Abroad Life: What Should Nigerians Know Before Moving Abroad?


March 13, 2020

To hear most Nigerians tell it, living abroad, and we’re talking any abroad here ⁠— The UK, Italy, any part of Benin Republic ⁠— feels like living in a cross between heaven, the garden of Eden and paradise. But boy, do we have news for you today.

Nigerians living abroad

Yes, living abroad has its upsides, in a basic amenities, 24-hours electricity, governmental welfare programs type of way, but there are certain things Nigerians ought to be aware of before making the big leap to buy the IELTS forms for that move abroad.


Every week, we’ve spoken to Nigerians scattered across continents for Abroad Life. Here are their first-hand accounts of what it’s like to be a Nigerian abroad.

Anonymous, South Africa.

Nigerians and South Africans have had a tangled past, thanks to frequent bouts of xenophobia.

On what South Africans think about Nigeria, our anonymous feature had this to say:

“South Africans blur the lines where immigrants and foreign nationals are involved. They use ‘Nigerians’ as a blanket term.” Immigrants are blamed for everything … the lack of jobs in South Africa…”

“I’m very cautious when I tell people my name. I’ll admit there have been times where I just leave it out that I’m Nigerian because you never know who you might be speaking to, they could be violent, they could have a specific anti-Nigerian/immigrant axe to grind.”

On what life as a Nigerian immigrant in South Africa feels like.

“In trains and bus stations, they stop people (immigrants) and ask for their Identity cards.”

“Some immigrants were selling ‘counterfeit clothes’ in Central Johannesburg… Nigerians were somehow blamed for that”

Read the full story here.

Dexter, Ireland.

Dexter is a frequent flier who likes to collect stamps on his passport as a hobby. If you’re looking to start a trade President Buhari’s side-hustle as a travel vlogger, you might want to know a few things about certain countries.

If you’re looking to travel to Indonesia…

My friends and I were planning to go to Indonesia in the summer of 2020. While I was doing some research for the group, we found that Nigerians need to get a ‘Calling visa’ that’s a special approval from the immigration boss in Indonesia’s capital – Jakarta. 

Then we also had to find a sponsor who would be an Indonesian citizen or permanent resident, who would then be required to go for their own interview too. My friends and I didn’t feel welcome, so we won’t be going there anymore.”

But, if you’re looking for the easiest place to get a visa.

 “I applied online and the (Turkey) visa was sent to my email in forty minutes.”

But before you call your Turkish visa plug, you should know one thing:

“(In) Istanbul-Turkey, you are going to find dogs on the streets, dogs on the expressway. Dogs chilling in groups, like organising their own little party and hanging out. Dogs just everywhere.”

Read the full story here.

Grace, Canada.

Nigerians living abroad

For many Nigerians, Canada is the far-away home they’ll finally get to visit if the embassy stops hating and grants the academic visa they’ll eventually finesse into a permanent residency. But for all its supposed glitz, Canada didn’t immediately feel like home to Grace.

On loneliness in Canada. 

“I’ve always felt like I’m being held hostage in this country with its better standard of living and constant light and promise of a better life … I was 17 when I moved here and contrary to the dream everyone has about moving to Canada, I was just honestly and truly miserable.”

“It was hard as fuck adjusting to a new life in the beginning. I just wanted to be with my family and friends.”

On accommodation in Canada.

Yo, rent is so expensive here. When I moved out of student accommodation to get a place of my own with friends, the prices were giving me, what do they call it? Chest pain.

But it’s not all bad, not even close. On Canadian kindness:

I was at the side of a street, just shivering and wondering who sent me message when some lady came over and gave me a spare hairnet to put over my shoes so I’d be able to walk over the ice.

Read her full story here.

Segun, Germany.

If Germany is your dream location, you might want to listen to a couple of the pointers you’ll need to cope, courtesy Google developer expert for android – Segun Famisa.

On getting a German visa.

These days … I hear it can take up to ten months, just to get an appointment to apply for the (German) visa.”

On the German language turning his whole head upside down.

“You see this word – Adoflstraße? That ‘ß’ is pronounced as a double ‘s’, so if you’re pronouncing it, you would ay ‘Adolfstrasse’. One day, I spent like an hour asking people for directions to ‘Adolfstrabe’.”

On German peculiarities.

“They (Germans) can lead very isolated lives. Like I’ve had my neighbour for two years and I think I’ve only seen him once. Maybe he has a baby? I say a stroller outside his house one time.”

Read his full article here

Tolu, London.

nigerians living abroad

The UK completes the holy trifecta of countries Nigerians are setting special prayer alarms to move to. For Tolu, a chance at a stellar education led her to Charlie’s mom’s city. Here’s what she has to say:

On an alternative way to get the visa to the UK.

“I applied for this PTDF scholarship, the government allows you to pick a school of your choice, any school at all and they fund it. (The government) paid for a priority visa, after 5 working days I got it, the next day I was on my way to the UK.”

On the nicest thing a Londoner has done for her.

“In London, when I first arrived and was lugging my suitcase about, I was going up and downstairs, carrying load, just sweating and trying to find my boundaries. A very kind, kind Muslim man who couldn’t speak English and only told me ‘Bismillah’, helped me carry my load own the stairs. I almost cried, I was so thankful.”

Read her full story here.

Nigerian experiences are colourful and varied across the world. To have personalised accounts of individual Nigerian experiences across countries like China, Italy, Hungary, The US etc, keep reading.

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.

Psst. I need your help making Abroad Life the very best series it can be, can you take half a minute, okay maybe two minutes, to fill this form? You’re the best!

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