11 Studying Struggles Only Foreign Students Will Understand

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Written By Charlotte Miller

Colleges and universities bring together learners from different countries in the world. While this is a huge plus, foreign students face many issues studying abroad. Although the coming together of different cultures allows college students to learn from each other, some studying struggles are not as easy to overcome. 

These issues have nothing to do with the intelligence or qualifications of international learners. On the contrary, foreign students in universities in the United States perform well if they overcome these challenges. 

Honestly, studying struggles are common even among native students. That’s why it is always a great idea to order essay on EssayHub to get professionals handling your assignments. Sometimes, you might not have enough time to write an essay. In addition, some topics are laborious and might be hard for you to handle.

Here are the most common struggles international students face:

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Language Barriers 

Foreign students understand English since most of them learn the language in their home countries. However, some terms are new, especially depending on the course they’re taking. Reading is not the only issue, as teachers also speak native English. 

Their fast pace and deep understanding of slang leave many international learners at a disadvantage. So, keeping up with the professor and colleagues becomes a struggle. Moreover, speaking and expressing points is no easy task. 

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Unfortunately, a lack of deep understanding of English also causes some to shy away from answering questions and conversing with peers.

Difficulty Writing Assignments 

Written assignments differ from one country to another. Moreover, the methods of conducting the research might prove difficult to master. While that might change after international students spend more time in their new schools, adjusting takes a toll on the student.

Moreover, some countries encourage learners to memorize content instead of internalizing it, leading to issues when it comes to writing exams and assignments.

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Issues Keeping Up in Class

While some professors are accommodating and ensure every student gets special attention, some classes are large, and teachers cannot have one-on-one engagements. Therefore, slower students lag behind, especially foreign students. 

Classroom discussions are a significant part of studying, and a lack of participation means foreign learners don’t express their opinions or questions.

Cultural Barriers 

If you’re studying in the US, you understand that it is okay to counter your professor’s opinion. However, some international students come from cultures that consider this disrespectful. 

On the contrary, learners who are more vocal in class understand points better and get better marks. While culture forms an integral part of an individual, some are dated and limit foreign learners from living to their full potential. 


Learners who are traveling thousands of miles to attend school need about two weeks to recover from jetlag. Obviously, schools do not offer rest times right after a major break. So, you will have to adjust as fast as you can. 

At first, you might find it difficult to keep up with your peers and paper, but with time, it gets better. Try reducing the number of times you travel home. After all, flight tickets are quite expensive for a student’s budget.

Financial Constraints 

Most international learners are on a scholarship. While that is a great advantage, most are financially disadvantaged since they lack money to buy new books or extra reading materials. Some teachers require their students to purchase multiple books for their course but converting the costs into your currency could leave you broke!

Social Isolation 

Non-native learners find it difficult to make friends. Moreover, they miss home since all they can bring to college is suitcases with clothes and a few personal belongings. Being homesick can take a toll on you if you have nobody close to talk to. 

 Culture Shock 

Coming from a foreign country means less exposure to American-style colleges and universities. The campuses are huge, and the living arrangements might come as a surprise. Adjusting to such new environments takes time. 

However, some learners adjust quicker than others and can get to work immediately after landing on their new campus. Still, the culture shock takes up a few days (or weeks), which is better used in class or doing assignments. 


The worst part about being a foreigner in college is ethnic and racial prejudice. Some universities might be free from such cases, but foreign learners can feel segregated in some institutions. 

Obvious accents make these students vulnerable to ridicule in and outside class. Some native learners believe that a lack of fluency in English means you are less intelligent. Stereotyping of foreign learners also occurs based on:

  • Clothing 
  • Food
  • Religion
  • Holidays 
  • Native traditions 
  • Family relationships 

Many learners must take time off their schedule to explain their culture and get colleagues to appreciate the differences instead of ridicule them. 

Pressure to Achieve 

If you have come from a remote area, you might even be the first one from your family to attend a university abroad. That means that the entire community expects success from you. The pressure to please your family and community can become excessive, especially with the amount of work you have to do. 

Also, the costs of tuition, accommodation and other expenses are high, so you feel the need to overachieve to pay back your parents. 

Lack of Access to Some Amenities 

Native learners are lucky because they are US citizens. Therefore, they have access to amenities off-campus. In addition, access to loans and other financial programs is easier when you’re a native.

International learners have to make do with whatever they have, meaning more effort is necessary, even in situations that could be much easier to handle. 


Being a foreign college student has its challenges. However, it is a good opportunity to work extra hard. The challenges mentioned above can be limiting, but it takes dedication to overcome all hurdles that come your way!