I’ve been back in Nigeria for ten months now. When I speak to others, people often ask why I came back to Nigeria?
Well, I came back to Nigeria because I’m not an American citizen. I was in New York for my studies on a student visa. After I graduated, I was able to extend the visa for a year to gain work experience and once I completed that, it was time to come back home.
I know life in Nigeria certainly has its challenges but I can honestly tell you that there is a certain level of peace that I have here that I didn’t have in New York. Here are the reasons why I appreciate being back home.
No More Visa Stress
If you’re an international student in America with hopes of living and working there after studies, you can become consumed with the idea of obtaining the visa to stay. I was. I did the best I could but I was overwhelmed, burdened and depressed by my pursuit to obtain a U.S. work visa.
It was hard to focus on my career goals because the career I sought was not what was favored in granting work visas to foreigners. It’s often careers in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) that are more eligible for U.S. work visas. Whereas, I’m in the field of communications.
Even when I was a student, there were challenges. Though I completed five internships as a student, the internships my eyes were on were for a media station. For that, I needed to have unrestricted work authorization which is not possible since you’re on a student visa.
Here, I have the freedom and peace of mind to not worry about a visa. I can focus freely on my ambitions and simply, enjoy my life more.
..I Got All My Sisters And Me…
The saying goes, there’s no place like home. Being in a different country where you don’t have immediate access to your family can be difficult. It can make you feel alone and disconnected.
Coming back, I revel in being able to be around my parents, siblings and Nigerians. They provide me with great comfort, support and joy. Knowing that home is not far away makes a positive difference in my life.
You Get A Sense of Belonging
You can’t expect to go to a foreign land and feel that complete sense of belonging. If you didn’t grow up in that environment and if you don’t really identify with the issues and concepts your peers discuss, then you will hardly feel at home in another man’s land.
Here, I identify with and feel more invested in the topics and issues discussed because it is about my country. Here, I’m more committed to seeing how I can make a difference because the plights and struggles faced are from my people. Here, I’m learning to assimilate and adapt back to my culture. This process of learning and assimilation makes me connected.
The photos were shot by the very talented: Emeka Ihekweazu
If you’ve come back to Nigeria from being abroad, what are your thoughts?