The Nigerian experience is physical, emotional, and sometimes international. No one knows it better than our features on #TheAbroadLife, a series where we detail and explore Nigerian experiences while living abroad.
On a trip to the US in 2020, today’s subject on Abroad Life decided he wasn’t returning to Nigeria. Well, the US didn’t work out for him, so he processed his master’s in Canada and japa’d last year. Now he’s there and he has no motivation to come back.
When did you first decide to move abroad?
My mum and I visited the US in December 2020 and somehow, we decided I wasn’t coming back to Nigeria. I’m not a US citizen or anything. One aunty in the US said, “Let him stay now. He has finished university. He can stay with us while he processes his master’s application. There are more opportunities for him here.” And my mum thought it was a great idea.
Did you think it was a great idea?
I didn’t mind. I’ve gone to the US on holiday multiple times, so finding out I was going to be staying behind wasn’t a big deal. I told my two best friends in Nigeria, we laughed about it, and that was all. When we started making more defined plans, we decided I was going to stay with an aunt, work at a warehouse so I wasn’t idle and apply for my master’s. As time went, it became clear that we weren’t going to go ahead with the plan. Schools in the US were too expensive, and the process for applying for university was generally stressful. What we decided to do was return to Nigeria in January and start processing a Canadian school’s application.
What did that feel like?
I had mixed feelings. I was already getting used to the idea of staying abroad, so the change of plans was a bit unnerving.
On the other hand, I got to see my friends and spend time with them again before leaving. I also got to spend time with my parents. I’m an only child, so I’m pretty sure they were already missing me before I left.
When did you eventually leave?
October 2021. At some point, I was scared I wasn’t going anymore. I waited for my visa for about four months. I honestly think it’s things like these that make Nigerians hide their travel plans from friends and family. Imagine I’d told everyone I was traveling and the visa eventually didn’t come. Thankfully, I’d told only my two best friends. Other people knew when I was on the plane or when I’d gotten to Canada.
Where in Canada did you move to?
What do people there think about Drake?
I’m more curious about what they think about Kizz Daniel. What’s my business with Drake?
LMAO! What do they think about Kizz Daniel?
I wouldn’t know. I’ve been indoors almost throughout my stay here. I haven’t socialised one bit. My school is online, and I live alone. I studied communications in my undergrad in Nigeria, and I’m here to study computer science as I try to pivot into tech, so school is also super difficult. I don’t have time to go out. All I do is work.
Expectation vs reality: Canada edition.
Because I’ve been to the US multiple times, I didn’t expect Canada to be any different. In my opinion, they’re almost the same — same language, people, cultures, e.t.c. My predictions were correct. The only thing I’ve noticed is that food, clothes and other everyday things are more expensive here than in the US.
A lot of people have told me recently that they get really lonely abroad.
I don’t even have the time to be lonely. I’m occupied with classes and tasks and assignments all the time. I also talk to my friends in Nigeria pretty frequently, so I can’t get lonely. The only person I really miss is my mum. Since I got here in October, there’s been only one day where I didn’t speak with her. The next day we spoke after that, it felt awkward — like I hadn’t spoken to her in ages. I can’t go a day without talking to her now.
You seem satisfied with things the way they are.
I am. There’s not so much I’d be doing differently. I’m not the type of person to go out for parties or to hang out with people. Staying at home and focusing on school is how I imagined I’d be spending my time in Canada and that’s what I’m doing.
I’ve been thinking of signing up to play football occasionally, so I can maintain my fitness, but that’s pretty much the only thing I’d change.
Oh, and I’m looking for a job. Once I start making my own money, I want to buy mics and cameras so I can start a podcast and a YouTube channel where I talk about football.
Tell me about your favourite part of being in Canada so far.
It’s the fact that I don’t have to worry about things like electricity and good roads. I can decide to cross and all the cars on the road would wait for me.
And your least favourite part?
The winter cold. It’s unbearable.
What’s the plan for after master’s?
It’s to stay o. My mum and dad are thinking of coming to stay here too, so we’ll just continue our family here. As I’ve left Nigeria, I’ve left forever. I’ll still visit, but I’m now one of those IJGB people that just go and come from time to time.
I’m in my new dispensation.
Hey there! My name is Sheriff and I’m the writer of Abroad Life. If you’re a Nigerian and you live or have lived abroad, I would love to talk to you about what that experience feels like and feature you on Abroad Life. All you need to do is fill out this short form, and I’ll be in contact.
Want more Abroad Life? Check in every Friday at 9 A.M. (WAT) for a new episode. Until then, read every story of the series here.