International Student Community in the U.S

International Student Community in the U.S

International students face many challenges, especially during their first days of relocation to the United States. There are several things, including language, culture, lifestyle, dressing, education, friendships, and many more, that will be impacted most for international students. International students’ life in the United States is bound to be cross-cultural as they are likely to experience a culture shock at first (Verbik & Lasanowsk, 2007). Depending on the location of the college or university, the atmospheres may also vary. Students will immerse themselves in a completely new place, seek comfort from people and places similar to them and their home countries, and learn from the differences. They are likely to experience a culture gap at the beginning, but this can be easily bridged. Based on data from the interviews and secondary research, I will discuss the things that have been impacted the most, the difficulties faced by international students, and how these problems can be solved.

Several aspects have been impacted the most by international students in the United States. The first one is adapting to the culture and social niceties. From the interviews, most students report that the American culture is extremely different from theirs. Some student’s cultures tend to be louder, more straightforward, while Americans are bred to be politer and soft-spoken (Abe, Talbot & Geelhoed, 1998). It is quite difficult to get used to the normal greetings like “How are you” that people say because most do not bother waiting for a response. As students get used to the American culture, they tend to get too involved to forget about their culture. Also, the jokes individuals tell might not be understood by the people they are talking to, and they barely get the references they make.

Another thing that can be impacted is students’ financial capabilities. The cost of living is in the United States is quite high. According to research, an average student’s rent will be around $500, groceries of $150, Utilities of $50, transportation of $80, and $50 for miscellaneous (Choudaha & Chang, 2012). So with a modest lifestyle, they will need around $800 to get going. Depending on where they are from and the size of their pocket, it is reasonably high. Students are allowed to work part-time up to a maximum of 20hrs per week, and they may be able to offset this cost with the little they can make.

International students also face many difficulties as they adjust to life in the United States. Besides financial challenges, there are other problems they are facing, such as language barrier, understanding trends, feeling hard to blend in a new environment. From the interview, students report that being an international student means they have to pay three times more than a normal student (King, Findlay & Ahrens, 2010). They must buy health insurance, and public transport is a waste of time to buy cars and pay for insurance.

The main issues and differences about living in the United States are the distances involved for travel, the lack of public transportation (except in some larger cities), and the overabundance of food portions. There is also the inability of 90% of the population to speak anything more than basic English, and the excellent restaurant service as well as service in stores and the over-politeness of people one does not know (Abe, Talbot & Geelhoed, 1998). In school, no one cares if they attend class or lab until they get their final grade. High school students will find the classes absurdly easy, except American history. There will be many distractions and extra-curricular events in which to participate or enjoy. Most students also miss their family and friends back home. Another challenge is the official procedures. There is so much fine-print in everything that has to do with immigration that a simple thing like changing a major can affect. Everything calls for more and more paperwork, and it is extra difficult when employers do not know much about the differences in their tax cuts. Everything just becomes a plain difficulty.

To avoid these challenges, International students immerse themselves when they arrive in the country. However, they should visit the USA at least 16 months before starting college and visit a few colleges on their lists to see if they are a great fit for them. The USA is immense with widely different cultures and climates. They need to find what is best for them before they apply to United States colleges, and then when they do enroll in a college that accepts them, they will know what it will be like when they arrive (Turner & Raymond, 2007). Of course, the customs and practices will be different, but as long as one asks politely and learns, there should be no major issues. Most Universities in the USA would have an International student association which can help. If not, they will have an International office or student union, which is also essential.  Students need to go with an open attitude and be ready to accept things as being different from what they are used in their home countries.

In conclusion, international students may not face problems while traveling to foreign countries. However, they feel uncomfortable about food, accommodation with other foreign students, language and accent problems, finding it hard to understand and follow the local culture, customs and dos, and don’ts. To adjust to these challenges students, need to learn and immerse themselves.









Abe, J., Talbot, D., & Geelhoed, R. (1998). Effects of a Peer Program on International Student Adjustment. Journal of College Student Development 1(1). Retrieved from

Choudaha, R., & Chang, L. (2012). Trends in International Student Mobility World Education News & Reviews. World Education News & Reviews, 25(2). Retrieved from

King, R., Findlay, A., & Ahrens, J. (2010). International student mobility literature review. HEFCE.

Turner, R., & Raymond, A. (2007). The Programme for International Student Assessment: An Overview. JOURNAL OF APPLIED MEASUREMENT, 8(3), 237- 248. Retrieved from

Verbik, L., & Lasanowsk, V. (2007). International Student Mobility: Patterns and Trends. London; United Kingdom.


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