For the last 40 years the number of international students aspiring to obtain a qualification in UK universities has been exponentially growing. However, such growth has been contested. What seemed to be a ‘golden’ opportunity for Black-African students to pursue their education in the UK is met with challenges that impact on the whole process of adjustment. This article examines these challenges using a qualitative empirical study of Black-African postgraduate students, carried out in three UK universities. The methods utilised were observations, focus groups, one-to-one interviews and a case study to help identify and analyse the issues. The participants reported significant financial pressures and difficulties in understanding and integrating into the culture of UK universities. In some cases these challenges left the students feeling disillusioned and cynical about the value of an international education. Universities must endeavour to tailor their recruitment, orientation and support programmes to the needs of Black-African international students or face damaging their reputations as world-class education providers.