“I grew up in Abuja, Nigeria and moved here on a sponsorship for school. In Nigeria, traditionally, parents decide where the child goes to school. It is very important to obey your parents and go to the school they choose for you. Bemidji State is very different from Nigeria in a lot of ways. Eye contact was a very big change. In Nigeria it’s a sign of defiance to show eye contact and I had to adjust to giving people eye contact her
e. Typically in Nigeria, you would sit or stand on the same side and look forward while speaking. You don’t really look directly at each other.”
Another big change is the clothing, Godwin noted. In Nigeria, women often wear skirts and women in America typically wear pants. The weather is also a huge change as Nigeria can get as hot as 110 degrees and doesn’t get much colder than 60 degrees.
“I also had to learn what a “personal bubble” was,” Godwin explained. “It is custom to hug someone after a conversation or after you meet them in Nigeria and gaining acceptance because of this cultural difference was difficult.”
“I was also surprised to see so many young people driving. In Nigeria you have to be 27 years old to get a driver’s license and most people rely on public transportation. I like that people have the option to drive earlier here, it is more convenient and safer.”
By: Carli-Rae Manjorin