Big Ben, London, United Kingdom (Photo by Luke Stackpoole on Unsplash)

Lagos Traffic for London Life: A Nigerian Student’s Brave Move to the UK

This is a tale of resilience and determination that showcases the indomitable spirit of a young Nigerian woman who defied the odds to pursue her dreams. Leaving behind the familiar chaos of Lagos traffic, she embarked on an extraordinary journey to experience and explore the world. Currently, she is diligently working towards her Master’s degree at a prestigious university in the United Kingdom.

With candor, she shared how this transformative journey has not only enriched her life but also fortified her character, making her stronger in the process. Despite the pangs of homesickness that accompany being away from her loved ones, she remains steadfast in her pursuit, fueled by the exhilaration of accomplishing her aspirations.

While she has chosen to remain anonymous, we extend our heartfelt gratitude to her for sharing this empowering narrative that resonates with the universal human spirit of striving for a better life. Her story serves as a beacon of hope, reminding us that every Nigerian possesses the inherent capability to surmount obstacles and realise their dreams, no matter how daunting the path may seem.

Welcome to Japa Stories by Leaving Nigeria. 

We hope you’ll love it. If you like to be featured in our Japa Stories, you can shoot us a mail here.

What country are you currently in?

I am in the UK

⁠How was traveling like to your new country? Was it easy, convenient, moderately difficult or extremely difficult? From visa application to tickets and the trip.

The decision to relocate was a scary and emotional experience for me. I had never made such a big move before, nor had I ever stayed away from my family for an extended period. The process was also financially draining – I spent a significant portion of my life savings on obtaining a visa, taking the IELTS exam, and paying for my flight ticket, among other expenses. Even after exhausting my savings, I still needed additional funds to make the move possible.

How has living in your new country been for you? Are there any challenges so far?

While I loved living in Nigeria, necessity demanded that I leave. I wanted to further my studies and open myself up to international opportunities, which Nigeria felt limiting for at the time. My desire to leave Nigeria stemmed from various levels of exhaustion, including the infamous Lagos traffic that could have me spending hours on the road every single day. Sometimes, it could be relatives or friends been stuck in the Lagos traffic. The air quality was also a major concern, with pollution levels oftentimes exceeding safe limits. Other inconveniences like election violence, the October 20 incident, terrorism, and lack of consistent electricity also took their toll. It got to the point where all my friends started leaving, and my parents and loved ones became increasingly worried about my future.


Is Japa the new Nigerian Dream?

What are your triumphs so far? Would you advise anyone to travel or relocate too?

So far, my relocation to the UK has been fair. Settling down completely is taking time, but that’s alright – it’s the same with every new beginning. I have been able to build a small community, resume my Master’s studies, and get volunteering opportunities. However, I am hesitant to advise anyone on whether to travel or relocate. I sometimes liken “japa” (the act of relocating from Nigeria) to salvation. Ultimately, everyone has to decide for themselves whether to stay or leave. I know people excelling in Nigeria, and I also know people who are not exactly thriving abroad. Breakthrough is not location-based; you have to weigh the costs.

⁠Do you miss Nigeria, what do you miss most about Nigeria?

Despite the challenges and opportunities, I miss Nigeria dearly. I miss my friends and family the most.

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