Globalisation and international student and staff mobility are not new phenomena, and South African universities have been fairly successful in the recruitment of internationals – particularly from other African countries, yet the challenges associated with internationalising universities remain persistent. This study sought to examine the challenges faced by international students and staff at a rural university in South Africa. We relied on a qualitative research approach which enabled us to rely on semi-structured interviews with international students, staff, and managers from the university’s International Office. The findings revealed that while some of the opportunities for studying and working abroad are to widen one's horizons and experience new cultures, international students and staff often experience difficulties such as language barriers, culture shocks, mental health issues, and financial pressures when adapting to their new context. We recommended that there be behavioural interventions, cultural interventions, and also financial support for student and staff expatriates.
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