“The Cold Made My Nose Bleed Every Day”- Abroad Life

April 2, 2021

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 started her process to leave Nigeria for the USA for school in 2017 and didn’t leave until two months ago. She talks about how money, COVID and visa problems delayed her travel plans. She also talks about arriving in the USA in the middle of a polar vortex and having to survive extreme levels of cold.

When did you first start trying to leave Nigeria?

2017. I was fresh out of secondary school, and I knew I didn’t want to do university in Nigeria so I was already actively searching for opportunities to study abroad. My plan was to come to the USA, but somehow, between not having enough money, visa wahala and COVID, I just got here about two months ago. 

Damn, which one came first?

Money wahala. I rushed and wrote my SATs, ready to japa. Sometime in 2018, I got my admission to study nursing in some private university. It was so perfect. And then we saw the fees. My sister was finishing university in the USA at that time, so the financial situation at home wasn’t so great. I just deferred my admission from 2018 to a semester in 2020 and went to join my brother in UNILAG.

Greatest Akokite!

Haha… Great! 

How was UNILAG?

It was fun. In my first year, I was the most unserious person because I knew I was still going to America, so what was the point of going for classes or even doing assignments? It didn’t help matters that I applied to study nursing, and I was admitted to study radiology instead. I hated it so much.


After my first year, I approached the sub-dean of my faculty and begged him to transfer me to the Psychology Department, and surprisingly, he did. So I did psychology till I left. 

I’m curious. Did your UNILAG friends know you were going to leave them?

Only the extremely close ones knew the situation I was in. Honestly, at some point, even I started doubting that I could still come to the US. Most of my friends were not close enough for me to tell them, so it was when I left they knew.

Which wahala came next?

COVID. It started looking less likely that I was going to travel because of COVID, and my life seemed stuck. Something that made it worse was the ASUU strike. The reason that so many public university students in Nigeria were out of school for almost one year was ASUU strike, not COVID. People didn’t talk about that enough. These people practically wasted one year of our lives.

I eventually started attending classes online last year. I’d paid my fees, but I wasn’t able to leave Nigeria, so we created a system where I attended classes online. That terribly affected my sleeping patterns because I had to adapt to American time zones. 

Damn. How did that end?

Travel restrictions were lifted, so I started processing my visa. Somehow, the process was looking bleaker and bleaker. The embassy kept cancelling and rescheduling appointments until early this year when I, out of faith, applied for an emergency visa interview and got it. I left one week later. That was my first time abroad.

What were your first impressions?

Omo, it was cold. I arrived in Minnesota in the middle of a polar vortex, and so the cold was intense. On some days, it was -31°C. It wasn’t even snowing that much. It was just really really cold. I stayed indoors for my first two weeks. On the day I finally decided to go out, I felt every part of me freeze — my fingers, my toes, my eyelids, everything. I didn’t travel with clothes for the cold, so it was really bad. I would wake up with blood in my nose, and my ears started popping — I’ve had problems with my ears for years and it got worse. It was horrendous. 

Omo.

I think something good that came out of that is the fact that when the temperature sort of normalised, I didn’t feel it that much anymore. So when it came down and it was -15°C, I didn’t feel as cold as I should have. I felt like a superhero. 

Haha. How’s it been settling in?

It’s been great. I have a job as a student ambassador here already. I sign people up for stuff, take questions, give tours, direct traffic and all that. I already secured a job for next semester too; I’ll be a resident advisor. It’s like being hostel prefect. 

Are you staying after you finish school?

I’m studying nursing in a country where I’ll be appreciated and paid well. Of course, I’m staying. 

 What do you miss about Nigeria?

The food. I don’t like the food here one single bit. I feel like I’m being punished. My friends taunt me by sending me pictures of Nigerian food. The only things I can eat well here are chicken and mashed potatoes. The rest of it is just tasteless. I hope I find something I like. 


Want more Abroad Life? Check in every Friday at 12 PM (WAT) for a new episode. Until then, read every story of the series here.

David Odunlami

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.

You'll like this

September 16, 2020

Okay, so if you’ve not seen Tinubu’s message to the Edo voters, find it here: Still didn’t watch it? Here’s a quick summary: Tinubu says Edo people should reject Godwin Obaseki in Edo’s Governorship election Tinubu says he has suffered with many others to bring about democracy in Nigeria Tinubu says Obaseki can’t understand the […]

July 20, 2020

Let’s start from here: Nigerian politicians have a history of fainting at court hearings and getting away with their bad behavior. So, we the good people of Zikoko came up with scenarios where you can also get away with this tactic in your daily life. Here are a few: 1) When your girlfriend catches you […]

October 22, 2020

Let’s start here: On the 20th of October, 2020, armed men of the Nigerian army allegedly shot at peaceful protesters in the recent #EndSars movement. It is estimated that at least twelve people were killed in Lagos, and hundred more were injured around Nigeria. In light of this unfortunate and avoidable incident, we decided to […]

Watch

Now on Zikoko

May 10, 2021

Emojis were created to make texting cooler and make conversations a lot more interesting. Since we are ever so kind at Zikoko, we’ve taken it upon ourselves to interpret what some emojis should mean.  1.🙂 This emoji should be called the 40+ emoji, it’s not a smile or a frown? It’s passive-aggressive, very much like […]

May 10, 2021

‘Real men don’t cry’ is one of the top three most stupid and inaccurate things I have ever heard. Men cry, that’s the reality of life and it doesn’t make them less of men. To help illustrate and normalize men crying for normal and silly things, we asked a few men what the weirdest and […]

May 10, 2021

According to the World Health Organisation, one in four Nigerians live with a mental health condition. That’s 50 million Nigerians. Yet, the country is ill-equipped to provide adequate care to the people who need it the most. With only eight federal government-run neuropsychiatric hospitals, there are a ton of people in need of mental health […]

Recommended Quizzes

January 2, 2020

Do you have even a single romantic bone in your body? Well, if you’re not sure about just how sweet and thoughtful you can be to someone you love, that’s what this quiz is here to answer. 11 Quizzes For Nigerians Who Are Ready To Marry  Are you ready to marry? Take these 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:

April 9, 2020

At some point in life, we all learnt that someone can be very intelligent and still lack common sense. That’s the difference between being book smart and being street smart. If you’re not sure where on the spectrum you fall, well, that’s what this quiz is here to tell you. Take it:

February 26, 2020

Are you all set for marriage, or are you still figuring it out? Well, if you’re curious to know the answer, then this is the quiz for you. All you have to do is create your own ideal Nollywood wedding film, and we’ll tell you if you’re ready to say “I do”. Go ahead:

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?

December 5, 2019

We already tried to guess how much you have in your account and your current net worth, and we think we did a pretty great job (keep any complaints to yourself). Now, we’re going to try and guess your monthly salary based on your relationship with money. Oya, take the quiz: 11 Timed Quizzes For […]

More from Citizen

May 4, 2021

What Is #Greenfielduniversity about? On April 20, 2020, 22 students and one staff member of Greenfield University, Kaduna state, were kidnapped by unidentified bandits, in what has been a recent spike in cases of abduction and killings in the country. On April 23, three days after this incident, three of those students were killed, with […]

April 30, 2021

The subject of today’s #AbroadLife is a 22-year-old man who left Nigeria immediately after secondary school. He talks about  being lonely in Canada and why he wants to come back home but can’t just yet.  When did you decide that you wanted to leave Nigeria? I didn’t make the decision. My parents made the decision […]

April 2, 2021

Today’s subject on Abroad Life started her process to leave Nigeria for the USA for school in 2017 and didn’t leave until two months ago. She talks about how money, COVID and visa problems delayed her travel plans. She also talks about arriving in the USA in the middle of a polar vortex and having […]

Watch

Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

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.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.

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