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.
The subject of today’s Abroad Life is a 22-year-old man who moved to the United States four years ago for school. He talks about how he went from being homesick, to never wanting to return to Nigeria, his plan to marry a white woman if all else fails and how he would’ve landed in Unilag after having sex in a public park.
First things first, what are you doing in the United States?
I came to Texas to study about five years ago. I graduated last year, and now I work at an insurance company. I’m trying to gain some experience, some money, and enjoy my life. I wanted to come back to Nigeria, but I’ve decided against that.
Don’t get me wrong, I’ll come to visit, but Nigeria is a mess right now.
Why do you think Nigeria is a mess?
We see what is going on, the country is a cruise. There aren’t a lot of opportunities for young people to find well paying jobs. I know that it’s a struggle. I want to work and see results. I feel like a lot of people here also complain about jobs not valuing them, but I’m pretty sure it’s better than in Nigeria. If you genuinely put in the work, you’ll see results. I can’t say the same about Nigeria.
At what point did you know you didn’t want to come back to Nigeria?
2018. My first year here was really tough for me because I was really far away from my family. I got homesick a whole lot but I met a lot of new people, and I started feeling at home, so I adapted.
I went back to Nigeria in 2018, and that’s when I realised I couldn’t come back. I spoke with my friends about their experiences and they weren’t very nice. I realised I cannot come back and suffer.
The picture I have of Texas is one where everyone is wearing cowboy hearts and have smoking pipes. The roads are dusty, everyone moves around with horses. Am I correct?
No you’re not correct. Texas is really big. Almost as big as Nigeria. There are some parts where you get the countryside vibes like you describe, but most of Texas is advanced, just like the rest of the US.
There’s a lot of racism. They’ll smile with you and all but they can kill you at your back. I haven’t had any wild experiences like getting attacked or something, but I just know it. I see the way people act. Many white people don’t like black people.
Do you have any white friends?
When I was in college, my group of friends was diverse, we had people from everywhere like Africa and Argentina, Colombia and even France. Naturally, there weren’t a lot of black people in my school so my group of friends had to be diverse. It’s always nice experiencing different cultures and how they live their lives.
What do Nigerians need to know about coming to get an education in the US?
There are schools and programs here that will pay you to go to school. I feel like enough people don’t know about this and it’s really annoying to me. All people need to do is some research and you’ll find that there’s so much opportunity here. For some schools and programs, you might not even pay anything, but they’ll pay you. After graduation you can work up to three years here without a work permit, so that’s your time to prove yourself to a company to show that you can bring them value. If the company sees that you add value to them regardless of where you’re from, and you have a good work ethic, they’ll apply for you to stay. Many people don’t know that, so they miss opportunities like that.
So what’s the dating scene like?
I’m not rushing into that. I want to secure the bag first. A lot of people have rushed into dating and marriage and they realize that they married someone crazy, and everything turns on its head. I want to be happy with the person I settle with. I think I should mention though, that if any of my plans to solidify my stay here don’t work, I can just decide to marry an American woman. It’s like Plan E. If none of the plans work, I’ll just go back to Nigeria. I’m kuku from there. Maybe our future leaders will have made it better.
So you’re not even seeing anyone?
Oh I have been with a couple of women here. It’s just never been serious. I noticed white girls like white guys. But African American and Mexican babes? God, they love me, and I love them too. God, University was wild.
What’s the wildest experience you had in University?
It was just a lot of those house parties that you see in movies. I loved it. Partying is really huge here. But an experience I can never forget is when one night, me and this babe were fucking in car, in a public park and the police pulled up. The thing is, the park was closed and nobody was meant to be there. So that’s one crime. Another was apparently indecent exposure, because what if some kids also decided to come to the park? I could have been registered as a sex offender.
The cop came over, told me to wear my shorts and move to the front seat, and then asked for our ID’s. At that point, I could already see myself in Murtala Mohammed Airport, and in UNILAG.
She ran our ID’s in her car and then came back and asked us why we were doing that in a public place. We told her we just got caught up and then she said “Next time, just find a hotel”.
I pray for her whenever I remember the incident because if she wanted to be wicked, she could have proceeded to land us in trouble. Anyways, I went back home that night to reflect on my life. I asked myself “Is this why my parents sent me to school?”
As a black person living in the US, what was the atmosphere like, when George Floyd was killed?
The George Floyd time was crazy. I felt angry and worried because it could’ve been me. But I didn’t protest because some of the protests turned violent, and I didn’t come here to die. The police were also arresting a lot of protesters and as a foreigner, the repercussions would have been worse for me if I got arrested.
I hear of a lot of natural disasters in Texas. Ever experienced one?
As far as natural disasters and shootings go, I’ve never directly experienced any of it. Maybe I’m lucky, maybe I’m blessed. The koko is, I’m alive and looking forward to the next day.
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.