I'm hardly a "goenakaist". I've only done one retreat, and I prefer the Mahasi-style approach that my local teachers use. The method itself is a bit too rigid for my taste.
However, I don't see anything about the structure of a Goenka retreat that is at significant variance with other strict retreats. No talking, no reading, get up, practice, eat, practice, sleep. Difficult stuff, but very standard.
Personally, I'm pleased I did some less strict, shorter, retreats before the Goenka retreat. I actually felt very relieved on the Goenka retreat that the silence was kept strictly by the servers.
The point is, any intensive retreat will bring up a lot of difficulties. New meditators might consider starting with some shorter and/or less demanding retreats.