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10 Common Challenges Foreign Students face while Studying in India

career vyas blogs Bhavya Dhawan
career vyas blogsFeb 08 2023
career vyas blogs 20 minute read
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Foreign Students: A college is where people from several places come to learn. It consists of several people, including people from abroad. Learning is open to all. There are no restrictions on that. It's been a common practice for students studying in a different country. Commonly, Indian students may wish to study abroad for higher studies. It can be due to their wish. Apart from this, many foreign students choose India to look for education.

They pursue it for their education. Before getting into the actual topic, think about this question. Learning can happen, but is it easy for international students to study in India? Ever thought about this? It is not easy being here. They face lots of constraints and problems, which is a burden to them. Let\'s look at the common challenges foreign students face while studying in India and ways to solve them.

Why do Foreign Students come to India to study?

India is a popular destination for foreign students. The significant factors that make India a good study destination for foreign students are the low cost of living, the English language, and the rich cultural heritage. In addition, India has a well-developed IT sector, which is one of the main reasons that bring in foreign students.

As a counterpart, Indian students also generally study in India since it offers a curriculum similar to what they encounter in their own countries, and the cost is affordable. Some students decide to study outside India due to being tired of the toxic atmosphere of study places in India and consider India the third-largest developing economy. These students may seek a nurturing, peaceful, and real-life learning space.

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Common challenges foreign students face while studying in India

India has the world's second-largest number of international students, exceeded only by the US. According to UNESCO, this number is expected to increase to 7.5 million by 2020. That's increasing pressure on local universities, academic institutions, and the government to find new ways of tackling a foreigner's most significant concerns: language barriers, cultural incompatibility, and the lack of understanding between international and Indian students.

Every year, the number of international students studying in India increases. Several challenges have arisen in the foreign student community with the growth in demand. First, a lot of international students struggle with cultural shock in India. Like most students, you may have experienced the challenge of being put in a class of people that speak a language you don't know to help you learn.

You may have also experienced cultural shock and have been the only foreigner in a classroom. The foreign students set off to India to study, the world\'s largest English-speaking country; as they step off the plane and into the crowds, they make many predictions about how they will be able to balance the mountains of work they will have to do with going to school. Below are the most common challenges faced by foreign students in India.

1. Language barrier

One of the most common issues foreign students may face in India is the language barrier. Unfortunately, language problems are found at every turn of the road and in every interaction with a native person. One of the common problems that foreign students may need help with is language. They travel from their place to another place. So, they may have some restrictions in the language they speak. Generally, they speak English, but here some may talk to Tamil. So, there may be a clash in understanding things with other people. Though staffs tend to speak and teach, their slang differs from that of foreign students.

Also, the pace varies. Foreigners tend to speak fast; not all peers and professionals can understand them. So, this is the most significant disadvantage they face while studying in India. Without a language barrier, many foreign students will find India fascinating and vibrant, with so much to offer. However, if you are a foreign student and face a language barrier, make sure you find some alternate solution that may help you overcome any communication barriers. Also, as Indians, it may be our duty to look into this problem and find a way to help our friends!

2. Lack of understanding of a concept

Another major problem foreign students need help understanding a concept. Before, they could have experienced a different way of learning in their place. The idea, teaching method, and procedures differ while studying abroad and here. Of course, only some concepts will be like this; some exemptions exist. But still, there are concepts that they may need help understanding. Also, they shy away from asking about their doubts, even to professionals.

It is all due to the differences they face and are treated. Also, they face fear, self-doubt, insecurity, and cultural differences. This lack of understanding may affect their studies as well as their future. When they don't understand a concept, they cannot read correctly, reflecting their grades. This severe problem must be treated to make their future great. The main reason why foreign students come to India is to learn and achieve. But that itself is a question mark due to these difficulties.

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3. Hard making friends

Generally, students who come from foreign tend to have different types of attitudes and behaviour when compared to students in India. Some foreign students may seem soft, and some may show attitude. It is right, but it doesn't fit with the mentality of the students in India.

As a result, finding a good friend who can share beautiful moments and memories is challenging. But some Indian students may be free to talk with everyone, but this doesn't apply in all cases. A good friend is required not only for happiness but may also to be your helper in times of need. They make help you by giving notes, explaining the concepts, etc.

4. Non-suitable environment

Sometimes foreign students, when they come and study In India, get little accompanied by the environment. It is because they were in a place that used to be different and not an Indian-based system. Foreign students are used to their environment, ambience, and surroundings. Everyone will not like this new college environment.

It may affect them mentally, which affects their studies and performance. The environment has a significant impact on our feelings. If we do not like the environment, our interest in studies also gets impacted. We get stressed and tensed and may feel like leaving the place. So, this is the common faced by some foreign students when they come to India to study.

5. High expenses

When foreign students study in India, their expenses may be a little higher than for Indian students. It applies to campus and college situations and outside of studying. From the hostel fee to the vacation fee spot, the rate differs for foreign students. On your college campus, you could have learned that the rates are different for international students. It, of course, creates differences between Indian and foreign students.

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6. Cultural adaptation difficulties

When foreign students enter India, they may seem excited, but they may feel uncomfortable with the things around them as time passes. Everything may appear different for them. The place, the clothes, the food, and everything. They may be used to international dishes and expect the same in India. But in India, only some places of study will satisfy their requirements. So, this is a big minus. No other way, foreign students have to adapt to everything to fulfil their aims and desires.

7. Improper study material facilities

Regarding studying materials, only some campuses are well accessed to give those things to students. Study materials are essential for foreign students to learn and get good results. If there are inappropriate study materials and other facilities, this may affect the students learning process. Only some institutes are applicable for this. But some institutes may need better facilities to provide resources. It is going to affect foreign students.

8. Self-Image gets questioned

Another major problem for foreign students studying in India is their image getting spoiled. Generally, foreign students tend to have a different mindset regarding their way of living and dressing. Girls tend to wear short skirts and tight dresses, and boys will be informal. Also, they often tend to relax by going out regularly, hanging out late at night with friends, attending parties, etc. But the hostel timings will not be fit to their routine.

So, when they apply the same way in India, everyone frames us differently. Our self-image gets spoiled. Off-course, we shouldn't judge a book by its cover. What other says shouldn't matter to us. Unfortunately, some foreign students do not take this seriously, while there are chances that some may get affected mentally. This way of living may emotionally disturb us. Some may get abused due to this way of living.

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9. Racial and Ethnic differences

One of the common problems that foreign students may face in India is racial and ethnic differences. Therefore, knowing if they encounter difficulties while studying in India is essential. Foreign students are often labelled as outside persons and will be given fewer preferences. It creates a racial and ethnic difference between them.

10. Stereotyping

One of the common problems that foreign students may face in India is stereotyping. Often foreign students are misunderstood in the minds of Indian students. Students from various backgrounds encounter constrictions in their daily lives even though India is known to be tolerant. Furthermore, foreign students may also feel homesick and lost, especially if they are not physically in their home countries. Their needs are unique and served in a way that accommodates their worldviews and respects their cultural expectations.

Lastly, cultures have different requirements. The British Council had an insight handy. Their study showed that students worried about this stereotype would often discourage others from visiting India. They would also struggle to find their own "authentic" identity within their community in India throughout the length of their stay.

Foreign students in India experience this every day. Foreign students can be identified by their mouths, eyes, skin, and facial features. Even more in number, if not the majority, are the Indians who generally perceive foreign students as "different" They tend to frame foreign students as rude and question our character sometimes. It emotionally disturbs them from studying and distracts them often.


These challenges continue to prevail in the country. Though foreign students get access to study and enjoy the benefits of studying here, they face these challenges. But the good part is there is a way to minimize these problems. It's time to search for a solution. Over the past decade, the Indian education sector has experienced an influx of international students.

Moreover, India's borders have exponentially increased international students, so how do we help this influx of international students face the challenges they often face while studying in India?

The most commonly-relevant solution to the challenges the students face about foreign students studying in India is to start speaking about their difficulties; they could talk with other members about these difficulties, which helps them navigate the confusing foreign student life. Also, they could seek family support.

We, as Indians, must treat everyone equally and look upon their perspectives, have an empathetic mind, and be open to treating them with love and care!

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