Culture Clash: All About My KIU Trip to Nigeria
My Welcome to Nigeria
Nigeria is a country comprised of 36 states with its federal capital in Abuja. The lifestyle there is quite interesting. The way people interact with one another is welcoming and so amazing. Nigerians are friendly and always fast at identifying with other people from other countries. I was being mistaken for a Ghanaian in every office I went to because of my accent. Apparently, Ugandans speak like Ghanaians. Who knew?
Oh, and by the way, I discovered that Nigerians are very aggressive and speak very loudly. The soft-spoken ones are considered sick and directed to the sick bed, haha!
When in Lagos…
In Nigeria,the dress code for ladies is really long African dresses. After a while, I started to feel out of place with my usual Ugandan wear, haha! So I adapted. On one of my trips, I had the pleasure of visiting an Islamic school with an interesting sign that boldly stated, “Mind your dress code.” For me, this was an opportunity to appreciate how important a dress code can be in foreign lands. So, one has to be careful to always be dressed in a culturally appropriate way. Like wise men say, “When in Rome. You live like the Romans.”
The Music I loved the music. It was danceable, very danceable, with great African beats.
The Food All their dishes are full of hot hottest pepper, Pepe!!! This is a must each time you order for any kind of food. It has to come with hot pepper!!!It doesn’t matter if you specified for them not to include pepper. You will get pepper!!! I had to ask my hotel to give me access to the kitchen so I can make my own food.
Developing Cultural IQ
It is wonderful to go and travel and learn other cultures in order to be immersed in a culture that is extraordinary to you, where you can experience things that wouldn’t be offered at home.
Nigerians have good skills, knowledge and are quite ambitious. Nigeria has more than 250 ethnic groups, with varying languages and customs, creating a country of rich ethnic diversity. The largest ethnic groups are the Fulani / Hausa, Yoruba, and Igbo.
I tried to grasp a few of the basics of Hausa which helped me fit in a little, in some of the communities we visited. We traveled to many areas far south, the far north, and the east. The far north is defined by its almost desert-like climate with too much heat and scorching heat.
I had an opportunity to interact with some parents. They had many reasons as to why they sometimes send their children to study in other countries much as they embrace their own educational systems. I was particularly impressed by the rationale that many of them think it’s a great opportunity for their children to learn new perspectives and experience new educational systems in different countries. These parents wanted to give their children an opportunity to become more knowledgeable about the wider world and to experience different cultures.
Linguistically, Nigerians speak Pidgin English. I try to grasp it now. One trick is to add “Oo” at the end of every sentence.
Like, “I’m going to the market, Oo.” Or, “How much is that fufu corn, Oo.” Get it? No? That’s okay.
Why You Should Travel
In summary, traveling to other countries is an enriching experience because it forces you to adapt to the unfamiliar. You become independent and open to new, exciting, or terrifying challenges that you would never have encountered in your home country.
And the most rewarding of all was the opportunity to learn and develop as a person because you will discover things about yourself that you may not have known before in your beliefs, your passions, and your character. Through interacting with a foreign society, your eyes will be open to all sorts of aspects of life that would be difficult to learn in your native country.