Disclaimer: This is not a SUB, just in case you’re thinking it is. It is a good, infact a great prospect, to live outside Nigeria (24/7 Internet and Electricity combo is something most young folks can’t resist) but if that’s your only life-goal, then you’re WRONG, and I will tell you why. Not that I consider myself an authority on this subject, what do I even know and how many countries have I been to?😅 Just hear me out first. I’ll try to make it interesting. Enjoy!
Actually, when you look through my list carefully, the central message is clear, most people equate success/wealth/comfort with living abroad. I’ll try to debunk each of those myths with some of the knowledge I’ve gained over a few years.
Myth 1: GOING ABROAD MEANS YOU’RE SUCCESSFUL.
It’s such a shame that a lot of young, old, educated and non-educated people alike, still carry the mindset that going abroad (whether for a period of time or a lifetime) translates to success. By success, I mean material wealth. You’ll hear folks boast about having their Father’s Cousin’s Husband in Germany or Australia or Spain, and that kinda elevates their social status among their peers. Most people don’t even know what exactly is going on with the said person.
Folks abroad may have more chances at succeeding based on the easy access to the resources made available to them, but the criteria for success in any area of life, no matter your location, still remains the same: Diligence, Determination and Discipline. And I’ve heard a number of stories about abroadees working twice as hard as their counterparts in Nigeria.
“If you’re lazy, you can’t survive abroad.” It’s that simple.
Myth 2: WHERE YOU ARE DETERMINES WHO YOU ARE.
Many people are also quick to assume that it is their environment that defines them. It’s the reason why a lot of young people hustle tirelessly just to travel outside Nigeria.
The truth is, Abroad is not all of that. Hear what the bible says:
“The earth is the Lord ʼs, and everything in it, the world, and all who live in it;”
(Psalm 24:1 NIV)
While you can be largely influenced by your environment, it is what is on your inside that ultimately becomes enhanced. Your environment enables you to do the things you’ve always wanted to do.
People don’t necessarily change when they go abroad, they just become better (whether for good or bad) at who they already are. So a shift in your mindset is of more importance than a change in your location.
Permit me to say this, if you’re not sure of who you are, where you live will not matter. It is people that add value to a place and not vice-versa.
Myth 3: GREAT OPPORTUNITIES ONLY EXIST IN DIASPORA.
To many going Overseas, it is like going to a fairyland where opportunities are there on the streets waiting to be picked up. This isn’t necessarily true.
Great opportunities abound around us, to the extent we choose to see them.
Every Opportunity you discover was created by a need. If you can indentify the needs of people around you, you will discover that several opportunities exist, even here in Nigeria. You simply need to DISCOVER to DELIVER.
Thank God for several entrepreneurs producing worthwhile goods or services across the Fashion, Music, and Food industries. It’s especially easier when you have cultivated the mindset of CONTRIBUTING to your society rather than just CONSUMING from it.
Myth 4: EVERYTHING IS ALRIGHT OVERSEAS.
Every nation that man inhabits has some forces (or demons) to contend with. Whether it is political unrest or economic recession, famine or earthquakes, religious intolerance, militants invasion, subtle racism or drug burdens; there is always a fight behind-the-scenes. As lovely as it was to school in the Caribbean, there was always the rumor of hurricanes, volcanoes or storms lurking nearby. During my stay in St. Vincent, we experienced some fatal floods that didn’t exactly leave the island the same way, not to talk of earth tremors and several storm watches. Thank God for safety on all sides.
Those in other parts of the world can also count some of the challenges they face on a daily basis. Of course, Naija has a truckload of problems as well, but not everything is bad with us
So dear Wannabe-Abroadees, pls think before you leap. Wherever you plan to port to, make sure it is worth the cost of everything you have (which may include your life).
Myth 5: LIFE IS AUTOMATIC WHEN YOU’RE ABROAD.
An automatic life simply put, is the life that has it all, the wealth, the glitz and the glamour. Suddenly several folks begin to look up to you like you’ve arrived. But it’s not that simple. Living abroad also has its ups and downs. Like everyone else in Naija, life happens to abroadees too.
Some People struggle through physical, emotional or financial needs. Life abroad is generally more expensive, the next bills come in almost as soon as the previous ones get settled. The electricity/gas/cable being used are not free. Someone has to pay for all the enjoyment. A lot of people are also away from their loved ones, the loneliness faced can sometimes be terrifying.
Trust me, not everything gets to Social media. Behind some happy faces are heavy hearts. So be careful not to turn that Uncle in Canada or Aunty in UK, into a vending machine, and don’t get mad if he or she can’t afford to send you some dollars/pounds this Christmas.
“Remember, Family isn’t a right, it’s a privilege.”
Myth 6: EVERYWHERE IN JAND IS BEAUTIFUL.
Somewhere abroad vs LAGOS…😶
That a place is ugly, dirty or rundown, doesn’t mean it is exclusive to Nigeria. Although I’d say it’s more common here. Lots of places abroad are beautiful, no doubt. But one thing I think of is their high level of maintenance, and many of us lack that quality in Nigeria.
Side-Story: I remember how I was almost furious with my second Landlady in SVG, when she complained about some stains on the gas cooker in my apartment. According to her, she and her husband have maintained an almost spotless cooker for 19 years (😱😁). I just had to swallow a chill pill because I initially thought I was doing my best as per cleaning the cooker. Funny enough, I’d visited some Nigerian friends’ apartments, whose cookers fared worse. [There were other things she complained of, but I won’t bore you with the details.]
My mindset about quality maintenance has since improved.
My point is, a lot of us don’t pay enough attention to our immediate environment, much less public buildings. In Secondary school, I even had the bad habit of defacing walls and furniture with my signature: “So and So was here”. I’ve since repented..lol.
Our carelessness doesn’t help our image as a country. And I’m a very strong advocate of keeping our environment clean. I love neat, organized and colorful places. Don’t you?
We should all cultivate the habit of putting the trash in the trash can, and not inside the drains or on our roads. That’s a good place to start. Forget the fact that the Government sometimes employs cheap labor to clean the roads. Let the change begin with you.
“The grass is always greener on the other side, because we’ve refused to maintain ours.”
Myth 7: STAYING ABROAD MEANS YOU ARE RICH.
Not everybody abroad is rich o. I know that from personal experience.
Not everyone has enough to even eat 3 square meals or pay their house rent.
As a foreign student (with no work-permit) plus Buhari’s Economic Recession, this year was especially tough. Thank God I made it back alive…Haha.
Pls don’t sell all your life’s investments to pursue a life outside the country without concrete plans. It’s at your own risk. That kind of pressure makes people do stupid things like drugs, con acts or prostitution and unfortunately some end up in jail. If you don’t have the credible means (skills/qualifications/funds) for sustenance abroad, pls stay at home. Tenkiu!
I hope you found the post enlightening. You can share some of your thoughts too.
The next post in the series is 5 TIPS TO SURVIVE ABROAD. Pls watch this space.
Thank you for reading.