Kenyan students in Canada have the opportunity to meet people from all over the world and this has a therapeutic effect because at various points they struggle to get along with others during their study experience. Canada continues to be a choice destination for international students. This is as a result of the track record of excellence by Canadian Universities. Employers appreciate the quality of graduates from Canadian universities.

Canada is a North American country made of Toronto, Vancouver, Montréal and Québec Cities. Canada boasts of vast swaths of wilderness which include lake-filled Banff National Park in the Rocky Mountains and Niagara Falls. It has become a city after the heart of international students.

Many Kenyans hold at least a Bachelors degree which is proof of their desire to attain academic excellence. This indicates that African students are both intellectual and cultural assets to Canadian universities and colleges. Let me walk you through top challenges Kenyan students face while studying in Canada. I’ll also let you in on how you can overcome them.


As a student, your research skill will be put to test. You will most likely get a not too pleasant grade for copying any material (document or picture) from elsewhere and submitting it as yours without quoting your sources.

How to Overcome it

Once the idea is not yours, re-write it and then quote the author, who is the original owner. If you do not know the source, do not use it. If in doubt, leave out. If not, you could be found guilty of plagiarism.

2. Subtle Racial Discrimination

Racism all over the world is a bitter pill for victims to swallow. This tends to ridicule the person of the victim and tamper with whatever self-esteem is left. This can be synonymous to ethnicity and tribalism which is a common enemy in Africa. Racism can cause irreparable damage to victims (student) who do not know how to handle it. This could damage their confidence and relegate them to social oblivion.

How to Overcome it

Since this is a delicate issue all over the world, you are to treat such actions with the utmost care. Your reaction could trigger whatever hate is within your predator and could cause harm to you. If it reoccurs, you can report to law enforcement agencies or, the school authorities as the case may be. Endeavour to be civil in your approach when handling this issue.

3. Climatic Change and Living Condition

You could have a difficult time adjusting to varying weather conditions within Canada. This could create a feeling of frustration. Heating up the house during the winter and choosing meals necessary for different weather conditions should be considered seriously. Undoubtedly, this is one of the top challenges Kenyans face while studying in Canada.

How to Overcome it

Ensure you are conversant with weather forecasts. This will help you know how to dress when leaving home. Breaking down with pneumonia is a common occurrence for international students in cold regions. Do well to ask questions so you can act accordingly.

4. Language

Having passed the English proficiency exam, chances are you’ll battle with communicating with fellow colleagues who have the Canadian accent. Discussions in class and presentations could put you off balance if you do not prepare yourself and build confidence.

How to Overcome it

Constant communication with locals and listening to the radio or Television programmes could help you understand the accent. This will go a long way in making communication easy and effective. And if you choose to learn the British accent, it could be a positive step and could be to your advantage.

5. Immigration and Visa

Acquiring a Canadian visa is not as easy as ABC. From the application, and submission of documents, to the interview and eventual handing over of the study visa, it’s tough. This requires a strong resolve on the part of the applicant to be able to follow through to the end.

How to Overcome it

You are expected to read up and understand vital information bordering on obtaining a certified Canadian study visa. You can also make inquiries at the Canadian Embassy in Kenya. By so doing, you won’t become frustrated and give up on the application process.

6. Politics and Policies

The enthronement of governments through an elective process gives rise to new policies which could override the old ones. Peradventure there are policies which once encouraged a smooth transition for non-immigrants, a new one could rubbish the policy. In fact, it could make the transition process difficult. Kenyan students, just like most African students seeking to study in Canada, have become victims of government policies. Policies which do not favor students coming into Canada to study and remain in Canada after studying. Policies were more favorable to international students in time past.

How to Overcome it

Ensure that you have no criminal record and no error in any of your documents. A slight error could serve as a red flag. Officials at the embassy could turn your visa application down as a result. You are expected to be meticulous in filling the form and be adequately prepared for the visa interview.

7. Financial Pressure

Before a Kenyan Student arrives in Canada, the major challenge would have been funding for most students. Unfavourable economic factors abound. They include the alarming exchange rate, deflation in the students home currency and economic recession. All these pose a big threat to the student’s survival. Added to that is the cost of health insurance which stares the student in the face. With all these factors, it becomes difficult to fully focus on academic programs while under financial pressure.

How to Overcome it

To reduce or totally eradicate the pressure, you can consider applying for as many scholarships and grants as you’re eligible for. You can also consider getting alternative sources of income by working part-time to augment whatever money you have. In addition, you can consider contesting for competitions which require using your innate skills. For example, singing, dancing, essay competitions and so on.

8. Academic Difficulties

The teaching-learning process African students are used to is diametrically opposed to what obtains in Canada. In Canada, students engage in classroom discussions, presentations, and critical thinking. This could take some time to get used to.

How to Overcome it

Dynamism and adaptability are key. You are expected to be open towards adjusting to new modules of learning and instruction. Strive to get involved with class and group activities. This will easily get you flowing with the system.

9. Family Pressure 

Some international students are the breadwinners of their families especially those from Africa. This puts unnecessary pressure on them as they feel obligated to send money back home. Some of these students, who are leaving their families and loved for the first time often feel disorientated. The transition from leaving home, settling down and adapting to the new culture could be draining. Also, adjusting to a new environment which is diametrically opposed to what obtains in Kenya isn’t always easy. It is yet among the top challenges Kenyans face while studying in Canada.

How to Overcome it

You are expected to prepare adequately. By so doing, you won’t be sourly hit by challenges as they come. Maintain a support system in Canada to fill in the gap occasioned by your temporary departure from home. Ensure your family understands that you need sufficient time to settle in before sending them support.

10. Social Difficulties

Laws within cities in Canada tend to tame your social excesses. Some Kenyans ignorantly go against these laws and are often found liable by Law Enforcement Agents and sometimes, the court. When this happens, you could become psychologically and socially disoriented. You could try to abide by some laws, yet, find out you are breaking laws unintentionally. Adapting to the bustling social life in Canada could be sweet and sour. Sweet when you’re having adequate fun. Sour when you get carried away by the unending fun.

How to Overcome it

Ask questions constantly. Asking questions is better than being locked up in prison for an avoidable offence. If you want to have the Canadian experience and balanced academic life, understand the rules and follow them. Universities and other groups have orientation programs detailing how best to manoeuvre the academic environment. They also reveal possible challenges that could pop up from your stay as a student. These orientation programs cover social challenges such as drunk driving, sexual harassment, street fighting and so on. Attending orientation programs will help international students settle down seamlessly.


  • Financial Difficulties

Most Kenyans studying in Canada are self-sponsored and are not always financially stable. Another issue is that of deflation in the exchange rate which ridicules the value of the Kenyan currency. This often results in psychological feelings of stress and uncertainty which drives students to be involved in “under-table jobs.” Such illegal jobs are against the immigration policies of Canada and could attract sanctions on the students.

How to Overcome it

Just like every other African student, you are expected to apply for scholarships and grants. Putting your innate skills (singing, dancing, painting and so on) into good use with an entrepreneurial mindset comes in handy. It will help you mitigate the financial pressure. The Canadian study visa enables students to work to raise money to sustain themselves in school. You can utilize this opportunity to make money, gain work experience and improve your network. This is also one of the top challenges Kenyans face while studying in Canada.

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