Saturday, July 13, 2024

Challenges Facing International Studies Students in Nigeria

Last Updated on November 29, 2023


A. International Studies as a Discipline

International Studies, a dynamic academic discipline, explores global issues, fostering a nuanced understanding of international relations.

B. Increasing Number of Students in Nigeria

The enrollment of students in International Studies in Nigeria has surged, reflecting a growing interest in global affairs.

C. Challenges Faced by International Studies Students

  1. Curriculum Gaps: The curriculum often struggles to keep pace with rapidly evolving global dynamics.

  2. Limited Resources: Inadequate access to updated research materials hampers students’ academic exploration.

  3. Language Barriers: Mastery of multiple languages is essential, posing a significant challenge for students.

  4. Field Experience: Limited opportunities for international exposure hinder practical understanding.

  5. Job Market Dynamics: Navigating a competitive job market demands skills beyond traditional academic knowledge.

This section unravels these challenges, providing insights and solutions for international studies students grappling with these complex issues in Nigeria.

Language Barrier

International Studies students in Nigeria encounter formidable challenges, with language barriers being a significant hurdle in their academic journey.

A. Difficulty in Studying Subjects Taught in Foreign Languages

  1. Complex concepts become elusive when expressed in unfamiliar languages.

  2. Comprehending lectures and texts becomes a Herculean task for non-native speakers.

  3. The struggle intensifies when technical jargon is intricately woven into foreign language instruction.

B. Limited Availability of Language Courses

  1. Inadequate access to language courses impedes students’ linguistic development.

  2. A scarcity of advanced language classes further constrains the students’ proficiency growth.

  3. The dearth of language options narrows students’ chances to diversify their linguistic skills.

C. Lack of Resources for Language Learning

  1. Libraries and online resources fall short in providing extensive language-learning materials.

  2. Insufficient funds allocated to language programs hinder the acquisition of crucial resources.

  3. Absence of language labs deprives students of immersive, practical language experiences.

In tackling these issues, a multifaceted approach is imperative.

Educational institutions should invest in language education, expanding course offerings and ensuring the availability of comprehensive resources.

Additionally, fostering partnerships with international universities can facilitate language exchange programs, providing students with practical exposure to diverse linguistic environments.

Government and private sector collaboration is essential to secure funding for language labs and updated materials.

Moreover, incorporating language proficiency assessments into admission criteria can incentivize students to prioritize language acquisition from the outset of their academic journey.

Basically, addressing the language barrier challenge requires concerted efforts from educational institutions, government bodies, and private stakeholders.

By enhancing language education accessibility and resources, Nigeria’s International Studies students can overcome this obstacle and truly thrive in their pursuit of global knowledge.

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Cultural Adjustment

Cultural adjustment is one of the significant challenges that international studies students face when studying in Nigeria.

Moving to a different country comes with a plethora of changes, both big and small, that can be overwhelming.

In this blog section, we will discuss the various aspects of cultural adjustment and shed light on the difficulties that students encounter.

A. Overcoming cultural shock when studying abroad

A major hurdle for international studies students is overcoming cultural shock.

The initial period in a foreign country can be disorienting, making students feel insecure and homesick.

Everything from the language spoken to the food eaten can be vastly different, leading to feelings of confusion and unease.

Additionally, adapting to a new climate and weather conditions can pose challenges, especially for those coming from regions with contrasting climates.

B. Differences in social norms, values, and customs

Another aspect of cultural adjustment is the differences in social norms, values, and customs.

Simple acts like greetings and body language may differ greatly from what students are accustomed to, leading to cultural misunderstandings.

Students must also adapt to new societal rules and expectations, which can sometimes be stricter than what they were used to back home.

It is crucial for students to understand and respect the diversity within Nigerian society, as it plays a significant role in their successful integration.

Adapting to a new learning environment presents its own set of challenges for international students.

The educational system, teaching methods, and classroom dynamics may differ significantly from what they are familiar with.

This adjustment can be particularly daunting, especially when faced with language barriers and difficulties in understanding lectures and readings.

The pressure to perform academically within a foreign educational system adds another layer of stress for students, making it essential to develop effective study habits and seek support when needed.

C. Challenges in adapting to a new learning environment

To overcome these challenges, international studies students can employ various strategies.

First and foremost, seeking support from fellow international students and local mentors can help navigate the process of cultural adjustment.

Joining student organizations and participating in cultural exchange programs can also foster a sense of belonging and provide opportunities to learn about the host country’s customs and traditions.

Additionally, maintaining an open mind, being patient, and embracing new experiences can make the cultural adjustment process smoother.

Essentially, cultural adjustment is a significant challenge faced by international studies students in Nigeria.

Overcoming cultural shock, navigating differences in social norms, and adapting to a new learning environment require resilience and an open mind.

By understanding and respecting the host country’s culture, seeking support, and engaging in cultural exchange, students can successfully overcome these challenges and make the most out of their international study experience.

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Academic Rigor

A. Higher academic expectations and workload

As an international studies student in Nigeria, the academic rigor can be one of the toughest challenges.

The higher academic expectations and workload can be quite demanding, requiring a lot of dedication and hard work.

The educational system in Nigeria places great importance on academic excellence, and foreign students often have to adapt quickly to meet these expectations.

B. Studying unfamiliar subjects

Studying unfamiliar subjects adds another layer of difficulty. International students may come from different educational systems with varying curricula.

This means they may not have prior knowledge or experience with certain subjects that are part of the Nigerian curriculum.

This can lead to additional stress and pressure to catch up and understand new concepts quickly.

C. Competition with local students

In addition, international students often find themselves competing with local students.

Local students may have a better understanding of the education system and may have been exposed to the curriculum from a young age.

This can put international students at a disadvantage, as they have to work harder to keep up with their fellow classmates.

To overcome these challenges, international studies students in Nigeria can adopt various strategies.

First and foremost, it is essential to develop effective time management skills.

Balancing the workload and dedicating enough time to each subject will help in meeting the academic expectations.

Seeking help from professors and classmates can also be beneficial.

Nigerian professors are usually approachable and willing to assist international students who are struggling with the academic rigor.

Collaborating with local students can also provide insights into the curriculum and help bridge any gaps in knowledge.

Furthermore, international students can utilize academic resources provided by their institutions.

Libraries, study groups, and tutoring services are available to support students in their studies.

Taking advantage of these resources can greatly enhance the learning experience.

In summary, international studies students in Nigeria face challenges when it comes to academic rigor.

The higher expectations and workload, unfamiliar subjects, and competition with local students can make their academic journey more demanding.

However, with effective time management, seeking assistance, and using academic resources, these challenges can be overcome, leading to a successful and fulfilling educational experience in Nigeria.

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Challenges Facing International Studies Students in Nigeria

Financial Constraints

Navigating the realm of international studies in Nigeria comes with its own set of challenges, and perhaps none are as daunting as the financial constraints faced by students pursuing this academic path.

From exorbitant tuition fees to limited scholarship opportunities, the financial burden can be overwhelming.

A. High cost of tuition fees for international students

  1. Tuition fees for international studies programs in Nigeria are notoriously high.

  2. These fees often act as a significant deterrent for prospective international studies students.

  3. The burden of tuition fees can lead to immense financial strain on students and their families.

  4. Universities need to address this issue by exploring avenues for fee reduction or installment payment plans.

B. Limited scholarship opportunities for international studies students

  1. Scholarships for international studies students in Nigeria are scarce.

  2. The lack of financial support can hinder talented individuals from pursuing their academic dreams.

  3. The government and private institutions must collaborate to create more scholarship opportunities.

  4. Encouraging businesses to sponsor international studies programs can also alleviate this financial barrier.

C. Expenses for accommodation, transportation, and textbooks

  1. Accommodation costs in Nigeria can be exorbitant, adding to the financial stress of international students.

  2. Transportation expenses, including daily commuting or travel back home, contribute to the overall financial burden.

  3. Textbooks are an essential part of the academic journey, but their high costs pose a challenge.

  4. Educational institutions should explore options for affordable housing and collaborate with publishers to make textbooks more accessible.

In essence, addressing the financial constraints faced by international studies students in Nigeria requires a multifaceted approach.

By reducing tuition fees, expanding scholarship opportunities, and mitigating additional expenses, the academic landscape can become more inclusive and supportive for aspiring global scholars.

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Limited Support Systems

International studies students in Nigeria face numerous challenges, and one major obstacle they encounter is the limited support systems available to them.

This section will explore the different aspects of this issue and shed light on its impact on the students’ academic experience.

A. Inadequate guidance and counseling services for international students

One of the main challenges that international studies students in Nigeria face is the lack of adequate guidance and counseling services specifically catered to their needs.

These services play a crucial role in helping students adapt to a new educational environment and overcome any personal or academic difficulties they may encounter.

Without proper guidance and counseling, international students may find it challenging to navigate the Nigerian academic system, understand the requirements of their courses, or seek assistance when faced with any problems.

This lack of support can lead to feelings of confusion, frustration, and isolation, hindering their overall academic performance and well-being.

B. Lack of mentorship programs or peer support groups

Another significant hurdle faced by international studies students in Nigeria is the absence of mentorship programs or peer support groups.

These programs play a crucial role in helping students build relationships, find support, and gain valuable insights from those who have previously experienced the challenges of studying abroad.

Mentors and peer support groups can provide guidance, offer advice, and help international students navigate their academic and social lives.

They can also serve as a source of motivation and inspiration, especially during challenging times.

However, due to limited resources or a lack of awareness, these support systems are often unavailable to international studies students in Nigeria.

C. Difficulties in accessing academic resources or libraries

International studies students in Nigeria also face difficulties in accessing academic resources or libraries, further exacerbating their academic challenges.

Inadequate availability of relevant books, journals, and research materials can hinder their ability to complete assignments, conduct research, or deepen their understanding of their chosen field of study.

The limited access to academic resources not only affects the students’ educational experience but also limits their opportunities for intellectual growth and development.

It adds an extra layer of complexity to their academic journey, making it harder for them to excel academically and contribute meaningfully to their respective fields.

In short, international studies students in Nigeria encounter various obstacles due to the limited support systems available to them.

The inadequate guidance and counseling services, lack of mentorship programs or peer support groups, and difficulties in accessing academic resources or libraries greatly impact their ability to succeed academically and adapt to their new environment.

It is essential for educational institutions and the Nigerian government to prioritize the development and enhancement of these support systems to ensure the success and well-being of international studies students in the country.

Visa and Immigration Challenges

A. Complex and time-consuming visa application processes

  1. International studies students in Nigeria face the difficulty of navigating through complex visa application requirements.

  2. The process can be time-consuming and involves fulfilling various documentation and financial requirements.

  3. Students may need to provide proof of financial capability, health insurance, acceptance letters, and other supporting documents.

  4. Understanding and completing these requirements can be a daunting task, especially for first-time applicants.

B. Uncertainty of visa renewal and extension

  1. Once international students secure their initial visa, they may face uncertainty regarding visa renewal or extension.

  2. Changes in immigration policies or requirements can lead to unpredictable outcomes for students.

  3. Students may have to deal with the anxiety of uncertain visa status, which can affect their academic focus and mental well-being.

  4. Seeking guidance from immigration authorities or consulting legal experts may be essential to resolving visa uncertainties.

C. Legal restrictions and regulations for international students

  1. International studies students in Nigeria are subject to specific legal restrictions and regulations.

  2. These regulations may include limitations on employment opportunities, travel restrictions, and mandatory reporting to immigration authorities.

  3. Students must abide by these rules, failure to do so may lead to legal consequences and potential visa revocation.

  4. Understanding and complying with these regulations can be challenging and sometimes requires legal advice.

Social Integration

A. Difficulty in making friends and building social networks with local students

  1. Language and cultural barriers can make it challenging for international studies students to connect with local students.

  2. The differences in social norms, values, and interests can also hinder the formation of meaningful friendships.

  3. Limited opportunities for interaction between international and local students further contribute to this difficulty.

  4. Without a strong social network, international students may feel excluded and isolated, negatively impacting their overall experience.

B. Experiencing isolation and homesickness

  1. Being away from their home country and familiar support systems can lead to feelings of loneliness and homesickness.

  2. International studies students may have difficulty adapting to the new environment and may miss their family and friends.

  3. Without a strong support network, these feelings of isolation and homesickness can become overwhelming.

  4. The lack of familiarity with local customs and traditions can further contribute to the sense of being an outsider.

C. Access to limited extracurricular activities for international students

  1. International studies students may find it challenging to participate in extracurricular activities due to various reasons.

  2. Language barriers can make it difficult to join clubs and organizations that require proficiency in the local language.

  3. Many extracurricular activities may not cater to the specific needs and interests of international students.

  4. This limited access to extracurricular activities can hinder their social integration and overall personal growth.

All in all, the social integration of international studies students in Nigeria poses several challenges.

Making friends and building social networks with local students is difficult due to language and cultural barriers, as well as differences in social norms and interests.

This can lead to feelings of isolation and homesickness, especially when support systems are far away.

Additionally, limited access to extracurricular activities tailored to their needs further inhibits their social integration.

It is crucial for universities and institutions to address these challenges and create a welcoming and inclusive environment for international students.


International studies students in Nigeria face numerous challenges.

It is imperative to address these challenges and provide support systems for these students.

To improve the overall experience of international studies students in Nigeria, the following suggestions can be implemented:

  1. Establishing mentorship programs for international students to offer guidance and support.

  2. Enhancing cultural integration by organizing events and activities that promote interaction between international and local students.

  3. Providing language support and resources to help students overcome language barriers.

  4. Ensuring access to quality healthcare services and addressing any medical emergencies promptly.

  5. Offering financial assistance and scholarships to alleviate the financial burden on international students.

  6. Enhancing security measures on campuses to ensure the safety and well-being of international students.

  7. Creating inclusive and supportive learning environments that promote equal opportunities for all students.

By addressing these challenges and implementing support systems, we can enhance the experience of international studies students in Nigeria and create a conducive atmosphere for their academic and personal growth.

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