5 Challenges College International Students Face in the U.S.

Fun college years can also be a bit challenging. Some challenges like language barrier seem easier to overcome if you are attending college in your home country, but for international students, these challenges may be very overwhelming and stressful.

According to the 2016 national survey, U.S. hosted about 1 million international students. The biggest number of international students chose the colleges of California, but among universities, the first place was taken by the New York University.

However, another research, done earlier this year has shown that fewer international students are interested in applying for U.S. colleges and universities, saying that this process is too challenging for them in many aspects.

However, another research, done earlier this year has shown that fewer international students are interested in applying for U.S. colleges and universities, saying that this process is too challenging for them in many aspects. So what are these challenges that international students have to face while entering the U.S. colleges? Let’s find out.

1. Admission Challenges: Applications, Academic Load, New Subjects

American education system is very complex, especially when it comes to colleges, universities and their curricula. Challenges for the international students start from the very admission process, where they have to write captivating and creative admission essays to impress the admission committee.

For many international students, the peculiarities of college admission process may be very difficult, as they usually don’t know what’s expected from them.

Solution: When writing the admission essay, try to follow the instructions provided by the college or university you’re interested in. It will help you meet the requirements and make the overall process easier. If you’re still in doubt, contact the admission committee of this college or university.

Academic load may be the next challenge connected with the process of studying. Syllabi of each subject are very peculiar, which may be very difficult for international students to understand.

New subjects is another challenge to be faced by international students. While it may not be so challenging after some time, it’s very scary at first, especially because of language difficulties international students have to deal with.

Solution: Each college and university has people who work directly with international students and are appointed to help them with any challenges they face. You can contact them at any time and get the information you need. You can also ask your professors directly. Who knows better than they do, right?

2. Cultural Issues: Cultural Shock and Language Difficulties

The tiresome process of paper writing and reading long paragraphs and lots of textbooks is usually aggravated by the cultural shock, which international students usually experience. Cultural shock involves social distancing and difficulties to overcome the language barrier. It also usually includes such feelings as homesickness and extreme fatigue.

Solution: You probably have other international students in your class, so the obvious solution for your feeling of loneliness is to team up with them to study and spend some quality time. Together you can figure out the ways how to adjust to the environment that’s strange for you.

Try to make friends with the native speakers to overcome language difficulties. Americans are usually very open to new acquaintances, so take advantage of it. Besides, they are very supportive when they see a person struggling to adjust. So pretty soon you’ll be included in an English-speaking community and language difficulties will vanish.

3. Social Issues: Feeling of Alienation and Not-Belonging

When you get into a different society, it’s pretty hard to find your place in it. It’s really difficult because nobody actually teaches us how to adjust to new surroundings. Your role in your native society may not be adjustable to the society you have just entered.

Solution: Go volunteering! Your college probably offers lots of volunteering programs, you can try out different options before you find what’s right for you. It’s very important not just to saturate yourself in endless studying, but also to try to give back to the community. This way you’ll easier find your place in the new society and also make new friends.

Not only you’ll have to renew your visa if you need to, but you’ll also have to face other challenges connected to your legal status in the U.S. As international students usually apply for an F1 visa, they get the right to study in the U.S., but have no right to work, as for this purpose they would need H-1B type of visa.

Solution: If international students need additional money and would like to apply for a job, they would have to complete the necessary paperwork and pay the sum of money needed by the authorities to view the visa application. For this matter, you’ll have to contact the immigration office and get the information you’re interested in.

5. Financial Challenges: New Currency and High Expenses

Not only you have to adjust to spending money converted into a new currency and learn about the prices in local grocery shops, as an international student you’ll have to face very high expenses on education. In 2016 the average amount of money spent on one year in college was $20,000, and the number increases every year. And it doesn’t include additional expenses on textbooks and living in the dorm.

Solution: Apply for a scholarship. Check the scholarship programs provided by your college or university. This will provide you with money for those additional expenses and will be a great financial support in general.

And to top it all...

Remember that all difficulties are temporary. Try to have a good time, make new friends and be sure that future holds something great for you.