student life

Challenges faced by international students and how to overcome them

Studying abroad
Written by Ezinne Chinda

Studying abroad is always a good idea, I mean a lot of people encourage it especially in Nigeria where I come from because of the exposure and quality of education. But no one ever tells you about the challenges you could face once you leave your home country and how to overcome those challenges.

For those planning on studying abroad or those who are already abroad here are some challenges you could face and how to overcome them.

Culture Shock (Felling like and outside)

According to UK Council for International Student Affairs (UKCISA) culture shock is common among international students arriving the UK.  You will notice that things are done differently from what you are used to. People dress differently, there’s a difference in temperature and even food. You’ll find it hard to cope and even feel left out especially in your first few weeks or month. One thing I discovered as an international student is that you can always find people that are just like you. People who are from the same country as you and make friends with them.  You can also make friends with home students who will help you cope with everything around you. As time goes on, you’ll realise that different countries in the world have their different culture and you’d fall in love with it.

Communication (Language barrier)

Another problem international students face is struggling with communication. Be it language barrier or having difficulty hearing and understanding an accent. Most times you’d feel too shy talk because you feel like your English is not good enough especially when you’re from a country that doesn’t speak English. This would affect your communication and relationship with people and even prevent you from making friends and enjoying your first few days. The great part is that you can always get to improve your English in school by taking an English language course. You can also improve just by listening and speaking to home students with better English.


Homesickness is a big challenge especially when you have been living with your family all your life and all of a sudden you have to stop because you’re going to study abroad. One thing you can’t help is missing home from time to time especially in your low moments because of all the support you can get from family. For me, I get homesick the most during Christmas holidays because I’m used to spending Christmas with all my family members. Because of all the school work I have to do during the Christmas break I never really get the opportunity to travel back home. To fill up the absence of my family, I spend Christmas with friends I’ve made and do the things I’d normally do with my family with them. Things like preparing meals for Christmas, Secret Santa, and playing games. Although no one can ever take the special place my family has in my heart, spending time with friends always helps and makes me feel better.