Nigerian vs. American Culture

Definition of culture: the behaviors and beliefs characteristic of a particular social, ethnic, or age group:

I lived in Nigeria for 12years and in the states for 12years. Some differences I have noticed in Nigerian and American culture. I left Nigeria 12years ago, some things about Nigeria might be different but you will get the gist.

General Culture:
-Nigerian culture: grouped by language. Each language has its own culture. People who speak the same language share the same culture. For example: People who speak Yoruba language share the same culture.

-American culture: It’s really hard to sum up the American culture because it’s so diverse. The way people think in the North is not the way people think in the South. I think the social norms are similar across the states.

Social Norms

Nigerian: Can’t call your elders by their first name. Instead you say “Aunty” or “Uncle” even though they are not related to you. Professionally: Say “Madame” or “Sir”
American: Can call elders by their first name. Professionally: Say “Ma’am” or “Sir”

Nigerian Parents: Very strict and not affectionate. They are not open to meeting girlfriends or boyfriends except you are getting engaged to them.
American Parents: Lenient and more affectionate. They are open to meeting the people their kids are dating.

Nigerian: Kids can live with their parents till they get married with full support from their parents.
American: legal adult age is 18 which mean their parents can kick them out of the house at this age. That’s why a lot of Americans are independent by this age. Their culture encourages independence by 18.

Nigerian: Value Education.. Education is HUGE in our Culture!!!! Uneducated people are undermined and look down upon.
American: Education is huge in American Culture as well but it varies among ethnic groups.

Nigerian: Nursery, Primary and Secondary school students are required to wear uniforms. University students can wear what they like. Teachers and senior students can punish junior students in Primary and secondary schools.
American: Private school students have to wear uniforms. Public students can wear what they like. University students can wear what they like.

Nigerian: When I was in Nigeria, it wasn’t socially acceptable for girls to wear pants but I think time is changing (it’s becoming more socially acceptable).
American: Women can wear pants. It’s socially acceptable for women to wear pants. It is very possible for a woman to wear pants all year without wearing skirts and dresses (very possible).

Nigerian: You can bargain prices and buy things at a lower price. Supermarkets you can’t bargain.
American: No bargaining. The price you see is what you pay except they are on sale or you have a coupon. People can bargain at auctions and stuff.

Nigerian: Social economic class competitions.
American: Race Issues

Nigeria: Shake hands elders with both hands instead of one. Never greet an elder with a left hand. Showing respect to elders is very important in our culture.
American: Doesn’t really matter.

Please feel free to comment or email me [email protected]

28 thoughts on “Nigerian vs. American Culture

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