Common Difficulties for International Students

Feeling Homesick

You may feel homesick, as do many students, however for international students it is more difficult to deal with. Students from this country may be able to return home for a visit to help alleviate their homesickness. International students are not able to do this. This means that you may need more support than home students. You may need to talk to someone in confidence about how you are feeling. The counselling service is here to help.

Problems Integrating

You may find it difficult to integrate into another culture. Even within Europe cultures can be different. It may be difficult to get used to a new culture. You may wish to talk about this with other international students in a support group run by the counselling service. Please contact the counselling service for further information on support groups.


You may find it difficult at first to communicate with others in university. This may be due to difficulties with language or difficulties with accents. You may find it difficult to understand your lecturer or other students. You must not be embarrassed. It is important to tell someone of your difficulties, so that you can receive help.

Family Worries

It is always painful to leave family behind. You may find that you are worried about your family and this may interfere with your ability to concentrate on your work.


It is expensive to come to university and you may find that you need to talk about this.

Culture Shock

Culture shock is the physical and emotional discomfort suffered when a person moves to live in another country or place that is different from their place of origin.

There are five stages to culture shock/stress

  1. Honeymoon stage
  2. Hostility stage
  3. Adjustment
  4. Home stage
  5. Re-entry Shock or Reverse Culture Shock

Signs and Symptoms of Culture Shock

  • Sadness, loneliness
  • Preoccupation with health; aches and pains
  • Disturbed sleep pattern
  • Mood changes; depression, mood swings, anger, irritability.
  • Unwilling to interact with others, withdrawal
  • Loss of identity
  • Lack of confidence and reduced abilities
  • Feelings of paranoia

This is not meant to frighten you but to help you look after yourself in order to prevent any of these problems occurring. However if you do experience any of these difficulties please do not hesitate to come to the counselling service to talk them through in confidence with a counsellor. You will always be welcome.

The counselling service is situated at No 41 The Covert, next to the road leading to the sports hall. We are open 9 am to 5 pm weekdays. You can contact us by telephone on 4187 (internal) or (external) 01782 58 4187.