Some of the international students who contribute £8bn a year to the UK economy are the well-heeled sons and daughters of elite families. But not all conform to that stereotype: many have poor parents who scrimped and saved to get them to the UK.
For them, life is a struggle. Without a family in the country to call on for help, poor international students are vulnerable and overlooked.
I am a Nepalese student, studying international politics at Middlesex University in London. The opportunity to meet people from all over the world makes studying in London a great experience.
So do the famous landmarks. I was thrilled to see that London Bridge – which I knew from nursery rhymes – was not in fact "falling down" but structurally stable.
Of course the main reason for overseas students to set foot in the UK is the world class education that awaits them. However, it is not always easy and for many international students the fairy tale can quickly turn into a nightmare.
I lived alone in a dreary box room for two years because of limited finances and every day faced a long commute from university to my accommodation.
But perhaps I was lucky. Suresh from Nepal, who lives in South London, felt tricked when he turned up at college only to find it was housed in a single flat.
He says: "What they showed on the internet was completely different. I could not study in that college after I saw it. The teachers were not good enough; there was no infrastructure or library. I just lost all of my will to study, along with the £5,000 that my parents invested in me."
The government's regulation of private colleges is not sufficient and for students like Suresh there is no way to complain. Suresh and his family will not see their £5,000 again.
University in the UK was not what Gita had been expecting either. She says: "There was no chance of doing well in studies from that college. I could not go back to India. What would I say to my friends and family, that the college in one of the richest countries in the world was not worth a penny?"
Kala Opusunju, from Middlesex University, has had emotional problems as well as financial ones: "My main challenges came in being lonely without family to encourage or support. And there seemed to be no available jobs for students such as myself to work and earn extra pay. So I was solely dependent on the income which my parents sent me from Nigeria.
'I wish I had family in the UK to visit, stay with once in a while and go to in times of need. Most of my fellow Nigerians said they experienced depression moments after their arrival in London."
International students have little or no access to emergency funds, which puts them in a vulnerable position. They should be able to access emergency loans or funds like home students instead of being left on the sidelines.
Belinda Okuya , student advice co-ordinator from Middlesex students' union, says:
"I see many students who have suffered hardship, such as homelessness. They have financial problems because of the increased cost of living, and unexpected circumstances arising in their home country, resulting in their not being able to pay fees.
"I believe that the support structures in universities need to reflect the increased pressures that international students face."
Daniel Stevens, the international students' officer for the National Union of Students puts the responsibility on the government.
"For poor international students or those that find serious problems with their institution, the struggle is vast. There is rarely a safety net to fall back on or route for reprieve.
"The government needs to be doing more to ensure international students are adequately protected and empower them to seek redress against institutions."
Read more about Inspiring students: Our hope for 2014 by the gurdian and about Shreya paudel here
Source: This article was initially published in thegurdian