Best Ways to Tackle Challenges to Studying Abroad in 2023

Best Ways to Tackle Challenges to Studying Abroad in 2023

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Best Ways to Tackle Challenges to Studying Abroad in 2023
Bijay Poudel

Studying abroad can be a life-changing adventure but comes with its fair share of challenges. Being aware of these challenges and preparing for them is crucial. One of the main challenges is managing your finances, dealing with language barriers, and adapting to a new culture. Recognising the responsibilities and commitments of studying abroad is the first step towards readiness. Although making such a significant decision may be daunting, knowing the potential difficulties can help you navigate them more effectively. 

As a student studying abroad, you may find yourself facing unknown territories. However, by being mindful of these challenges, you can better equip yourself to overcome them.

This article focuses on common challenges that international students encounter when they relocate to a foreign country: financial difficulties, language barriers, homesickness, adapting to a new environment, and establishing a support system. By acknowledging these obstacles and learning how to tackle them, studying abroad can become less daunting. When you know what to expect from these challenges, they become more manageable.

Challenges and Solutions

Challenges to Studying Abroad

Challenge#1 Financial Stress

Financial stress is a primary concern for international students, who often face significant financial challenges when studying in a new country. These challenges can range from the cost of tuition fees, accommodation, food, transportation, and other necessities, to the difficulties of finding part-time work or obtaining loans and scholarships.

One of the most significant expenses for international students is tuition fees. In many countries, universities charge higher fees for international students than domestic students, which can be a significant burden. For example, in the United States, tuition fees for international students can be two to three times higher than for domestic students.

Another significant expense for international students is accommodation. Finding suitable accommodation can be challenging, especially in popular study destinations with high rental prices. Many students end up sharing accommodation with others to reduce costs, but this can still be a significant expense.

Food and transportation costs can also increase quickly, especially if students need to become more familiar with the local cost of living. In addition, international students may also face unexpected expenses, such as medical emergencies, which can be expensive if they do not have adequate insurance coverage.


Some of the ways to overcome this challenge include:

  • Research the cost of living: It's essential to research the cost of living in your destination country before you leave. This will help you plan your finances accordingly and avoid any surprises.
  • Budget your money: Create a budget and stick to it. Allocate your funds for essentials such as rent, food, and transportation, and try to save as much as possible.
  • Apply for scholarships and financial aid: Look for scholarships and financial aid programs that can help offset the cost of tuition and living expenses.
  • Consider part-time work: If you can work part-time in your destination country, consider taking up a job to earn extra income.

Challenge #2 Language Barrier

Language barriers can be a significant challenge for international students studying abroad. Communication is a vital aspect of daily life, and being unable to communicate effectively with others can cause frustration, anxiety, and even isolation.

One of the main challenges international students face is understanding lectures, reading course materials, and completing assignments in a language that is not their native tongue. This can be particularly challenging if the course materials are technical or academic and require a high level of fluency in the language.

In addition to academic challenges, international students may also need help communicating with local people outside of the academic setting. Socialising and making friends can be difficult when language barriers exist, and it can be hard to participate fully in cultural activities and events.


Here are some tips on how to overcome this challenge:

  • Take language classes: Consider taking language classes before you leave or arrive at your destination. This will help you improve your language skills and communicate more effectively.
  • Immerse yourself in the language: Try to speak the language as much as possible. Speak with locals, join language exchange programs, and watch TV shows or movies in the target language.
  • Use language-learning apps: Several apps can help you improve your language skills. Some popular options include Duolingo, Babbel, and Rosetta Stone.

Challenge#3 Feeling Homesick

Feeling homesick is a natural and common challenge many international students face when they move away from their home countries to pursue their studies abroad. Being away from home, family, friends, and the familiar environment can lead to loneliness, isolation, and sadness.

There are many reasons why international students may feel homesick. They may miss their home country's food, culture, language, and traditions. They may also feel overwhelmed by the new environment, academic demands, and social pressures. Additionally, they may need help to make new friends, build a support system, and adjust to cultural differences.

Homesickness can negatively affect the mental health and academic performance of international students. It can lead to anxiety, depression, and decreased well-being. It can also affect their ability to concentrate and study effectively.


To cope with homesickness, international students can try various strategies such as:

  • Staying connected with family and friends back home through regular video calls, messages, and emails.
  • Building a support system by making new friends, joining clubs and organisations, and attending social events.
  • Keeping themselves busy by engaging in extracurricular activities, exploring the new city, and learning new skills.
  • Seeking help from a mental health professional, counsellor, or support group on campus.
  • Embracing the new culture and trying new things such as trying new foods, attending cultural events, and learning the local language.
  • Taking care of their physical health by eating well, exercising regularly, and getting enough sleep.

Challenge#4 Adjusting in a new country

Adapting to a new country can be daunting for many international students, who must adjust to a new environment, culture, and way of life. One of the biggest challenges that international students face is language barriers. Many students may need to be fluent in the language of the country they are studying in, which can make it challenging to communicate with locals, follow lectures, and complete assignments. This can lead to isolation and frustration and may impact their academic performance.

Another significant challenge for international students is adjusting to cultural differences. Each country has its unique culture, customs, and social norms, and it can take time for students to learn and understand these differences. For example, some cultures may be more reserved and formal in their communication style, while others may be more relaxed and casual. This can make it challenging for international students to navigate social situations and build relationships with local students.

Adjusting to a new academic system can also be a significant challenge for international students. Each country has unique academic culture, teaching styles, and assessment methods, and it can take time for students to adapt to these differences. This can result in difficulty understanding course materials, different expectations for classroom participation, and unfamiliar grading systems. 


Here are some tips on how to overcome this challenge:

  • Learn about the culture: Take the time to learn about the culture and customs of your destination country. This will help you understand the people and their way of life.
  • Explore your surroundings: Get to know your new environment. Explore the city, visit local attractions, and try new foods.
  • Ask for help: Be bold and ask for help if you struggle. Contact your school's international office, or ask your peers or professors for advice.

Challenge#5 Admission Process

Studying abroad can be an exciting and enriching experience, but the admission process can also be a daunting challenge. Here are some reasons why:

  • Different admission requirements: Every university and country has admission requirements, which can be confusing and time-consuming. For example, some universities may require standardised test scores, while others may emphasise academic transcripts, essays, or personal interviews more.
  • Language barriers: If you are applying to a university in a country where English is not the primary language, you may have to take language proficiency tests like TOEFL or IELTS, which can be difficult and expensive.
  • Financial considerations: Studying abroad can be expensive, and many universities require proof of financial support before offering admission. This can be challenging for students relying on scholarships, loans, or other financial aid forms.
  • Visa requirements: Getting a student visa can be a complex and time-consuming process involving paperwork, interviews, and proof of financial support. It can be overwhelming and stressful if you don't have experience with the visa process.


  • Research admission requirements: Start early and research the admission requirements for each university you are interested in. Make a checklist of all the required documents and deadlines, and keep track of your progress.
  • Prepare for language proficiency tests: If you need to take a test, start preparing as early as possible. There are many resources available online, including practice tests and study materials.
  • Seek financial support: Look for scholarships, grants, and other forms of financial aid to help cover the costs of studying abroad. Talk to your university's financial aid or study abroad office for guidance.
  • Get help with the visa process: If you're not familiar with the visa process, seek help from your university's international student office or an immigration lawyer. They can guide you through the process and help you avoid common mistakes.

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