Challenges you will face as an international student

Students often face several challenges when they decide to undertake their studies in a different country. Some of the challenges are universal while others are more specific, depending on country and institution of choice.


With the diversification of education and the introduction of exchange programs, language is a challenge commonly experienced by students moving to a country where a different language is used. If you move abroad to study, you might find it difficult to communicate with the natives, and there might be challenges to integrate with other students. In addition, learning becomes difficult because you find it difficult to understand what is being taught.

This is a common challenge for exchange students. In order to overcome this challenge – look for another student who will translate for you! This way, you will not only understand what is taught, but also be in a better position to integrate with others. 


Cultural differences

Culture defines the beliefs and traditions of a given society. Lack of universality in cultural practices means that a practice that is common in one region may be discouraged in another region. This may bring about emotional and physical discomfort to individuals deciding to live in a place that is very different from their home.

One example of cultural differences is with food – foreign students may find it difficult to adopt. In order to overcome this challenge, one is advised to quickly adapt to the practices of the local community in order to feel at home. But it’s not only food that will be different culturally. Try and get a native student to show you “how they do it.” They would surely be proud and happy to introduce you to their town, their local cuisine and music scene!


Climatic changes

Different regions experience different climates and weather, and this can be a major challenge for any international student. Some areas are seriously cooler than others, while others are way hotter. Adapting from one climatic condition to another may be quite challenging at the beginning. However, international students are advised to change their dressing style in order to adapt to the new conditions they may be facing. Let your new, local friends take you shopping!



You will move away not only from your home country, but also from your family. This might a difficult experience, as it may lead to one taking much of ones time missing and thinking of family members. If possible, before you leave your home country, help your family set up the tools needed for online communication. That way, your family and friends will never be more than a Zoom away! Also, while this challenge might be difficult to overcome, try and consider your new university friends as extended, or at least interim family. Often, you will be the same to them!

Student Competitions is the world’s biggest collection of competitions for students.

Sign up for our newsletter to stay updated, and make sure you check out what competitions are available every once in a while.