International Student Hurdles


There are so many issues being an international student in the US. I’m sure its not specifically only in the US, but since I am an international student studying in the US, I can only replay my personal experience. Sometimes I got really  frustrated with all the extra hoops that I had to go through to succeed in the US (and again, probably other countries too, though I can’t vouch for those since I’m based in the US). As if seeking to succeed wasn’t hard enough.


  • I thought I was accepted into my graduate program initially and then I was informed that I was waitlisted. And then I was accepted. This was because of the state cuts in my state that massively reduced most programs and in conjunction, reducing the number of students that they can take. Thankfully the sociology dept was pretty strong so their funding was kept the same. If I was a citizen, I would have been easily accepted with fully funding, no questions asked. It was stressful, frustrating and even though its a “happy ending” for now, I’m sure there’ll be more strife in the future similar to this.
  • Because I changed my status from an immigrant visa to a non-immigrant visa (I turned 21 so I had to), now I’m a nonresident alien for tax purposes despite having stayed in the US for nearly a decade. I have to do my taxes differently than before and if I don’t do them correctly, they may affect my future with applying for permanent residency and citizenship. Yeah, no pressure.
  • US citizens can get their grants for my previous college from a personal check. International students have be taxed a certain percentage of what the grant money so most of the grants pay for the tax AND the actual grant. I got a grant to do a project that I wanted and long story short, I basically got the money 3 days before the events actually happened. I had applied for the same grant last year and was so confused since this wasn’t an issue last year and I was quite upset that they did this. The grant-funding org emailed me later saying that they “thought” I was in the loop.


  • My current graduate university is charging international students a (in my opinion unnecessary and exorbitant) fee every semester, simply for being international students. Their rationalization is that they need to “track” us. I’m sure they know where their 400+ students are every second of every minute of every day.
I’ll probably grumble here and there about all the extra hoops we have to jump through.

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