All things TOEFL iBT

The task: Read the instructions below carefully.

What, in your opinion, is the greatest difficulty students face when studying in a foreign country? Give reasons and examples to justify your answer.


  • This is a diagnostic task, so you should write at least two or three paragraphs.
  • The length of a writing task is 300 words.
  • Don’t worry too much about length or format: remember to pay attention to the instructions and answer all of the question.


  • Write your answer first on a Word document, then COPY and PASTE it in the COMMENTS section, at the end of this POST.
  • Don’t forget to save the comment
  • Read carefully when you post.

Comments on: "Diagnostic Paragraph writing task – The greatest difficulty foreign students face" (7)

  1. At first glance it seems very difficult for us to define what the greatest point is. However after some considerations we can see that living and studying in a foreign country has too many difficulties but in my opinion the greatest difficulty is to fit new lifestyle. When we decide to study in another country, generally we are looking for the best place to improve our educational formation, although this decision could attract other things like: living alone or sometimes with another student (roommate), cook for yourself and learn how to live in another culture. For example, if you have any healthy problem, you probably won’t have anybody to take care of you.
    Also we have to consider that nowadays it is very common for people to move to another country. When they move, some of them decide to follow the customs of the new country.
    To illustrate my point of view I must admit that it is not always necessary change our own custom, I believe that the advantages of adapting to a new culture are apparent. In the first place, by following customs of the new country, we can learn more about this country, understand the attitudes of the people who live there and became a real member of the community. To share the same custom means that having more things in common with local people. For me these things sometimes can be very difficult because in some places the ideals and the point of view are very different.
    In conclusion, I believe that there are so many things to became this experience hard, but we have to consider the important points like to know other people, find new friends, share your custom, learn and teach about culture. We have to use the opportunity for the best way.

  2. Studying abroad is definetly an adventure and students when deciding to do so have to plan very well their trip and have to be open minded about the differences they will meet in the new country. Everything is new and they have to adapt themselves to this challenge. They are far from home, they have to express themselves in another language, they are probably not used to the food, the culture sometimes is very different from theirs, they have to be used to the weather and have to accept the idea that they are not going to see familiar faces for a long time.

    In my opinion this is the greatest difficulty foreign student faces. You are no longer near your family and friends. When you have a problem, need an advice, want to tell a gossip or just have an old friend around, you do not have anyone near, those that you are used to call in these situations.

    Recently my cousin had this problem. She went to Irland an year ago to study English. On the first months she was so miserable that she wanted to return home. Everytime she talked to her parents, she cried. Her emails were so sad that we could notice that she was not enjoying herself there and she was not taking advantages of the classes. After some time she found some Brazilian people there and she started to hang out with them. From that moment on she started to feel better, however she never felt that she belonged to the place. A couple of months before the end of the course, she decided to quit it and come back home.

    In conclusion, although students face different challenges when studying abroad, I think the hardest one is being apart from your family and friends and being homesick.

  3. Ana Luiza Rossini said:

    Live and study in foreign country is the dream of many students in all over the world. Clearly, this is a wonderful experience that makes young people get maturity and learn leaving alone. Nevertheless, everybody that passes through this faces many difficulties.

    First of all, the person can feel really uncomfortable with the new culture of the country and consequently have some problems with the local population. For exemple, if you are woman going to live in Marroco, where women must use the hair and all the body covered, letting appear only their faces.

    Another point is missing the family support in difficult moments. Maybe you can have a serious disease and you don’t have no one else to trust to help you. Besides of that, you can be forced to take a hard decision in College/University issues.

    The last and probably the most important problem that everbody is afraid is the understanding and comprehension of the language. If you solve this, you Will have much more security to live alone in foreing country. On the other hand, if don’t, you can have a simple problem of missing an important information of how arriving in a certain place that you are loonking for.

    Considering all things listed above, I believe that new culture, missing family support and understanding the local idiom are the most important difficulties that students that live in another country face and the others should think about it before taking a hard decision like this.

  4. Lauro Coutinho said:

    In my opinion the greatest difficulty students face when studying in a foreign country is homesickness. When you live in another country you are, in most cases, living alone. You have to build new friendships and adjust to new types of behavior.
    Depending on where you live and where your family lives there are some problems in communicating like the cost, the time ticker and the viability of both parties. All your routine changes over night, you’re used to kiss your parents and brothers or sister before you go to work or go to class, petting your dog, you are a costumed to whishing good morning to the same people, you’re used to hang out with the same group of friends on weekends and in a moment you’re in a country where nobody knows you and you’re all alone.
    Until you establish a new network and get used to the idea of not seeing your friends and family I think that homesickness is the greatest difficulty students face.

  5. When people decide to study in a foreign country they need minded they are alone for their own. As everything is new, all they face is hard, the language, the new culture, the homesickness, all of this is a big challenge even though living abroad is an exciting experience.
    Who studies abroad has a lot of difficulties of course, but, in my opinion the greatest deal for those who left their family to realize their dream is the language. The whole thing could be very complicated to someone who doesn’t understand what the people talk around them, and is important to be prepared to exceed the difficulties arising.
    When students travel to study in another country, probably they will live alone, so they need to know what to expect. It is sure they will need to buy food and other things. In all cases they need to use the minimum of language. When they start to interact with the local people, to spend time with them, it is a big demand to speak the local language to feel comfortable and integrated in the new culture and country.
    I’m a teacher and I teach for foreigners and I could experience how they feel when they arrived. The foreigners come to our country with lots of wrong ideas as all people who goes to a foreign country. After sometime they start to be more secure, more confident when is possibly understand and talk. I think this happen with everybody who goes to live abroad.
    Depending which country you choose to live this difficult could be higher or lower anyhow it will take place and depends on the people, this became more complicated or easier.
    So, considering all things exposed I think besides many difficulties, the greatest is the language, because everybody desires to built a network, make friends and feel at home where they choose to live, even for while and the language is useful.

  6. Natália Furtado said:

    Being a foreign

    Studying in a foreign country has its positive points and negative points. It is easy to put barriers in the idea of trying something new, and it is also easy to think of answers that can overcome them when it is only a dream. The hardest part is to face the true difficulties in the day life.
    Some hard barriers are “to live without the help of the parents”, “having to buy things for the new home”, “having to storage your own food”, “not knowing the city and the ways of transportation well”, “living without anyone around or having a lot of people around at the new home”, and “having to talk in a different language then you own, all of the time”.
    Some answers that can overcome these barriers are very simple. Just the thought of independence for a few weeks or months, can easily tear down the first three barriers above. Buying a map or just “googleing” the streets and ways of transportation can simply overcome the next barrier cited for any adventurer. Having lots of people or no one around is simply be overcome by a calm and frequented library to study or a pub to spend some free time and make friends.
    Although anyone can easily destroy the last barrier with many answers as “it is a language I love”, “I chose to speak this language”, “it is my second, or almost my first language”, once anyone puts its feet in another country this is the hardest part of the journey. When someone tries to buy common objects is when this person realizes he/she is a foreign.
    Therefore, the lack of vocabulary can be devastating. Words like awning, swab, epilator, filing cabinet, which are not common is English courses, are still very common in life. This is the greatest difficulty someone can experience being a foreign, nevertheless, the longer the person stays, the best suited the person will be.
    In conclusion, like the philosopher Pecotche says: “There is not a problem that does not have its solution” and “Struggle is the law of life”.

  7. Ivan de Angelis said:

    In my opinion, study abroad brings a genuine experience, and as all new experience, comes with great things and some difficultys. I think among these difficults, there are mainly two that seems to be hard for who studys in a foreing country.
    The first one is the fact that the student is far away from your family and friends. Consequently he will be alone or can feel alone for a period of time. In especial moments, this feeling can be enphasized, for example, when he gets sick or when he wants to celebrate something. However the student should be patient because it is a feeling which, in my opinion, comes just at the very begining. Soon he will make new friends and this difficulty will disappear.
    The second difficulty is directly connected to the first one and also can enphasize it. It is the fact that the student is in a different place, living in a different culture, with strange people with his peculiar habits and routines. It can be a huge obstacle if, for example, the student is from a warm country with a receptive people, and has moved to a freezing place with closed people. Nevertheless, it`s a oportunity to learn an other perspective of life, comparing differents kinds of social organization. In fact, this problem can also be solved making new friends.
    In summary, there are always advantages and difficultys when you face a new experience. Talking about estudying in a new foreign country, I think there are more good points than difficultys. As I have shown, the student can solve the problems only making new friends and be opened to receive the new. He must enjoy the experience.

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