visa or a short-term study visa to study in the UK.

According to an estimate, 15 percent of all university students in the UK are international students, so there are certain common problems that almost every international student encounters.

Hence, aside from the general challenges faced by international students, oftentimes international students counter racial discrimination in campus premises and off-campus.

Dealing with racial discrimination is a tough job for international students because complaints made by them may not appear to have much ‘substance’. Racial discrimination can be verbal and physical abuse. It is, therefore, more important to take students’ complaints and take immediate action against them. It will cause tension and stress both in the social environment and social.

Is there a solution?

The UK government has to take a few measures to make the studying experience for international students a pleasant one. Being an international student, you should know your basic rights. You should avoid engaging in any kind of quarrel or argument. Educational institutions should have an advisory body to advise on available support concerning the safety of international students.

There are many innovative ideas that universities can adopt to make international students comfortable in the new environment.

Browse Scholarships in the UK Click Here

Challenges faced by international students in Australia

In 2015, there were at least 650,000 foreign students in Australia, and their numbers are still growing. It is quite normal for these students to face challenges while studying abroad, and sometimes it is difficult to be away from home and not have the same protection and rights as Australian citizens.

In addition to these challenges, other areas affect both the education and life of international students: finance, language barriers, visa issues, culture shock, and homesickness, to name but a few.

Not only in Australia, but international students face financial hardship in almost every part of the world. Likewise in Australia, not a thing is free and cheaper in Australia. And the most breaking thing is that the tuition fees of Australian universities are really expensive. Paying over 20,000 AUD per year is very frustrating and hard. Does not end there. The rents and accommodation costs are also higher. In Sydney, a bedroom flat costs around 300-500 AUD which is very expensive.

In general, studying in Australia is exciting and productive, but the education system may be different from many countries. On the other hand, Australian universities offer undergraduate programs for three years, while in many other countries, the four-year threshold for undergraduate programs is met. Similarly, courses and credits are divided into weeks and hours, which can be very new and heavy for the number of international students.

However, faced with these unavoidable obstacles, international students must find ways of dealing with each challenge knowing that the benefits of studying abroad are far better than quitting in a time of challenge.

Browse Scholarships in Australia Click Here

Challenges Faced by International Students in New Zealand

Being a student is a challenge, being an international student is even greater. I think student life in my home country is quite simple but it can be difficult to study in another country.

New Zealand is no different just like every other study abroad country. it provides that cultural shock for international students as well as other study abroad challenges international students face.

Browse Scholarships in New Zealand Click Here

Challenges Faced by International Students in China

China is the most populous country in the world and is gaining popularity among international students; International students who want to pursue studies/research in areas in STEM such as engineering, nursing, information technology, etc. China boasts of universities such as Fudan University, Tsinghua University, Beijing University, China University of Science and Technology, and so on. These institutions have a track record of excellence in innovation and research. Getting admission into a university in China can be relatively seamless as the process isn’t without its challenges.

Moreover, the Chinese government encourages the growth of its education sector through favorable policies which tend to improve and attract investors. The result of this has been discoveries in research triggering innovations, growth, and development of various sectors of the economy. The ancient imperial capital; the historical sites and buzzing cities within China trigger the adventurous persona in international students.

The challenges facing most international students in the country range from Language barriers, disparities in currency, and cultural differences.

However, cultural difference is one of the top challenges international students face while studying in China because the gap in culture is immensely wide. Approach to different cultures also differ. This could lead to misunderstandings if you are not open-minded. Adapting to the Chinese culture shouldn’t be difficult given the fun and dynamic nature of Chinese festivals and rites. Once you are open to embracing a new culture, this won’t be as difficult as you think.

Browse Scholarships in China Click Here

Challenges Faced by International Students in Sweden

The quality and international standing of the Swedish education system need no explanation, with Universities consistently ranked among the best in the world. The addition of one of its fine institutions would be an excellent addition to any student’s academic CV.

Sweden has long been an attractive destination for international students around the world. While the introduction of tuition fees in 2011 was initially a setback for mobility, inbound exchanges in Sweden have increased in recent years, according to the 2017 progress report on Swedish universities’ higher education institutions.

Browse Scholarships in Sweden Click Here

Challenges Faced by International Students in Finland

Finland is one of the northernmost countries in the world and, although it is off the beaten track, this Nordic country is anything but an island. Finland is the world leader in education, transparency, stability, and saunas. But what makes Finland the ideal destination for an international student?

Additionally, one can make a long list of why international students should choose Finland as their study abroad location. Ranging from its natural beauty, Finland’s geographic location, as well as its stunning landscape, makes it an ideal location for students wanting to study and explore.

Secondly, Vibrant International Community, with just under 5.5 million people the country has a diverse international community, and international students will find a warm welcome.

Again, the Strong Local Culture is something else, Finnish people may seem very reserved, but once you get to know them, you’ll find a warm, friendly population and cities full of life. Finns drink more coffee than any other people on Earth.

Besides, in the midst of these, are challenges international still face when they are in this country. Most times these challenges are not different from other international study locations chief of which is racial discrimination in almost everything – house hunting, job finding, socialization, the list on.

Here, Everyone Speaks English, which might pose a challenge to non-English speaking students. The weather is also extremely cold. Winter is the longest season in Finland, lasting for about 100 days in the year.

Browse Scholarships in Finland Click Here


There are a few things that can impact you as a student if you’re studying abroad. If you follow the advice on this page, you can alleviate these problems for yourself. Preparation is key, so look into preparing yourself for these issues before you go abroad for your studies. 

Now that you are ready to anticipate common study abroad problems and take them in stride, you can focus on what is most important – having FUN. Enjoy your semester abroad!

Let’s help you

Wondering how to go about your admission processing into schools in the US and Canada? Don’t worry! We’ve got your back! Enrolling in the top universities in the world can increase your chances with employers. Unfortunately, studying abroad can be expensive due to the current economic crisis. But this shouldn’t limit you as there are other options you can explore to enhance your career. 

MPower Finance and Prodigy Finance are some of the best student loan providers for international students. They also do not require any cosigner or collateral before application. At EdXtra Associates, we can help you with your loan application process. We also provide educational consultancy services for international students to help make your journey easier and faster. You can reach out to us, as we’d love to guide you through this journey. 


  • Ifeoma Chuks is a naturally-skilled writer. She has written and contributed to more than 6000 articles all over the internet that have formed solid experiences for particularly aspiring, young people around the globe.

    Content Manager

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