“Limerick Is Peaceful. I’d Love to Settle Here” — Abroad Life

May 6, 2022

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 Abroad Life today, our subject takes us through his journey from deciding to leave Nigeria to moving to Ireland. He talks about navigating a long-distance relationship and being in love with the city where he stays. 

When did you decide to move abroad?

2017. I finished my master’s in architecture that same year, and my friends abroad started encouraging me to move. I’m not one to make hasty decisions, so when they told me to travel, I started my own research. I looked at different countries, what it would take me to move, the experiences of other Nigerians, weather, e.t.c. And it might be a function of the fact that travelling was already looking like a good idea for me, but I started feeling like I wasn’t getting the full value of my efforts here. It felt like every work I did was for nothing. So I decided to leave to get another master’s.

Why another master’s?

It’s the easiest way for Nigerians to japa. It’s straightforward — you go to school, finish and legally integrate into society. If I got a job or did express entry, I’d have to incorporate into society immediately, pay tax, etc. As a student, I get to take it easy for at least a year before going into the thick of it. Plus, getting a student visa is much easier. 

Also, I’m an architect. I need to understand the building codes and architectural regulations of whatever country I’m settling in. It’s just like law. You can’t study law in Nigeria and represent someone in a US court.

Why did you choose Ireland?

Ireland was my third option. My first choice was Australia, but it was too expensive and far. Germany was next. I got my admission, and all I needed to do was the visa interview, but for some reason, they forgot to call me for the interview. They forgot! 

My interview was supposed to be in mid-2019, but they called me in December. By then, the school had resumed, and I’d already started processing Ireland. 

What was the Ireland process like?

Omo, my first visa was denied. At this point, if I wasn’t mentally strong, and if I didn’t receive emotional support from my girlfriend and my family, I would have been discouraged. Imagine Germany saying they forgot to call me for an interview and then Ireland denying you a visa. It was tough. 

Why did they deny the visa?

Ireland is very strict with finances, so if you can’t explain any money above ₦300k in your account, they won’t give you a visa. 

What?

At the time, I ran two businesses — my architecture consultancy business and my family truck-lending business. I didn’t register either of them. All the money went through my personal account. By the time they went through my account and saw plenty of money, they probably thought I was a fraudster and denied my visa. I could have appealed the decision, but I decided not to because I couldn’t explain to them that I was using my personal account for business purposes. Instead, I registered my businesses and used the following year to build the accounts up. I didn’t let any random person send me money because then I’d have to account for it. 

When did you eventually leave? 

September 2021. 

Expectation vs reality: Ireland edition. 

I did a lot of research before travelling, so nothing really jumped at me. Maybe the most significant thing is that I’ve never heard anyone speak Irish. Ever. Where I stay, all they speak is English. Also, the people here are friendly but straightforward. I don’t know how to explain it. They’ll say hi and talk about the weather, but they’re very formal. 

How did moving abroad affect your relationships?

With my family, it’s been difficult because I miss them. But I speak with them often. With my girlfriend, it’s much more difficult. Being in a long-distance relationship is hard enough. When you add that you can’t take a trip to see the person on a whim and you’re busy with school, things are even more difficult. Because I see a future for myself in Ireland, my girlfriend and I have discussed it and we think it’ll be nice for her to move here.

She’s been wanting to do her master’s for a few years now, so it’s a perfect plan for her to join me here. 

Thankfully, I’ve been here for a while, so I can help her settle in. 

Tell me about your favourite part of Ireland. 

My city, Limerick. It’s a diverse city, so there are many Africans here. It also has many country homes, and it’s very relaxed. I see myself staying in Ireland and settling with my family here, and Limerick is where I want to stay. I love it here.  


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.

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

January 20, 2020

Residents of Abule Egba had a terrifying start to the week and indeed the year when a fire broke out, the evening of January 19th, 2020. This fire is now responsible for immeasurable damage to property and the loss of a yet to be confirmed number of lives. Before the fire broke out, a Twitter […]

October 28, 2019

Plus, how to be a governor in 100 days. View this email in your browser 5- 9 – 2019 This is Zikoko’s Game of Votes Weekly Dispatch. We share the most important things that happen in Nigeria every week. 5pm Thursdays. Stay woke.  1.NOBODY WINS WHEN THE FAMILY FEUDS.   In a cycle that comes around every […]

October 28, 2019

When did ‘youth’ get a new meaning? View this email in your browser 25- 7 – 2019 This is Zikoko’s Game of Votes Weekly Dispatch. We share the most important things that happen in Nigeria every week. 5pm Thursdays. Stay woke.  LET’S TAKE A LOOK AT THAT LIST. Not like we’re counting, but two months post-inauguration, three […]

November 15, 2019

Today’s Abroad Life is about Alafia Olutimehin (Aly), a 24-year-old consultant living in America. She went to uni in North Carolina with the belief she’d return to Lagos to work after school. Nigeria changed, she changed and one lunch granted her access to working in corporate America. Here’s how it happened:   When did you move […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

Recommended Quizzes

March 24, 2020

While we know that a lot of the best Nigerian artists deservedly have fans across generations, that won’t stop us from attempting to guess how old you are based on your taste in Nigerian music. So, take this quiz to see if we got it right:

November 1, 2019

Twitter is buzzing right now, bringing a new conversation to the concept of cool vs not-so-cool, especially in relationships. If you’ve been thinking about how much of a red flag you are, why don’t you let this quiz help you decide once and for all?

More from Citizen

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

September 13, 2022
Vs The World is a Zikoko original video series that follows best friends Astor and Hassan as they take on the world.
August 23, 2022
Zikoko Ships is a Zikoko Original series where we invite two people who share a relationship to play the Zikoko card games
December 14, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
November 2, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
October 26, 2020
A collection of videos documenting some of the events of the EndSARS protests.
June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.
X