As an international student seeking career opportunities in the USA, there are several issues that can impact your experience, including academic challenges and cultural differences. However, it is possible to mitigate the impact of these problems by being mentally prepared for the obstacles that you may face when starting your new life in the USA.
International students, many of whom are Indian, face a range of challenges when they move to the USA on F1, CPT, OPT, or H1B visas. In this context, it is important to understand the difficulties that you may encounter in order to navigate them effectively.
Let’s look at a few of those problems:
1. Cultural shift
One of the main challenges that international students face when studying in the USA is the cultural shift. Moving to a new country that is known for its diverse culture can be overwhelming and leave students feeling out of place. The lifestyle, food, dress, and attitudes of Americans may differ significantly from what they are accustomed to. Additionally, behavioral norms, such as the way they shake hands or interact with others, may also vary.
2. Language barrier
Another significant challenge that international students encounter is the language barrier. Those whose first language is not English may struggle to converse with American students and faculty members. However, there are several exams that international students can take to qualify to attend universities in the USA. It is therefore recommended that students prepare well in advance to become fluent in English before arriving on campus.
It’s natural to feel homesick when you leave your home country to study in the USA, even if you were excited to come here. You’ll miss home-cooked food, your siblings, friends, and your home country, but it’s important to adjust to your new environment and create new habits. While it may be difficult to fight homesickness, your priority should be to focus on your studies and build your future. Initially, you may feel lonely due to the new people and surroundings, but it’s essential to keep pushing through.
4. Accommodation problems
Finding suitable accommodation can also be a challenge for international students, especially if they want to live near their university. Budget-related problems can also arise, but there are websites that can help students find suitable housing that meets their basic requirements.
5. Social Abuse
International students may also face social abuse due to differences in race and culture. While this is not a common occurrence, it’s important to be mentally prepared and not take it too seriously. In Australia, this is a common problem faced by international students.
6. Learning Style
The learning style in the USA may differ from what international students are accustomed to. While students in India may be used to lecture-based classes, in the USA, they may need to attend practical workshops and seminars and learn various international learning techniques.
7. Academic expectations
When you were studying in your home country, you might have secured excellent marks or grades. However, after moving to a different country, your academic performance could experience some fluctuations. This could be because of the new study environment and different methods of evaluation.
8. Financial Problems
Another challenge that you might face as an international student in the U.S. is financial problems. The cost of living is high, and even small expenses can quickly add up. To avoid financial difficulties, it is important to invest your money wisely and be mindful of your spending habits. Consider taking up a part-time job to earn some extra income, which can be used to cover your expenses without running out of money.
9. prejudice or discrimination
As an international student, you may also experience prejudice or discrimination because you belong to a different country. You may feel excluded or ignored by local students and encounter biased behavior from some people. While social discrimination is not acceptable in foreign universities, some instances of neglect or ignorance toward international students can still occur. It is important to be aware of this issue and not let it discourage you from pursuing your studies and goals.
10. Adapting to time zones
The difference in US timings might turn out to be a little problematic for you. It usually happens that adjusting to the new time zones becomes a little challenging for outsiders. Also, there might be a shift in the working hours. There might be cases when you have to wake up in the middle of the night to make a call to your bank or call your family members at odd hours. But to keep you updated, there are various apps that can help you learn the time differences. These time-keeping apps come in handy.
We have discussed the major problems that you might have to face when you stay in the USA. But being aware of all of it will help you a great deal. Do know how you will make yourself comfortable with the new setting and adjust accordingly. Moving to a new place always makes room for a lot of discomfort. But, you do not have to worry because with time you get used to the new environment. It’s just a matter of time and then you will start enjoying your time in the USA. But, do keep the above points in mind, so that you have at least some idea about all that could happen to you. Just go well-prepared and make the most of the excellent education that you will receive in a foreign university.