5 Challenges of Studying in the USA

Spread the love

Making life-changing decisions doesn’t come without its challenges. Some challenges come when students pick the United States as their study abroad destination just like there are benefits attached to these decisions too. According to reports, the United States recorded over 940, 000 international students in the 2021/2022 academic session making it the country with the highest number of international students globally.

The country is home to international students from diverse countries and continents including China, India, Korea, Brazil, Mexico, Italy, Hong Kong Kuwait to mention a few. It’s also safe to say that according to the QS world ranking, the Massachusetts Institute of Technology currently tops the list of the highest-rated universities globally, and this university is located in the United States. Stanford University, Harvard University, and University of Chicago all situated in the US are also part of the 10 ten universities in the QS global ranking. This therefore implies that indeed, the United States is an excellent study-abroad destination for international students that comes with many benefits. Some of the benefits international students get to enjoy include:

Get Up to $100,000 Student Loan for Your Master in US or Canada - See if you are eligible

Got Admission to Study in US or Canada? See if you are eligible for international student loan

  • Access to world-class learning facilities, the latest technologies, and a conducive learning environment.
  • The country also houses the headquarters of top multinational corporations like Apple, Cisco, Dell, eBay, IBM, Microsoft, Nickelodeon, and The Cartoon Network Inc. among others. 
  • Additionally, students get to interact with other students. Other countries and cultures as the country encourage cultural diversity.
  • Students also have access to quality education because the country also houses top universities that are ranked high globally. 

Furthermore, the benefits students stand to enjoy when they pick the US as their study destination cannot be outlined. However, there are also disadvantages and challenges attached to studying in the USA.

Challenges of Studying in the USA

Having explored the benefits students get to enjoy when they choose the US as their study destination, let’s now examine the challenges of studying in the USA. Don’t forget to subscribe to our newsletter for more updates. 

Read also: 5 Benefits Of Studying Abroad

1. Financial Burden

It’s general knowledge that education is expensive. Consequently, Derek Bok, the former president of Harward also made a thought-provoking statement that says “If you think education is expensive — try ignorance.” This goes to show that although education is expensive, one must not compromise on getting other things at the expense of quality education. However, this also doesn’t doesn’t downplay the cost of education in the United States. In the table below, the cost of studying in the US in the 2018/2019 academic session is outlined.

Public two-year collegesPublic four-year colleges(in-state fees)Public four-year colleges(states fees)Private non-profit four-year colleges
Tuition and other fees$3,660$10,230$26,290$35,830
Room and Board$8,660$11,140$11,140$12,680
Total: $12,320$21,370$37,430$48,510

Now, this statistic excludes other fees like visa fees, book fees, living costs, flight tickets, and other necessary expenses. On average, a young student from a developing country would not be able to afford this, and this can serve as a form of discouragement. 

Solution: There are funding opportunities available for international students who want to study abroad. However, these opportunities are limited and not everyone might be able to benefit from them. These opportunities include:

  • Scholarships
  • Fellowships
  • Grants and financial aids
  • Student loans
  • Assistantship
  • Study and work options

As an international student who desires to study in the United States, you can explore any of the above options to help with the funding of your education. 

2. Cultural Adjustment

One of the benefits of studying abroad includes the opportunity to mingle with other students and learn about other cultures. Consequently, culture shock can as well be a challenge for international students studying abroad. In simple terms, culture shock refers to the discomfort students experience when they encounter a new culture. The United States is a country of people with diverse cultures and this can be a challenge for international students. 

For some students, the language, food, and general way of life in a new country might be too much to take in. Especially if the student is studying alone without any known family members or friends. Adapting can be quite difficult. Several times, a student might feel lonely and desire to go home where everything seems familiar. This in turn can affect the attention the student pays to his academics and also affect performance if not properly addressed. 

Solution: For students finding it difficult to adapt to a new culture, you can research and learn about American culture before moving to familiarize yourself with the country. Additionally, you can seek support from counseling services on campus. You can also socialize and make new friends, join new groups, and attend events to familiarize yourself with the culture.

3. Visa and Immigration Issues

Additionally, visa and immigration issues is another challenge students face when they choose the US as their study abroad destination. Obtaining a visa to the country isn’t easy. It also doesn’t end there as international students can also face work restrictions in the country. The visa application process isn’t easy and can be time-consuming. Also, your application doesn’t mean you’re automatically getting the visa as in some cases, you might have to reapply again without any refund from the previous application. Immigration policies can also change at any time and international students will experience difficulties when this happens. 

Solution: International students desiring to study in the US must seek guidance from their university’s international student office. This will help them keep abreast of the latest policies and proffer solutions to visa and immigration challenges. 

Read also: 30 Scholarships And Fellowships For International Scholars

4. Education System Differences

Furthermore, another challenge of studying in the US is the different education system. Every country has an educational system that they run and their students are comfortable with it. However, when international students move to the US, they might have some problems trying to adapt to the teaching methods, assignment methods, test methods, and grading systems. For students from non-English speaking countries, they are likely to experience difficulty in learning due to the language differences present too. Also, the academic pressure might affect the results of the students because they will find it difficult to adapt to the new system. However, every problem has a solution including the academic system problems international students face while studying in the US. 

Solution: Firstly, for students experiencing language difficulty, enrolling in a language class and attending language exchange programs can help a lot. If you have friends who can speak English excellently, you can also practice with them to improve yourself. 

In addition, students experiencing academic pressure can seek help and counsel from professors or academic advisors at their universities. Belonging to a study group can also help you catch up on your academics. 

Read also: 10 Fellowships That Promote Interdisciplinary Collaboration

5. Health Issues 

Finally, another challenge of studying in the US is the health-related one. Generally, changing your environment can cause you to fall sick. Adjusting to a new climate, food, and lifestyle is sure to have some changes in your health. But with time, you’ll learn to adapt to the climate. However, relocation can also have effects on your mental health. All these can affect your productivity and your academics in the long run. 

Solution: Visiting your school’s health center when you are sick can help. It’s also important you have health insurance in the case of an emergency. Additionally, leading a healthy lifestyle and imbibing good habits can have a positive effect on the overall quality of your life. 


Studying in the US has its perks but it is not without its challenges. However, being able to properly handle these challenges and scale through the hurdles is what matters. As an internal student, know that there are lots of benefits and Opportunities you stand to gain when you choose this country as your study abroad destination. But be properly prepared and be ready to ask questions and seek help where necessary in other to adapt and thrive in the country. 

Read also: 10 International Scholarships And Their Application Processes

Start with us

Do you desire to start a career in STEM? The first thing is to pursue a degree in STEM. Wondering how to go about pursuing a postgraduate degree in STEM courses abroad? We can guide you through your journey and make your dreams come true. Reach out to us at EdXtra to access opportunities that will help you on your journey

Enrolling in the top universities in the world can increase your chances with employers. Unfortunately, it can be quite expensive to study abroad 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.


  • Mercy Awofiranye is a creative writer with over five years of experience. Currently, she specializes in creating helpful content for students in the education space. When she's not writing, she enjoys reading, cooking, and learning new things.