After 14 years in America, here’s my advice to my fellow Nigerians migrating to the United States of America. My advice is solely from my experience. This is not to negate the fact that your experiences might be different from mine.
1. Smile: Smiling is huge in the American culture. I remember a lot of Americans telling me that they thought I was “mean”(rude person) because I didn’t smile. Even if you don’t feel like smiling, smile because it shows that you are friendly.
2. If your name is hard to pronounce, be prepared for people to ask you if you have a nickname. I thought my name was simple until I came to the States. I had to teach a lot of Americans on the right way to pronounce my name. They asked me for a nickname, I say “no.” I hate people asking me for a nickname because it seemed like I was changing my name to fit their inability to pronounce my name. You can give them a nickname, that’s your call.
3. Be prepared to educate people on Africa: it depends on the types of people you meet. A lot of people are curious about Africans and Africa, so expect a lot of questions. Brush up on your African geography, history and be prepared to answer any questions. You will get intelligent questions as well, nothing tedious. Get ready. Don’t be surprised if somebody asks you if you have Ebola.
4. If you want attention, wear your African attire: you wear African attire like nothing back at home. Over here, people will look at you except you wear it in a place where they are familiar with African attires. You will get a lot of compliments for your African attires. Some Americans are intrigued by our African attires.
5. You have an accent-After 14 years in the States; Americans can still hear my accent. Americans will ask you a lot of questions about your accent.
6. If your friends invite you to the movies or somewhere that requires money. Don’t assume that because they invited you that there are responsible for paying. You are responsible for paying except they specifically tell you they will pay for you. If you don’t have money, let them know.
7.You can call everyone by their first names here, except for your teachers and boss. The whole Aunty and Uncle still apply for Nigerian adults here(at least for me).
Welcome to America!!! Buckle up, work hard, study hard and don’t forget to make Nigeria proud. Wink!!
Any questions? Please comment below or email me: firstname.lastname@example.org