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Tuesday, March 14, 2017

#NigeriansinDiaspora- Miss A

Leaving Nigeria for Canada right out of boarding school has been such a mixed experience for me. Sometimes I wonder if things would have turned out any different if I did A levels in Nigeria and explored the country a bit more. I really thought boarding school in Nigeria prepared me fully for what to expect in life outside the country.
I came to Canada at the age of 16 to further my education. I enrolled in a foundation program in Canada just to help ease my transition into the Canadian system, which, to me now, seems extremely unnecessary. Although,I met some really amazing friends there that quickly became family. The choice of location for the foundation program was very remote compared to other places in Canada, so as you can imagine, things were just about to get tough for a new bee like me. Arriving in September, the weather was already changing and although most people in Canada still considered the weather "great" since fall was just around the corner, it was harmattan for me but 10 times worse.


My first year wasn't the greatest experience. Like I mentioned, the foundation program was in a small and remote town and it had a population of not more than 20,000 people at the time. Most of them didn't really have experience dealing with people from other races so there was a culture shock for both parties. Sometimes on the buses, even if where we Nigerian students sat had the last vacant seat, people will rather stand than sit beside us; I thought these things only happened on TV. On few occasions ignorant people will shout racial slurs at us, unfortunately. I knew I had to leave, after a year, to somewhere more diverse and accepting. 

Although, the foundation program tried to integrate the students into the Canadian system as much as possible, they organized lots of outdoor activities like ice skating, kayaking, camping and others, it still will never compensate for the first horrible impression I had of Canada. I applied to schools in other provinces and bigger cities. I was fortunate to be accepted into one of the universities in the capital city, which was such a better and different experience. I really thought I was in a totally different country, people were definitely more friendly, more accepting, people tried to start conversations.

My advice to people considering moving, please research the location of your choice of study thoroughly because it can make or mar your experience. Not everywhere in this abroad is necessarily a greener pasture because one needs a strong support system when they are leaving family and loved ones to a different place, with different cultures, languages, weather, manner of speaking and behaving. 

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