What stresses out international college students in the Philippines the most?

  1. Homesickness
  2. High academic expectations
  3. Financial problems
  4. Plans after graduation


There has been an increase in awareness about the issue of psychological stress among college students, especially those from international colleges here in the Philippines, thanks to numerous articles and publications. If you think about it, international college students tend to go through a lot of things just to finish their education here. Feeling intense pressure to obtain high grades, taking the final exams, dealing with the often very high costs of college, and thinking about their career aspirations are just some of the things these students have to consider.

In addition, international college students that are studying here in the Philippines must also deal with the sweltering heat during the summer and the intense torrential rains during monsoon season. Considering all of the issues above, how can international students not be highly stressed out? Before a solution can be found, the problem must be pointed out first, so here are some of the things that tend to cause stress among international college students:



Going to college might be the first time that many international students will have lived away from home or been away from their family for a significant amount of time. Aside from college being a very unfamiliar environment, everything is just different, from the food to the people and even the living accommodations.

The first few weeks of going to college can create a stressful environment even though most international students eventually get used to these new stimuli without many problems. It even causes stress for people who are truly excited about changes because change, even positive ones, can still induce stress.

There also tends to be a change in the support environment of a student. Old friends and family members cannot be easily reached for support when the students have a bad day, encounter a confusing situation, or when there is a big test coming up. And even if they are available, it is usually only through the computer or a telephone rather than in person. Students might find this hard to adjust to, especially during the first few months.

 High Acedemic Expectations

High Academic Expectations

For many college students, especially those with international backgrounds, this might be one of the most common causes of long-term stress. This is why most, if not all of them go to college after all – to learn. When students don’t get the results that they think they should get, or if they feel pressured to get certain academic results, this can cause them a lot of stress.

College might be the first time that many students are academically challenged. Many of them might even have breezed through high school, so getting a low grade on the test for the first time can be a bit jarring. In addition, test anxiety can also be experienced for the first time or even increase in intensity.

Test anxiety is the feeling of anxiety that usually comes before or during the taking of tests. The symptoms will usually be both mental and physical and this can usually inhibit the ability of a student to perform as well as he or she otherwise could.

 Financial Troubles

Financial Problems

In addition to being on their own physically, and sometimes even emotionally, international college students might also be on their own financially. Everything from food and rent to entertainment and fuel is now the financial responsibility of the student. Some of them might even find it necessary to take on a part-time job when they are not in class.

Even though some of these students took out student loans, earned scholarships or even have a “full ride” that helps them pay for everything, they still have to worry making the required phone calls and occasionally answering questions, submitting paperwork and meeting deadlines in order to make sure that the funds keep coming.

 Plans After Graduation

Plans After Graduation

One of the biggest questions that international college students have to face is what they would have to do once they graduate. For these students, figuring out the answer to this question is just like laying out the blueprints for the rest of their lives.

There are a lot of things that can affect this plan such as being forced to settle for a job that they don’t really want, difficulty in getting into graduate schools, or even not having a job upon graduation at all. On the other hand, even though you might find a great job, you still have to find a way to pay back all of your student loans.

Thinking about all of these things can cause a significant amount of stress to any student. Ultimately, it is the fear of the unknown that makes thinking about post-graduate life very stressful.


Key Takeaway

For many students of international colleges here in the Philippines, the frustrations and challenges of campus life can cause them stress and even lead them to develop severe emotional problems.

However, with the help of their friends, family, and even the resources for stress management that the school provides, some of them might just be able to keep their stress levels relatively under control and even thrive in the college setting.