Nigerian students generally have a liking for studying in the UK. Little wonder that despite the various challenges they face, they are constantly at the forefront of academic excellence in the United Kingdom. Regardless of the challenges they face in the UK, they always find a way to face their giants and defeat them. Aware of the numerous opportunities for academic research and development, Nigerians, every year, apply to study in the UK which plays host to world-class academic institutions. Nigerians studying in the UK enjoy a bitter-sweet experience. Sweet because of the value added yet bitter because of the hurdles faced along the way. Here are the top Challenges Nigerian Students face while Studying in the UK.
Financial difficulties, academic setbacks, cultural differences, weather conditions and a host of other minor challenges common with international students all over the world. The hallmark of an excellent student is the ability to overcome these and many other challenges that could come knocking.
Let’s walk through these challenges and find out how to overcome them.
Every international student experience “culture shock,”. The degree varies as a result of the student being previously exposed to the type of culture and those who will be only be exposed to the culture just for the first time. Cultures governing everyday life, one of which is greetings, is diametrically opposed to the typical Nigerian culture and several traditions within Nigeria which gives room for genuflecting, Prostrating or bowing the head as a sign of respect. This is, however, not the case here in the UK. This and many other cultural patterns could seem strange and overwhelming at first or difficult to navigate through. But with time and willingness to reasonably go with the flow, this challenge will become a thing of the past.
How to Overcome it
- You have to be mentally prepared for the culture shock. You are expected to do thorough research about the US culture
- Ask questions. Your friends and colleagues who are over should be able to furnish you with the required information. If you do not have friends there, you can ask questions from the embassy within your country.
- Be open to making new friends. The airport and plane is a good place to start. Upon arrival, avenues will present themselves for you to make friends. Ensure not to be cut in the web of yourself. Launch out!
The British Accent
Before being granted a UK study visa, the applicant ought to have passed the required English proficiency exams. Generally, Nigerian students have a basic understanding of the English language. All academic institutions in Nigeria make use of British English. The accent and fluency of the accent can pose a major challenge when lectures are going on or when interaction with British students are ongoing.
How to Overcome it
You are expected to be intentional about deciding to communicate in UK English format. You can adjust your phone, Word document and chat language type to that of the UK. Listening to radio stations and TV presentations could assist in driving the UK English language pattern home within you and assisting you to navigate through the accent. In no distant time, you will have the British accent on the tip of your tongue.
This is one of the major Nigerian students’ challenges faced in the UK. This is because of many factors such as the lack of support systems (family members, guardians). Fluctuating exchange rates which tend to be on the negative side for them is also a challenge. Loss of money accompanied by increased financial obligations as a student is another issue. One mistake many students working in the UK make is sending money back home to prove a pointless point thus putting so much pressure on themselves.
The cost of health insurance can become a challenge. You are expected to make sure you get good health insurance through your university. Peradventure your university does not offer you health insurance, you are expected to look into international student health insurance, so you don’t end up with big medical bills in addition to your education, room, and board costs.
How to Overcome it
- Make sure you have a monthly budget and a constant source of income, have more than one source of income if possible. This could be in the form of scholarships, donations from friends, gifts from acquaintances, or monthly stipends from family or guardians.
- You can apply for scholarships. Some are merit-based (based on high achievement and extracurricular activity) or need-based (applied when an applicant meets certain financial criteria). All you need do is check for eligibility for these scholarships and apply.
- You can also apply for other financial aid platforms which may include grants and student loans. While most student loans are only available to British citizens, your university’s financial aid office may have additional options for you.
- You can work a part-time job as a student. Some on-campus jobs for students include positions in the school cafeteria, bookstore, library, or gymnasium. A part-time job can help cover books, clothing, and personal expenses.
You need to work on your social and interpersonal skills. If you are already good at these skills, you are on your way up. Most Nigerians in the UK tend to look for their fellow compatriots with a bid to communing and fellowshipping with them occasionally. This will help to increase your network and support system. Interaction in and out of the university setting could seem slightly different from what you have been exposed to. Students and teachers interact differently in the United Kingdom. This is not only common in the UK, but all over the world.
How to Solve it
- Get involved in student meetings, outings, weekend trips or excursions.
- Get involved in student groups on campus- volunteer and academic groups.
- Get close to and be friends with students from within the locality.
- Get involved in cultural festivals; attend concerts; visit parks and attend local events.
Some challenges can make you lose focus on the primary reasons why you are in the UK- your academics. No doubt, the British language and classroom expectations are different than in your home country. Being positive about academic expectations is a good way to brace up, and face these challenges which is part of the UK experience.
How to Overcome it
- Speak with your lecturers during work hours and share your academic concerns and seek possible solutions from them.
- Seek assistance from your lecturers or other students from your class on challenging academic topics or assignments.
- Join a study group. This could help you learn and understand faster and better.
Challenges play a major role in ensuring students graduate fully baked and ready to face life and its ever-increasing challenges. Solving problems/challenges will be to your advantage because it is a skilled employer’s requirement after graduation. So, embrace the Nigerian students challenges in the UK and ensure you enjoy the British experience.