Challenges UAE students to face when studying abroad

Published: Fri 19 May 2023, 11:13 AM

Last updated: Fri 19 May 2023, 11:15 AM

Studying abroad offers UAE students a unique opportunity to broaden their horizons, gain international exposure, and acquire valuable skills. However, this endeavour also presents various challenges that students from the UAE may encounter.

By Kiara M

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Understanding these challenges is crucial in preparing students for potential difficulties and equipping them with the necessary tools to overcome them.

In this response, we will explore some common challenges UAE students face when studying abroad.

What challenges do students from UAE face when studying abroad?

Studying abroad can be an exciting and rewarding experience for UAE students, but it also comes with challenges.

Here are some of the common challenges UAE students may face when studying abroad:

Cultural adjustment

Moving to a different country with a different culture can be overwhelming. UAE students may experience culture shock adapting to new customs, traditions, and social norms.

Language barriers can also pose a challenge, especially if the language spoken in the host country differs from their native language.


Being away from family and friends can be emotionally challenging. UAE students may experience homesickness and isolation, particularly during holidays or special occasions. Adapting to a new environment and making new friends can alleviate homesickness.

Financial concerns

Studying abroad can be expensive, including tuition fees, accommodation, living expenses, and travel costs. UAE students may need help with financial challenges, especially if they are self-funded or have limited financial resources.

They may need to manage their finances carefully and explore scholarships or part-time job opportunities to support themselves.

Social integration

Building a social network and making friends in a new country can be difficult. UAE students may encounter cultural barriers or need help to connect with local students.

Overcoming language and cultural barriers, actively participating in student organizations or clubs, and engaging in social activities can help foster social integration.

Mental health

Studying abroad can place additional stress on UAE students. They may experience feelings of loneliness, anxiety, or depression due to the challenges mentioned above.

Coping with academic pressure, cultural differences, and the absence of familiar support systems can impact their mental well-being. It's important for students to be aware of mental health resources available in their host country and seek support when needed.

Career prospects

UAE students may have concerns about their career prospects upon returning to the UAE after studying abroad. They may face challenges translating their international education and experiences into job opportunities in their home country.

Building a strong professional network, gaining relevant work experience during their studies, and leveraging the skills acquired abroad can help enhance their career prospects.

Academic differences are the major challenge UAE students face

The education system and teaching methods may vary between the UAE and the host country. The UAE students may need time to adjust to new academic expectations, coursework formats, and assessment methods. They might also need help understanding lectures or participating in class discussions due to language or cultural differences.

These differences manifest in various aspects, including curriculum structure, teaching methods, assessment techniques, and classroom dynamics. Here are some specific academic differences that UAE students may face:

Teaching and learning styles: The teaching and learning styles in the host country may differ from what UAE students are accustomed to. Some countries prioritise student-centred and interactive learning approaches, while others may rely more on lectures and independent study. The UAE students may need to adapt to different classroom dynamics and actively engage in discussions and group work.

Curriculum structure and content: The curriculum structure and content can vary significantly between the UAE and the host country. UAE students may encounter different academic requirements, core subjects, and elective options. They may need to navigate unfamiliar subjects or adjust to a new focus within their field.

Assessment methods: Assessment methods can differ greatly between countries. UAE students may be accustomed to a particular grading system, such as continuous assessment or heavy reliance on exams. In their host country, they may encounter various assignments, presentations, projects, and exams. Adjusting to new assessment formats and expectations can be challenging.

Academic writing and research: UAE students may face differences in academic writing styles, citation formats, and research methodologies. The expectations for academic papers, essays, or research projects may vary in structure, depth of analysis, and referencing conventions. Learning the specific requirements of their host institution and seeking guidance from professors or writing centres can help UAE students navigate these differences. In fact, this difference plays a major role in why UAE students opt for essay writing services like Write My Essay or use online AI writing tools like ChatGPT.

Language proficiency: Language proficiency can significantly impact academic performance and integration. UAE students studying non-English-speaking countries may need to adapt to studying and participating in classes conducted in a foreign language. Improving language skills and seeking language support services can be crucial in overcoming language barriers.

To overcome these academic differences, UAE students can take proactive steps such as attending orientation programmes, seeking academic support services, participating in study groups, and communicating with professors.

They should use available resources, such as writing centres, tutoring services, or academic advisors, to enhance their understanding and performance in the host country's academic environment. Adapting to new academic practices and embracing different approaches can lead to a more enriched educational experience abroad.

Kiara M is a publicist at UnitedPress.UK.

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