Although English as a medium of instruction (EMI) has grown exponentially in recent years, many perceived needs and challenges remain unaddressed. The present study investigated what kinds of challenges students experience when trying to study in an EMI context, and how they view their needs, gathering qualitative data from open-ended questions. The participants were attending one private, and two state universities in Turkey. The students (N=83, from 5 different departments, studying from freshman to senior levels) described various challenges and needs in their responses, including challenges with understanding technical vocabulary, lecturers’ inadequate use of English, code switching, the English preparatory-year curriculum, English language skills and lack of language support in EMI programmes. The results are discussed, suggestions made for further research, and implications for the teaching and learning context are suggested.