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.
Today’s subject on Abroad Life is a tech bro who wanted to move to Estonia for one reason: to get peace of mind from Nigeria’s problems. He talks about how he decided to move on a whim, the migration process and the craziness of Estonia’s culture shocks.
When did you decide you wanted to leave Nigeria?
So the crazy thing is, I only wanted to leave Nigeria for a holiday, not for Japa purposes.
Wait, for real? How did you then start the process of living in Estonia?
Omo, the story started two years ago, in 2021, when I wanted to visit Greece and needed to get my visa. That visa was the hardest one I’d ever gotten in my life. They denied my visa and even made me fly to Abujafor affidavits. From then on, I started trying to find a way to get a visa and leave the country. I hated being in a country that didn’t have working systems, even though I was paid a very competitive salary in Nigeria.
Fast forward to two years later (2022). I still couldn’t get the European visa, but I was undeterred. I applied for tech jobs relating to my field in Europe that could offer competitive pay and benefits, including a work permit, visa, housing and any advantage you can think of as an employee. Of the many applications I sent, three companies sent me an offer letter, and I picked the one that paid the highest in Estonia.
All I needed to do was pack my bags, carry my proof of funds and certificates, and enter Estonia. Everything, from the housing down to the travel ticket, was even free of charge. The only thing I needed to present to Estonian immigration was my passport and proof of funds document. The company handled every other thing.
God when. So what culture shocks have you faced in Estonia so far?
It’s honestly a lot.
For starters, Estonia has what you’d call a pretty weird time system. Towards winter, it’s sunny at midnight, and towards spring, it can be dark as night at 3 p.m. People are partying in clubs at 3 p.m. because of the darkness.
For real? That’s wild!
Yes oh. It even made me understand the whole “daylight savings” thing and its purpose for phones.
What other culture shocks did you experience?
The biggest culture shock is how things here are cheaper than in Ajah, Lagos, where I used to stay.
For instance, the most prominent hotels here cost about €40, which is like N40,000 to N60,000, whereas to get a room in Oriental Hotel or Eko Hotel and Suites starts from N300,000, which could very well be someone’s salary. You can also pay meagre amounts for far distances on their Bolt app here, and you never seem to pay more than €2 (equivalent to N7,000). In Lagos, fares are as expensive as N20k for some rides.
That’s so shocking
Yes oh. Even power bills in Estonia are cheaper. You can also pay in instalments for extended periods for luxury items like cars or iPhones, which is impossible in Nigeria. This makes a ‘rich vs poor class system’ almost nonexistent in Estonia.
There are some weird culture shocks as well. For instance, I don’t think anyone cleans their feet in Estonia. Their footwear almost always looks extremely dirty for reasons I don’t understand. Their women also like to ‘knack’ black men too. Well, I knew this from my friend who’s also here.
Hmm, have you ever interacted with Estonian women before?
I don’t need to because I have a Nigerian girlfriend back home. We text and video call almost every second, so I don’t feel lonely without her. I can also afford to come back to Nigeria, visit her, and take her on vacations to any country she wishes to see.
You do have it all. Would you ever come back to Nigeria?
Of course, yes. I only left because the country needed a working system, not because I needed to improve or was looking for money. I only needed my peace of mind. I will return home if we get better leaders and better systems within Nigeria’s governance. There is never anywhere better than home.