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5 Common Problems That International Student Face in Canada

5 Common Problems That International Student Face in Canada

Canada is widely known for its exemplary educational system, but it’s not a walk in the park for all. If you’re interested in pursuing studies in Canada, know that there are unique challenges that come with being a foreign student. 

Some of the common problems that international students may face are language barriers, financial struggles, housing cost, and inadequate communications support. 

These certain problems can be daunting and can make it difficult to adjust to life in a new country. 

Read on as we’ll talk more about how these issues affect foreign students and some tips as well to overcome them. No matter what kind of situation you’re going through, by learning how to better navigate these areas.

What’s the reality of international students in Canada?

What’s the reality of international students in Canada

One of the realities of being an international student in Canada is that you’ll be dealing with a lot of paperwork and bureaucracy. You’ll need to navigate the paperwork for your visa and study permits, as well as things like your health insurance

And let’s not forget those dreaded language proficiency tests, which you might need to pass in order to be accepted by certain universities or even get a job.

And that’s not all—in addition to the paperwork, international students also have to contend with practical things like:

  • Finding a place to live — this can be challenging if you’re new to Canada and don’t know anyone.
  • Getting used to weather and climate — winters in Canada can be very cold!
  • Adapting to cultural differences — this one may take some getting used to!
  • Working while studying — not all international students are allowed to work while they’re studying in Canada, so it’s important to find out what the regulations are before you commit yourself.

So if you’re considering coming as an international student in Canada, it’s important for you to be aware of these common problems that you might face during your stay. The good news is that these problems can be managed if you are prepared!

What are the common problems faced by international students in Canada?

Being an international student in Canada can be a challenging yet rewarding experience. From language barriers to financial obstacles to culture shock, there are many things that pose a challenge to international students.

1. Financial Struggles

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Studying abroad can be an incredibly rewarding experience, but it can also be expensive. As an international student in Canada, you might find yourself facing a range of financial hurdles that are specific to your situation.

The cost of tuition can be high, and because international students aren’t eligible for most forms of financial aid, they often struggle to make ends meet while they’re studying. 

Fortunately, there are a variety of organizations and programs that offer help with financing your studies and managing your budget while you’re in Canada. 

Financial Aid for Students in Canada


A scholarship  is a form of financial aid awarded for academic or extracurricular accomplishment. Scholarship recipients, though, are not required to repay their awards.

Students can also search for universities that offer scholarships using the College Scholarship Search Tool.


Bursaries are financial aid awards made on the basis of financial necessity. Bursaries are similar to scholarships in that recipients are not required to pay them back. Students who meet certain criteria may be eligible for bursaries from universities and institutions.

Moreover, when a student applies for a bursary, they are typically expected to complete an assessment and may also be asked for information regarding their own or their parents’ income.


Depending on whether they qualify for scholarships or bursaries, international students may decide to apply for a private student loan from a Canadian bank instead. 

As the name implies, these loan agreements have particular interest rates and repayment plans that students must carefully abide by in order to prevent piling up unneeded debt. 

It’s important to research your options and set up a plan that will enable you to manage your finances while still having a great experience studying abroad.

2. Language Barriers

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One of the most common problems international students face in Canada is the language barrier. 

This can be especially difficult for students from non-English speaking countries, who will most likely not be familiar with English. They may also find it difficult to understand and communicate with people in their new environment.

Fortunately, many of Canada’s universities and colleges offer language classes and other programs to help international students learn English and improve their communication skills. 

Additionally, there are also several online resources available to help international students learn English such as language Learning websites, apps, YouTube channels, and more.

3. Feelings of Isolation

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If you’re an international student in Canada, then you might be feeling isolated at times. After all, you’re living in a new country with a different language and culture — and it can be hard to keep up with all the changes.

The Effects of Feelings of Isolation

This feeling of isolation isn’t just lonely, it can also make it hard to connect with other students, which can lead to problems like:

  • Feeling homesick.
  • Having trouble adjusting to the academic environment.
  • Struggling with their coursework.
  • Feeling anxious or depressed.
  • Having difficulty making friends due to cultural differences.

It’s important to remember that these problems are common among international students — so don’t be afraid to reach out for help when you need it! 

Seeking the support of counselors or mental health professionals is one way to cope with the challenges of being an international student. 

There are also many student organizations available that offer cultural and social activities that can make your transition easier.

4. Difficulties Securing Accommodations

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Finding housing or a place to rent can be a huge challenge for international students. Landlords often require a cosigner, and many landlords do not even want to accept international students as tenants. 

There are also restrictions on the length of time you can rent for, which could be very difficult for an international student who is studying in Canada for more than six months.

Finally, there are often additional hidden charges associated with renting in Canada that an international student may not be aware of upon signing their lease. 

These include extra fees such as key deposits, additional cleaning charges upon move-in/out or even injury insurance fees during your stay. So it’s important to read through your contract and ask questions before signing any legal documents!

Questions You Can Ask Your Landlord.

  1. What is the cost of the rent and the security deposit, if any?
  2. What is the lease term?
  3. Is the lease renewable?
  4. Does the rental come with furniture or not?
  5. Is the rent inclusive of utilities like electricity, water, cable, and internet? If not, what are the normal utility costs?
  6. Does the rent include parking?
  7. Does the rent include extra storage like a bike rack or a locker?
  8. Is there a washer and dryer inside the apartment, or are there public laundry facilities?

5. Cultural Adjustment Challenges

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When studying abroad, cultural adjustment can be a huge challenge for international students. Being in a foreign country, you may experience language barriers, cultural misunderstanding and even homesickness.

Adjusting to life in a different culture isn’t easy. To help with this transition, take the time to explore your surroundings and ask questions about the local culture. 

You can also join student associations or clubs in order to get to know people from all over the world who share similar experiences as you do. 

Doing this can let you create lasting relationships as well as gain valuable advice that helps with linguistic and cultural adaptation challenges.

Tips for Dealing With Culture Shock

  • Keep an open mind.
  • Ask questions.
  • Meet other international and Canadian students.
  • Stay connected with home.
  • Try something new.
  • Explore the region.

What are the disadvantages of being an international student in Canada?

What are the disadvantages of being an international student in Canada

If you’re looking to pursue higher education in Canada, you may have heard about the incredible opportunities available in Canada for international students. 

But with any opportunity, there’s also potential risks and disadvantages that come along with being an international student.

In general, the main disadvantages of being an international student in Canada are about the living conditions. These include a high cost of living and tuition fees, not very accessible healthcare, and cold weather, among others. 

Disadvantages of Studying in Canada

  • Expensive tuition fees.
  • High living expenses in Canada.
  • The healthcare system is not easily accessible.
  • Low acceptance rate of international students to Canadian medical schools.
  • Extremely cold weather.
  • Education system differences.

Another challenge is getting used to the different education system here. Every country has different traditions and expectations when it comes to studying, and it can take time for international students to adjust to the teaching style here in Canada.

Finally, many international students battle homesickness when away from home for extended periods of time. 

And with travel restrictions due to COVID-19, physically returning home may not be possible which can add an extra layer of difficulty for international students who are feeling isolated or alone while in a foreign country.

FAQs about the Common Problems International Students Face in Canada

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