Immigrating to a new country like Canada can be both fascinating and overwhelming! From the early stages of planning, packing and arrival to learning the ways of the new culture, getting used to the new climate and the occasional feeling of loneliness. And just add this to the demands of schooling and adjusting to a new academic environment in a faraway like Canada.
Recently, we chatted with Michael Fayehun about his study life in Canada as a masters student. He described the difference in study experience in Universities in Nigeria and in the University in Canada where he studied and He also described certain interesting instances of culture shock.
What’s your level of education in Nigeria before you travelled out?
Left in the middle of my BSc.
What’s your area of study?
Computer Science & Information Technology.
As a Nigerian student, what were the differences you noticed in the teaching methods in Universities abroad?
Firstly, you are thought to understand the “WHY” abroad, which involves understanding concepts, how things work and “WHY” things work the way they work.
What would you say about the lecturer-student relationship where you studied (or are studying) abroad? – Or how the University management relates to students
Some professors are way very approachable and available to the students – to an extent you’re able to form a friendship with some of them. Some actually care and help students with anything they are struggling with.
What’s the most shocking culture shock experience you witnessed as a Nigerian abroad?
I think the biggest for me is the work or school life balance over here. Everyone is busy and there isn’t that much of that friend or family vibe we get back home – being able to go out or hang out with your friends and family whenever you want. It is not always their fault as everyone has his/her own thing always going on with them, keeping them busy, be it school or work. I should also add that it was a shock to me when I figured out how easy it is to get a job here as a student. If you are open-minded, and not lazy, you will be fine.
Are there certain funny experiences you’d like to share?
Oh, yea! I was a student-athlete at University. As a footballer back home in Nigeria, you’re known to be a great footballer by how much skill or strength you can show on the pitch. I struggled when I got drafted to the team because it’s more of a team sport here and you’re expected to play for the team over showing your individual ability.
It was more about doing the simple things for the most part and definitely showing some individual skills, but only when required. I learnt over time and made adjustments. It is a funny experience and also a teachable moment looking back now. This is also applicable to other areas like work as well.
Any advice for Nigerians who want to study in the country where you study?
Nigerians are some of the smartest people I know in the world, and for the most part, I do not expect them to struggle especially if they have the work ethic so my advice would be to come over and just do it for the better exposure and opportunities available over here. Ontario’s old motto was “Yours to discover” and it really sums up the experience here. You can be whatever you want to be!
How would you describe the hospitality of Canadians to immigrants, especially Africans?
From my experience, it’s been very positive. I have heard of people that had a different experience but I think that the positives outweigh the negative. To thrive here in Canada, it is important to have an open mind about meeting and talking to people outside your culture and you will find that you will get a lot of help. Overall it is very positive in my experience and opinion.
Are there specific things to look out for when applying for scholarships in Canada?
Financially, it is cheaper to school in Manitoba, New Brunswick, Newfoundland and Labrador, Prince Edward Island, and Saskatchewan. Ontario is probably the most expensive to school and to live in.
How is the Nigerian community in Canada
The Nigerian community in Canada is surprisingly large, you’ll be surprised. In the Toronto area where I live, there are quite a lot of African stores and Nigerian restaurants to get food from.
How easy is it for a student to find work in Canada?
I personally think it is not hard to get jobs as a student, as long as you’re open-minded and willing to put in the work. The most popular jobs for students are customer service related jobs, security jobs, on-campus jobs, or call centre jobs.
What’s your opinion on staying back after school in Canada?
If you can, do it! It is a land of so many opportunities for hard-working people. Networking is also vital to getting ahead in careers over here, so it is very important to network while in school and leverage your network as you progress in your career.
Life as a student can be without stress, and you should experience this. Speak with an International Education Counsellor here to help you with your plans and budget for international education.