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5 Challenges of International Students in Canada

challenges for international students in canada

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For many international students, studying abroad is their first time living away from home. On top of managing university workload in another country, they have to learn to manage other aspects of life. Students who can cope with these challenges are more successful toward their path to the future. In this article, we discuss five challenges of international students in Canada. Keep reading to learn more.


1.Challenges of International Students in Canada: Taking Control of Finances

Money can disappear quickly with food, rent, and other living costs. Moreover, most of the planning is done before going to Canada, so many times, international students look for help when they are already coping with challenges.

If an international student is having difficulties managing finances, it’s better to talk to a counselor about finances early on budget. Financial counseling is offered to students at many post-secondary institutions in Canada.

When setting up a bank account, students can also seek financial advice from their financial institution. There’re also online tools available on the Internet that can help students with budgeting.

Another aspect of financial problems for international students in Canada is the difference between currencies. Before packing your bags and jumping on an airplane, you should make sure that you are familiar with the exchange rate.

You can use a currency converter, such as the one Google offers in the results. Write down the intended amount, choose your local currency from the dropdown menu, and select Canada’s currency.

There are also other monetary differences to have in mind. For example, while some countries include taxes in an item’s price, international students should be aware that taxes are not included in Canada. It means taxes must be calculated in addition to the price tag on the product.

challenges for international students in canada

2.Working in Canada as an International Student

According to the Canadian Bureau of International Education’s study, 51% of international students plan to apply for permanent residence in Canada after graduation. Research suggests many international students who want to stay in this country feel the labor market is challenging to access. Researchers note that many students interviewed expressed fear of not finding jobs in their field of study.

Finding a job for international students can be complicated even though Canada is famous for being rich in jobs. It’s a factor that has made it receive lots of immigrants every year. However, students can still find jobs though they are low paying. Securing a job is essential since it will help international students to pay for accommodation, transportation, Internet, food, and other basics. The course that a student seeks determines a lot whether acquiring a job will be easy or hard.

Most companies and individual employees are sometimes doubtful about hiring international students due to local laws. A good strategy that can help you reduce employment problems is getting familiarized with the Canadian labor market before searching for a job.

Generally, students have a very bleak outlook on their job prospects post-graduation. They describe their situation as being evil because of the state of the Canadian economy. They recognize that the job market is challenging for Canadian students too.

Still, They believe that it is one of the most demanding challenges of international students in this country. To help increase views, students may want to investigate getting a co-op situation through school to build up their Canadian work experience.

Additionally, networking through family connections, social contacts from events and clubs, and previous coworkers may help your job search.


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Generally, international students face more obstacles than domestic students when receiving a degree in Canada. Take the first move, and take advantage of arrangements to help set you up to achieve your goals.

Moreover, attending in the community, volunteering, and networking make yourself an essential part of the community, and you’ll be bound to succeed.

According to the Canadian government website, international students in Canada with student visas could get a part-time job while studying in this country.

If you study full-time in a qualifying university or institution in Canada, you could work on-campus without a work permit, but that’s not all.

Additionally, suppose you have professional or vocational education. You could also work part-time outside of the campus while studying and full-time in breaks, up to 20 hours per week.


3.Challenges of International Students in Canada: Culture Shock

Coping up with a different culture can be very hard, especially when you are new to the environment. It is primarily determined by where you come from. This difference in culture can be followed by other side effects that can, somehow, affect your performance.

The best thing that an international student can do to help adjust to the environment is socializing with the local people as much as possible and always being open to asking questions. It can help when you have someone you know in the institution such that you spend time reading together and talking about different subjects.

The good thing is that Canada is varied in culture and religion such that a student can find a culture that corresponds to their interests.

You probably aren’t conscious about the unwritten rules at home, those day-to-day things you do which may be unfamiliar to foreigners. One example is a simple handshake.

A firm handshake is standard practice in one country, but it may be considered offensive in another country. As with everything else, observe the local people and engage in their culture. You will ultimately adjust and can even teach your new friends about your culture.

One of the most common challenges of international students is the language barrier. You may have spent the last four years studying the language, but it seems thoroughly foreign once you arrive in the country.

Locals are using unfamiliar slang, and they may use several words to express the same thing. Sometimes this makes you feel like a stranger, but take it as a learning opportunity. Most local people appreciate you trying to communicate with them in their native language.

While it may seem like a significant obstacle to overcome, the more you practice, the more comfortable you will become. In addition to becoming familiar with the country’s language and currency, you will also have to adjust to the local culture.

challenges for international students in canada


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4.Homesickness for People who Study Abroad

Leaving your family can come along with a negative impact on international students studying in Canada. So, the feeling of socially disoriented can be experienced since there is no close support system.

It’s natural to feel homesick when everything around is so strange. You will miss the things you find satisfaction and support in, such as your annoying yet lovable brother!

The homesickness is a natural feeling and even expected when moving miles away from your home, regardless of whether it’s your first experience in living independently.

A Higher Education Research Institute of UCLA survey shows that homesickness can influence 71% of students at one time or another.

The essential thing is not to let it stand in the means of making your time abroad a great experience.

Your loved ones, family, and friends will be there when you get back, and you can also connect with them virtually through the Internet.

By getting out and exploring your new campus and home, you will quickly move past homesickness.

Students who feel homesick can do the following to face the challenges of international students in Canada:

  • Attending local parties and other social events;
  • Accompanying with support groups and other students;
  • Join physical classes such as gyms and fitness groups;
  • Engaging in the events can also help them create additional opportunities in life.


This item of the challenges of international students has another side. After overcoming the homesickness and other challenges of international students in Canada, you will realize how much you love your new home.

When your studies are complete and time to leave, you will miss the local people, the food, and many everyday things, like a cafe down the street.

You will miss the freedom, the adventures, even the challenges in that country, and leaving will be its challenge. But you will be thrilled to come home and share the experiences you had studying in Canada.

challenges for international students in canada

5.Challenges of International Students in Canada: Staying Active

The international students are exposed to new environments, so they may find it challenging to stay active all through. Some of them are usually used to doing different activities that keep them fit and happy.

Still, when they travel to Canada for studies, they manage to spend most of the time in classes, completing tasks, or even studying for exams. Also, students may have to eat different foods that they are not used to. Such things make them miserable and inactive since there is limited freedom.

The best way for students to recover satisfaction and to stay active is through engaging in different activities they used to do, such as going to the gym or availing themselves in the recreational zones.

Most students work hard to get the best out of the energy invested. However, progress may not be permanently guaranteed even after working hard. Some students find it difficult to tackle some academic stuff such as mathematical exercises and essays.

Sometimes, this problem is caused by the language barrier. Students may have the concept towards a specific question but putting it better in English for the lecturers to understand them becomes challenging.

Therefore, English is essential, and every student is supposed to have a good awareness of the language if they want to be on the safe side.

International students should first recognize the area they are weak in and seek help from the proper people. For example, when they are stuck with tasks, it is better to ask the professors and instructors to offer them other tutorials.

If the professors or instructors are busy, they can’t help students; they may refer them to different resources to find helpful information. It means students shouldn’t shy away from the people who can help them face the challenges of international students in Canada.

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