I had previously posted this on UKnaWAH, the forum for Nigerians in the UK, to talk about their experiences to help each and every one of us in this land. Unfortunately, it did not take off. This post is targeted at those coming down for the first time and might be useful to those that have visited but not schooled in the UK. The suggestions are from my own perspective i.e Male, Warwick University MSc JJC. DO NOT take it as authoritative.
So you have made it to JD, congrats! Well, this list is a combination of what I would do if I am coming again, (in no order) and some things you should just know.
- I would buy all my clothes in Yaba! Not necessarily Yaba but in Nigeria. Clothes are cheaper in Nigeria because they come from China directly. Don’t worry about buying clothes that are good but mass supplied in Nigeria because they will not be here. e.g. I have not seen one Hackett shirt (which was in vogue when I left) since I arrived a year ago.
- I would attend orientation: coming late did not help when trying to integrate. JJC no good. It is better to be ‘jambiteish’ when everyone around is.
- I would learn how to cook: Believe me, the sweet sound of sausage, ham, baked beans e.t.c is highly overrated. In one week, you will long for your home food and you have to cook it.
- I would learn how to cut hair: Spending 12 pounds to cut your hair every week is not the best use of money. Believe me, cutting your hair is not that hard.
- I would plan my December holiday immediately I arrive: I waited till December to attempt planning my holiday for December. Unfortunately, having a Nigerian passport is not the best if you want to travel at shortest notice. In December, it is virtually impossible to get a visa appointment and it is about 4 weeks to process a visa.
- I would learn how to write an academic document: Believe me, if you want to survive here, you better learn how to reference and write academic documents. PLAGIARISM of any sort (you will be amazed what is termed plagiarism here) is not accepted. Don’t worry there is no other way but to learn how to reference. It will save you a lot of time.
- I would attend all social events in the early days (with flat and class mates), it is important to mix early…after bonds have been formed, it is difficult to break in.
- I would NEVER buy any winter/long term attire from PRIMARK…I swear, I did not know better, my men Emma and Uche mislead me. It is best to buy all your long term things from quality places
- I would join as many club and societies. The amount of skills to learn are enamous. For Warwick students, I would recommend PhotoSoc, Warwick Entrepreneurs and Warwick sports.
- I would apply for jobs early! Entries for the next year vacancies close by October.
- I would buy a Lebara or Lyca mobile line. Most of your early calls will be to home (Nigeria). It is the most economical and smart decision to make. Take you time and choose a contract that appeals to you later on.
- I would get my international driver’s lisence from home. You can drive for a year with it.
- I would stay off campus (if i do not get Tocil). You can save as much as 40 percent of on Campus rent.
- I would ensure I forget the conversion rate from pounds to Naira. I almost did not eat for the first week cos two slices of bread (you might call it sandwich) cost at least 2 p0unds i.e N500
- I would buy all the software I need from the good old computer village. Believe me, just do it.
This is an article in progress. I will update it as I receive comments and I remember more things.
Oo, KCOB, MSc (Warwick)