5 Disadvantages of Studying Abroad in the U.S. & How to Tackle Them

5 Disadvantages of Studying Abroad in the U.S. & How to Tackle Them

While there are many advantages to studying abroad in the U.S., you might also experience some difficulties. These disadvantages are nothing that you can’t tackle, however, and it will benefit you to be aware of them.

Disadvantage 1: Language and Cultural Barriers

Living and studying outside of your home country will give you a great chance to immerse yourself in a different language and culture. However, it might feel daunting at first. English is the most commonly used language around the world, but the dialect changes from region to region. If American English is not your native language, then you might face some difficulty communicating in the U.S.

As you will be interacting with a different culture, you might get a cultural shock too. You’ll need time to adjust to the food, fashion, transportation, holidays, and religions you’ll encounter in the U.S.


Here are a few ideas to make the transition as smooth as possible:

  • Use online language applications and training courses to get used to the language
  • Join a forum to get help and advice from fellow students
  • Subscribe to blogs or YouTube channels that offer insights on life at a university as an international student
  • Try to socialize and meet as many new people as possible to help you settle in on campus

Disadvantage 2: Intense Homesickness

Being so far away from home, you are very likely to experience homesickness. However, you can easily overcome this and feel at home in your new surroundings.


Most universities will assign a mentor or advisor to every new student. Talking to your mentor and asking for advice can help make you feel comfortable in this new place.

Do not let distance affect your relationship with your friends and family. Talk to your loved ones as often as possible to keep feelings of loneliness at bay.

You can even join a volunteer program. This can help you socialize and gives you places to go and things to do.

Disadvantage 3: Higher Risks

A new country means new health risks, and a medical emergency can be tough to manage. Being in a new location with different weather, allergens and foods can have adverse effects on your health. Medical care is expensive in the U.S. A health insurance plan can act as a safety net for your finances.


Domestic health insurance plans don’t offer sufficient coverage outside your home country. Be sure to buy international student health insurance prior to arriving in the U.S.

If your college offers a health insurance plan, review the coverage and see if it is the right choice for you. If you would like to waive this coverage and purchase a plan of your own, make sure that you understand the health insurance requirements of your college and visa. Any plan you purchase must meet all of these requirements. If you aren’t sure of the requirements, contact the International Students and Scholars Office (ISSO) at your school for further information.

Disadvantage 4: High Cost-of-Living

According to the International Institute of Education, the average cost-of-living when studying abroad in the U.S. can be nearly $18,000 per semester. Be proactive to keep these costs in check.


In order to make living in the U.S more affordable, there are a few things that you can do.

Many colleges offer scholarships for international students. Do your research and apply for these scholarships to lower the cost of tuition, living and other fees.

Join community groups and read blogs to understand your destination and the cost-of-living there. If you choose a college in a location with a very high cost-of-living, consider getting a part-time job on-campus.

Perhaps most importantly, you need to create a workable budget and stick to it. Keep track of your expenses so you can pinpoint places where you can save. It’s a lot easier to concentrate on your academic goals when money is less of a concern.

Disadvantage 5: University Credits

International students may find that their university credits are non-transferrable in their home country. This can make furthering your education in your home country difficult.


Verify with your university that your program and courses are accredited. Further, you can check with any universities in your home country that you might like to attend, and make sure that they accept your university’s credits.

Keep a record of your classes, assignments, and coursework to provide authentication if needed.

Although there are disadvantages, you should not let these dissuade you from studying in the U.S. The advantages of studying in the U.S. far outnumber the disadvantages.

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