My first day at BCU. It was during the welcome week and a lot of activity was going on. My first shock was seeing that the campus had only a couple of buildings. If you were like me, you’d be used to having a university campus at least the size of Digbeth with its fancy gate and separate faculty buildings. Being in the UK as a whole has provoked some culture shock, but this is what makes travelling to new places exciting.

Take the right-hand drive for instance. This still confuses me. I come from Nigeria where the driver sits on the left and I have to constantly remind myself where to look when crossing the road. I have not yet made the mistake of going for the driver’s seat when I order a taxi, but this is because I’ve made the point of actively reminding myself that a different system operates here.

The food experience has been lovely. There are days when I miss home food (e.g. the African fufu and sumptuous egusi soup) but being exposed to all kinds of foods from different continents has been fascinating.

Then there is coffee. Cappuccino, americano, latte, name it. I don’t yet understand any of them or what makes them different. But I find the near obsession with coffee interesting. Again, if you were like me, you would be more of a tea person.

Weather forecasts mean little to me now – all I know is that I’m always cold. Back home, the weather rarely goes below 18 degrees and the sun is almost always glorious. Over here, even the sun seems cold. Not surprising, this is the biggest shock for me.

Everyone keeps to himself here. I don’t even know my neighbours. This is strange for me. If you ever lived in Nigeria, even in a cosmopolitan city like Lagos, you’d find that people are highly interested in what happens in one another’s lives and they are very expressive of this interest in the relationship they share with people in their immediate locale. And unlike here, you really don’t need a map in Nigeria because you can always ask anyone for directions.

But things are different in the UK and being in a different environment, experiencing a new culture is what makes it fun.


Vincent Obia


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