Challenges and adjustment of international students in Malaysia: Pre-departure factors and post-arrival strategies

Mohamed Abdullahi Mohamed


This study aimed to describe international students' challenges in Malaysia, types of challenges, and adjustment strategies. A face-to-face in-depth interview was conducted with twenty-five international students from seventeen different countries, registered at six Malaysian universities. The collected data was analyzed through qualitative content analysis, and results show four main challenges facing students, namely, language, food, climate, and academics. Additionally, the study presents the students' adjustment process, including three pre-departure factors that facilitate adjustment: Previous overseas experience, similarities in religion/culture, and prior knowledge about Malaysia. However, our findings will contribute to the existing literature on challenges and adjustment of international students in Malaysia, particularly, pre-departure factors which did not get much attention from researchers.


International Students, Challenges, Socio-cultural adjustment, Higher Education, Malaysia, Coping Strategies

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