Challenges That Every International Student Faces in College

Being a student is a challenge, but being an international student is an even bigger one. International students from around the world face similar struggles, (at least the majority does) regardless of which country they’re from. The struggle to adapt is real, and to prove it, here’s a list of 11 problems only international students will understand: 

  1. 1. Communicating with a hybrid accent

    It's a dreadful feeling when a server says “what?” for the 100th time because they don’t understand your accent.

    We also say things differently, I say "marks" instead of "grades," and "shoe bite" instead of "blister." 

  2. 2. Meeting new people and telling them you’re foreign before telling them your name

    Let’s be honest, it’s pretty cool to travel 1000 miles away just for college. You’ve got to boast about it. Plus, it's a great ice-breaker. 

  3. 3. Currency differences 

    Calculating how much that Shake Shack burger costs and converting it to your currency is a nightmare.

    (1 shake shack burger = 2 McDonalds burgers + fries + soda + dessert)!

  4. 4. Time difference 

    Sometimes, you have to go days without talking to your family because they’re never awake when you are. Good luck with emergencies... 

  5. 5. Responding to a different name because after the wrong pronunciation for the 10th time, it’s just rude to correct them

    Spelling your name for Starbucks is already a nightmare, but it's even worse introducing yourself to someone new. Imagine the first week of college for me. I heard my name being butchered every day, people called me “raay” or “rey-ah.” It's Rhea. Like "ree-ah". It's 2 syllables, you wouldn't think it's that difficult. 

    I now consider my name's pronunciation as rocket-science. 

  6. 6. Weird questions 

    Over your college life, you will be asked super weird questions about the country you're from. At least I was. I think my weirdest ones were "are there chocolate chip cookies in India?" AND "do you have traffic lights in India?" 

    Like... Yes... 

  7. 7. Submitting your English essays and getting marked down for using British English

    I am still struggling to understand why it's "color" instead of "colour," or "favorite" instead of "favourite" or why this difference even exists.

    Even Grammarly corrects me all the time. It's currently underlining my "mistakes" written in the last line.  ​

  8. 8. Getting excited when you meet someone from the same city as you 

    It feels like a small world until you realize that you're in college and you can't be the only person going there from your entire city. 

  9. 9. Willing to spend a million dollars just to have a meal cooked by your mum

    No one. I repeat, no one can cook anything similar to a meal cooked by your mum. Period. 


  10. 10. Never knowing which ID to take when you’re going out 

    What should I have on me? Maybe a driver’s license, a citizen card, a passport? I should just take my birth certificate, just in case. 

  11. 11. Not wanting to leave 

    Apart from the dreading 24-hour travel, leaving home is a challenge on its own. From your family to your friends, even your dog. You will realize how much you truly love home. When it’s time to leave, you’ll miss the small things, the everyday adventures with your high school friends, the smell of your home, the comfort of your bed and living life like a king because your parents give you the freedom to.