The TOP 3 International Student Challenges

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The TOP 3 International Student Challenges and how to overcome them


Here’s the deal – there are more international student challenges than the one we all know. I’m going to pretend to whisper the one we all know into your ear cause it will anyway sound like a scream –
“CORONAVIRUS. ” Damn! I said it!

Anyway, the thing is that if you are planning to become an international student, no matter the times, there will be challenges, but CHALLENGES are GOOD. It would be best to embrace them as part of your growth because there is something about them that pushes us to become GROWN-UPS. And I’m not talking about the “becoming a parent” growing up but in the sense of becoming a better version of yourself.

So let’s get into it, shall we?

International Student Challenges

When you enroll yourself into this journey, you might think that you will know what to expect and ready for it. You already know that those people speak a different language and have a different culture and so on. However, when you get there, you realize that everything seems quite unexpected.

You can check this and laugh about 23 challenges only international students will understand .

Cultural shock

Sound shocking, right?! You get all prepared for this journey, and you are all excited about studying at an international university, but suddenly you wake up in a new land.

What happens is that all that excitement fades away somehow and a weird feeling of uncertainty, confusion, or anxiety grabs on to you. It’s simply coming from not being familiar with the language, customs, and acceptable behavior.

You should know that this might happen to some of you, while others will just become more excited. It depends a lot on the type of person you are. Let’s take an example from the good old days. Don’t consider that times are different now; get the idea behind the package.

Here is my example – I came from Romania to Denmark first. Those two are parallel cultures, literally. Latin blood with Viking blood has nothing in common. I didn’t know anyone in Denmark, and I took accommodation on the campus. In 1 week, I knew the whole campus and the whole campus knew me. (Of course, I’m exaggerating here but not far from the truth).

Why? Because there was no party that I said NO to. I’m an open and positive person who loves to have fun and meet new people. I made a cool gang of French, Spanish, Norwegian, and Bulgarian people, and obviously, we had one thing in common: we were not from Denmark.

This helped us pass the cultural shock through hanging out together a hell of a lot. By talking to different people from different nationalities who were in the same situation as I was, made things a lot easier into adapting to that new culture and making a culture of our own- an international one. It’s easier when you are not alone, so try to be open and say hello to some people. You will end up with many of them for LIFE.

HEY! There are plenty of ways to make friends other than through parties. It’s easy to make friends even online right now, especially if you have something in common such as BEING AN INTERNATIONAL STUDENT!

Academic writing

This is a real international student challenge. I mean, you will probably study in English. Or maybe another language you studied at home since you were a baby and thought you manage it like a STAR. When you go to university and start working with it on an academic level, it’s becoming a different story. It just might take some time to adapt, and you might figure out that you did not know everything after all.

Again, I’ll share my example. I studied in English, and when leaving my home country, I thought I master that until the end of the earth. The English from my head was flawless, as I started studying it as a child, and there was no language contest that I was missing. I really had this “thing” for foreign languages and really loved learning.

On the other hand, when classes started, I realized that google translate became my best friend. It was not nearly as easy as I thought. There’s one thing to master on a competition level with grammar and compositions and general stuff, and another thing to face so many new words in my field of studies such as business.

This might make you feel overwhelmed as you might not be best in class at that language, but there’s nothing you should worry about. I had a Spanish friend, and her English was as bad as my danish at that time (close to 0). Even though nobody expects you to be a master of it from day 1. Teachers understand the international challenges and help you overcome them. With some practice, you will become as fluent and flawless as you should. Be patient and consistent, embrace google translate, and know that this is absolutely normal.


Oh, this is FUN! Students and Finances are like a hard hit in the wall. There’s a little monster inside you that will focus on spending money on all the bullshit instead of what you really need. That’s absolutely normal, but try to make sure you understand the foreign land’s currency at least.

Of course, this also depends on your financial situation or, better said, your parent’s situation probably. It also depends on the differences of the countries. For example, a Norwegian person coming to Denmark will think Denmark is cheap; meanwhile, a Romanian will think it is damn expensive. I assume you already know why this happens.

Anyways, if you are coming from a euro country and going to another one also with euro, things will be easier. Not GREAT because the monster will still be there, but easier.

But let’s get back to some examples, shall we? I came from a country with one currency (RON) to another with a different currency (DKK). When I saw the coins from Denmark, I thought I could make necklaces out of them. What was difficult to understand was that one of their coins is equivalent to 3 euros. DAMN! In my country, you were leaving the change to the shopworker when you were buying something as it valued almost nothing. Take that!

I heard the funniest story from 2 guys who came with a certain amount of money and didn’t know what they were getting themselves into. They booked the first 2 nights at a hotel (HOTELS ARE ULTRA EXPENSIVE IN DENMARK), where they found a playing machine and inserted all the coins they got from shopping on their arrival. As they had so many coins and thought they valued nothing and didn’t give a damn about informing themselves, they put all the coins in that machine. In one week, they were on 0 and found out that those coins were 3 euros, so that’s when they had that strike: how much food they could have bought from all those coins thrown into the garbage basically. But it was a great lesson, though, for them, right?!

The lessons and conclusions

Be ready to embrace international student challenges and to get into uncertain situations. Get yourself informed and empower yourself to think that it is normal to have these challenges, and it’s nothing wrong with them.

Stay open-minded, inform yourself, and remember that you will overcome everything with practice. The real preparation and adapting starts when you get there, so all you need to do from home is to get ready to embrace new international student challenges.

P.S. There’s more to this topic here…click on Erasmus Students challenges.

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