Pursuing a degree in Architecture almost anywhere in the world can be very challenging. The architecture provides every student with guidelines to follow and the freedom to explore their creativity. It is not just about learning art history or design principles in the classroom but also about life outside the classroom. Every country has a culture of its own and relocating to a new country means being exposed to a new culture. Moving to a new country can be very adventurous; studying Architecture abroad can also be very challenging. As every country is different, the challenges one is likely to face can vary depending on where they decide to study. Here are some of the difficulties one is likely to face if they decide to study architecture abroad.

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 Culture shock | Studying architecture

One of the most inevitable things about moving abroad is culture shock!

Moving to a new country means meeting new people and seeing new cultural norms than what you are used to; a different way of life, and a different set of attitudes. An architecture student is required to be active within and outside the classroom, and these differences are evident in both cases. Students are also encouraged to be involved in extracurricular activities and spending a lot of time with locals can open you up to different views. 

Pro tip: Interacting with locals and seeing how people do things differently can give both positive and negative feelings. Culture shock is undeniable and learning the new culture and adjusting to it is one of the ways to handle it. 

Difficulties that you might face while studying architecture abroad - Sheet2
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Different teaching methods and academic practices

Varying universities, especially ones in different countries have different teaching methods and this is something one has to expect when studying abroad. Some universities focus more on class time than outdoor practical work whereas this isn’t the same in other countries. Adjusting to this may be difficult to get used to but one important thing about studying abroad is learning to adapt. 

One of the main influences of Architecture is culture and geographic location which will also be new for a foreign student. Designing a house in China would not be the same as designing one in Australia and as a foreign student; one would have to adjust to the standards of their host country. 

Difficulties that you might face while studying architecture abroad - Sheet3

Language differences | Studying architecture

Most universities offer Architecture degrees in their native languages and as a foreign student; you may need to take a language preparatory course first. Some of these courses may last a year and some students might find this time consuming but it is often a requirement. Even though getting basic knowledge of a foreign language can make it easier to adapt to a new country this isn’t always the same way in the classroom. As much as Architecture students often express themselves through hand drawing and sketches, there are still juries and presentations where verbal communication is very important. They say one cannot fully themselves like they can do in their native languages, and this can be very true. Learning something new can be difficult but learning something new in a different language is even harder. 

You’ll have to do more

A lot of things that may be normal for local students like the education system, language, and culture may be very different for any foreign student. When you’re studying abroad as an Architecture student, you’ll have to work much harder than the local students do. You’ll have to pay more attention in class, follow up with lecturers more and just put in work to be as good as the locals. This isn’t very easy for many students because when your local friends are going out into the city after class, you might have to go to a professor’s office for some extra help. Sometimes you can spread twice as much time studying and translating the same thing a local would in a shorter period of time.  

Internship placements | Studying architecture

Depending on which country you decide to study, this might be a difficulty or maybe even the opportunities. In some countries, it can be harder for foreign Architecture students to get internship placements as local students may be preferred. Sometime this may be as a result of language barriers or cultural differences. Local students may be preferred in some places because they have a better understanding of the cultural and local regulations. 

In some instances, visa times may not allow for foreigners with a student visa to do internships or even work in offices. Gaining experience is something very essential in Architecture and the more practical one does, the more prepared they become for the workforce. 

Difficulties that you might face while studying architecture abroad - Sheet4

Like everything else, studying Architecture abroad has its pros and cons. Anyone deciding to pursue their Architecture studies abroad has to look at the positive and negative sides of it before making a decision. One is bound to face challenges throughout the course of the studies regardless of where they study so if studying abroad seems more favorable, one should definitely go for it.


Zyabo M'hango is an art enthusiast with a huge case of wanderlust. She believes that all forms of art intertwine as one and hence her pursuit of bringing Architecture and writing as one. When she's not working on her design projects, she's planning her next travel destination.