Change of style. “It was quite difficult to change my style of clothes when I first moved to the Netherlands for my Bachelor Studies four years ago. In Nigeria, we wear really traditional clothes, dresses rather than trousers, made of more natural textiles. Wearing jeans every day was something I had to get used to. Especially since I come from Maiduguri, a city in the north of Nigeria, which is more conservative and not used to Western fashion. In the south of the country, people are more liberal and familiar with Western culture.”

Food, sun and collective culture. “The change in food habits was another cultural aspect I had to get used to, and one of the things I miss the most. Traditional African food usually takes a long time to prepare, and I don’t have time due to my studies. Besides, vegetables and meat are very expensive. So, I’ve really adjusted to eating pasta and bread much more frequently, like the Europeans. I also miss the sun and the collective culture. Even if they’re not blood-related, people in Africa have more of a ‘family attitude’, whereas in Europe people are individualistic.”

Image credit: Anna Mazur

African communities. “There are more African places to go and eat, party and meet new people than you might think. My favourite restaurants are Mama Essi and De smaak van Africa. I’ve made some good friends through the Association of Students of African Heritage, joining different Afro-beat parties or seminars with guest speakers.”

Out of my comfort zone. “It’s uncommon for Nigerians to go and study in the Netherlands. The UK is more popular. My sister is currently studying there too. But I wanted to get out of my comfort zone and experience something totally new. When I arrived, it was a bit difficult but I had no choice than to adapt, and the multicultural aspect of the city also played a helpful role. Now I’m glad that I chose to come to Rotterdam. It’s made me stronger, more confident and ready to face life’s challenges as an adult. I don’t often go to the UK to visit my sister, because it’s difficult to arrange a British visa, so the whole family – my parents, sister and four brothers – only reunites in summer.”