Many may agree that it takes not only courage, but also determination for a person to leave his country of origin, fly for more than 4000 miles, solely in the quest for knowledge and self-development. Coming from Nigeria, a country in West Africa, with totally diverging cultural and societal values, it was interesting to be adopted into a new society, learning a foreign way of life.
Many noticeable differences exist between such complex societies as Nigeria and the United States, most of which are hinged on culture, language, food, and lifestyle.
Culture, which is simply the social make-up of any society, plays a pivotal role in shaping behavior. It is natural to experience a “culture shock” when introduced to a new culture. A typical example of culture shock in America for me was having to show an ID before buying alcohol at a liquor store. Ha! This is not to say that Nigeria is a lawless society, but unlike the atomistic culture of the American society, the web of interaction and social bond is much tighter. This serves as a sort of “safety valve” that checks behavior.
It is imperative to state that Nigeria has over 250 different tribes, each speaking its own unique language, but that not the direction of the gist. Although the educational curriculum is in English, there are still some hilarious differences between American and Nigerian English. It’s not strange to hear people in America ask questions like “are you mad?” when they think you are upset, or “you are so silly,” when they feel like you are being comical. These remarks in Nigeria are deemed insulting and will probably be met with a frown. This difference in language is perhaps incumbent on the fact that English remains a second language over there. Continue reading