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The Problems Faced by International Students in the UK

By zh024071 Jan 21, 2014 838 Words
Language is not the only problem faced by international students in UK. Nowadays with the growth of global economy, rising people are aware of the importance of education as well.  As stated by Coughlan, there are a significant increasing number of students who are studying abroad in countries like UK where people think that they can receive high-quality education. Meanwhile, their study career in UK, although language probably will be a principal problem for international students to face, there are still lots of other different difficulties which they would have a hard time overcoming. They can be divided into four main aspects including emotional problems, cultural differences, social problems and study methods. In following paragraphs, they are going to be explained.

Firstly, when it comes to emotional problems for international students, homesickness defined as the feeling that you get when you are far away from your hometown and miss it a lot or feel upset because you desire to be there is the hardest problem international student combating. A study shows that seventy per cent of international students experience homesickness in there early days at university in UK. Due to unskilled language which is different from theirs, they will feel considerably isolated. Therefore, by improvement of language skill, international student should adjust themselves to the new environment and release the emotion of homesickness.

Many authors (e.g. Bosselman, Fernsten, Manning, & Kisseleff, 1989; Burn, 1980; Canfield, Low, & Hovestadt, 2009; Jackson, 2004) suggest that ‘various forms of cultural interaction occur when students study overseas’. A culture can be known as the way of life, especially the customs and beliefs, of a group of people at a specific time. In terms of food and traditions, for example, celebrating Halloween or Christmas are such big events for British. International students should spend time on finding what kind of British cuisines they would like. Also, sport plays an important role in British life. Nevertheless some students are confused about culture shock which happens when people interact with others in different countries and experiences are not similar with their own cultures. To avoid this problem, in some topics, they should not assume or expect others to respond the same way. International students should accept a variety of cultures and make themselves enjoy them. As a result, they would have a joyful experience in UK.

The issue of how to make friends with whose people who using different languages becomes a challenging task for international students. In particular, many international will live in a student village and share kitchens with flat mates. They should be open-minded and esteem different thoughts from others. However, some international students would witness or suffer from race discrimination considered as an unfair treatment because of their races. For instance, students are labeled because of their colors of skin. (BBC NEWS,2009) Suffering from race discrimination would lead to terrible memories for whose people who have experienced it. Even though most of international students can get along with others, there is still a fluctuating number of students having a cruel time on studying in UK.

The style of learning and teaching lectures in the UK is different from the ones in other countries. In the UK, there are different types of lesson. Not only lecture also seminar is the same important and helpful for students. The former focus on teaching students the main points from textbooks and there would be a bigger amount of student in a class. The latter put an emphasis on sharing ideas and discussing with each other. Besides, the expectations of teachers for students in UK are that encouraging students to explain how they have learnt from lessons and making students have a criticizing thinking. For instance, teachers prefer to ask students questions like ‘what’s your opinion on this statement?’ but not ‘what’s correct?’ To help international students solve any problems, there is an existing personal tutor whose relationship is much closer to you and assist student in everything. By following teacher’s instruction, the much thoughts given from students, the much higher quality education they will receive.

From culture difference to study methods, there are still lots of difficulties other than language for international students have experienced. Although improve language is much more important, adjusting themselves into the new environment also becomes a big task for international students.


Coughlan,S. 2012.Overseas students 'to increase in UK universities' Retrieved from

A field guide to sources on, about and on the Internet: Homesickness. (2013, Sep 19). Retrieved from

Bosselman, R. H., Fernsten, J. A., Manning, P. B., & Kisseleff, M. (1989). The international study abroad experience and its effects on hospitality students. Journal of Hospitality and Tourism Research

Culture shock. (n.d.). In Cambridge Dictionaries Online. Retrieved from A field guide to sources on, about and on the Internet: Student in discrimination claim (2009, Oct, 23). Retrieved from

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