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.
After living in the UK for three years, this subject on #AbroadLife moved back to Nigeria in 2020. Now, work has taken her back, and she misses her family and Nigerian food.
How long have you been in the UK?
Well, I was here from 2017 to 2020, and then I left and came back beginning of 2022). So, roughly four years.
Why did you go in 2017?
I came to study. I’d completed an undergraduate programme in Nigeria but wanted to study law, so I came here to do another undergraduate programme in law.
Ah, interesting. Why didn’t you just do law in Nigeria in the first place?
I was admitted to study law, but my WAEC government result was withheld, and when it was released, it was too late to enrol in the law programme at my school. They had reached their quota. And because I didn’t want to spend a year at home, I opted to study International relations and diplomacy.
Why didn’t you do law in Nigeria after your first degree?
Law in Nigeria is a five-year course, as opposed to in the UK, which is two years if you have a previous degree. I was able to study law in two years.
What was going to the UK in 2017 like?
It was stressless. My sister told me about a free service the UK government offered. They help you decide what school to go to and process all your applications up until the visa application stage. So that made it easy for me. All I had to do was show up at my biometric appointment when it was time.
Their name is UKEAS. They have offices in Abuja and Lagos. I’m not sure about anywhere else.
Sweet. Expectation vs reality: UK edition
My family used to come to the UK yearly for summers, so the UK wasn’t new to me. However, because I always came as a tourist, I expected that I would have the time to tour the UK and go to places I’d never been to.
I didn’t really do any of that, I spent most of my time in school.
Two years, no holidays. It was a fast-track course. But I enjoyed the experience. School here was different from studying in Nigeria in the sense that it was a more relaxed environment. Because people from all around the world come to school in the UK, I got acquainted with new cultures, traditions, and different lifestyles.
Why did you stay after school?
My course was from 2017 to 2019, and I stayed the extra year to work. I wanted experience working in the legal sector in England.
COVID happened, so I was at home for most of it. Can’t really say I had the experience I was looking for.
What experience were you looking for?
I wanted to attend court sessions and sit under senior lawyers in meetings with clients.
So why then did you return to Nigeria?
I was getting married.
Was your husband-to-be in Nigeria?
He was in Canada, but the wedding was going to hold in Nigeria.
How long had you guys been together?
Six months. But we’d known each other since primary school.
Why then did you move back to the UK?
I got a job earlier in the year, and my husband and I were happy to move.
What’s been your favourite part of the move so far?
Getting to see my friends again and the ease of access to social amenities.
And your least favourite?
Being far away from family and the lack of ease of access to Nigerian food.
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.