“The first time my dad brought up the idea of schooling in Ghana, I was not exactly thrilled”.

I had always wanted to be a doctor, so of course my father, pleased with that decision of mine, was ready to enroll me in one of the best universities that offered medicine. A friend of his told him about the University of Ghana, and off I went.

Going to a new country to study should be an exciting venture, not a baffling ordeal, as going to university is a major step in life. I became pretty excited, as I knew basically nothing about the school and I love discovering new things and places by myself, provided I am not killed in the process.

My first few days in the University of Ghana were discouraging, because I knew nothing about the school. Well, it wasn’t just me but a lot of other new International students. It was easy to spot a new person on campus, because we all looked the same: quiet, unsure of what to do and practically “lost”. Even with the school map we were given, we had no idea where anywhere was, because the school seemed so huge. I went to a small, private high school and it was a big adjustment going to a public university of about 30, 000 students. I have never met so many people in just one place.

One of my best moments was meeting a close friend back from high school who also became my course mate, and together we sorted out our accommodation and timetable.

Pretty soon, I started to get comfortable and even knew all the shortcuts to getting to different areas of school. I adjusted myself to the really hot weather in Ghana and how sometimes it felt as if the sun was burning my arms (I got darker in two weeks).

It was funny how my Ghanaian friends and other Ghanaians I met everyday always got surprised by my Nigerian accent, it was always easy spotting a Nigerian just by speaking with him or her for just five minutes. In a short while, I made a lot of friends from different places and met so many people. I joined a church on campus, volunteered for a group of disadvantaged primary school girls and was elected as the Vice President of the International Students Association in my hostel in my first year. Together with my new friends, I went out to the mall to shop and watch movies (the mall was so close to uni), tried out new local and foreign dishes, went to different beaches, and also went on road trips and to concerts. Once in a while I would miss Nigeria and my family, but I always missed Nigerian food! The Ghanaian food didn’t really entice me, but I was stuck with it.


In the lecture rooms, the Nigerians loved to sit at the back of class, but being short-sighted (which no one seemed to believe), I always strived to get a front row seat else my going to class would have been in vain all the time. Lectures were alright, just that some lecturers made them quite boring. I had to struggle to keep my eyes open sometimes and I would wake up when I dozed off to the sound of laughter to jokes I never really understood.

Shuttle buses take students to their lecture rooms, and many times I had to run to be able to catch one. My roommate, also a Nigerian who was a year ahead of me joined me in the chase few times and it was fun. Sometimes, we would laugh at the Ghanaian boys who did not have a good sense of fashion, with some of them wearing weird-looking clothes to lectures.

Studying in Ghana so far has been a great experience, coupled with my university’s very high standard of education. Everyone who comes here has to study really hard to make good grades, but then I have learned to balance my life with hanging out with friends, going to church and learning how to dance salsa and azonto.

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2 Responses

  1. Michelle Spice

    You are Afrikans going to school in another part of Afrika! What is there so strange about that or to get use to? You are amongest your people you are not living with Europeans nor any other ethnicities in large numbers so what is there so strange that you are not able to adjust and get use to?

    Ah my people!

    • Sinem Bilen-Onabanjo

      It still has its challenges for many young people to leave home for the first time and get used to living with people other than family. Don’t you think?


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