Similarities between New Zealand and Nigerian culture and how it is beneficial to foreign students
When traveling to a new country you’ve never been to before, especially when you are going without your parent, there are always so many things to be afraid of. And so many questions that play on your mind. Questions like;
Will they have our kind of food? Will the people be receptive? What kind of music do they listen to? How will the weather treat me? Will I ever be able to adapt to the city, people, and lifestyle? Will I find people from my country?
So many of those questions bothered me, and a lot of other foreign students when we gained admission to Victoria University Wellington in New Zealand. For one thing, I could hardly find Nigerians who had previously schooled in New Zealand to ask about the school, country, people and culture.
Nigerians are known to study more in the United States, UK, France, and many other countries, but definitely not New Zealand. With little or no information, I visited Wellington, hoping for the best but also expecting the worst.
However, upon arrival in Wellington, I got to realize that there wasn’t much to do in terms of adaptation as the city was so similar to many Nigerian cities and the culture also shared similarities.
For example, in Cuba Street, there’s a night market that sells every Friday and Saturday. That is similar to Nigeria, because littered around Lagos, are many night markets. These markets are to assist many working class Lagosians who, due to their job schedule, may not make it to the regular market during the day. They still have a way to get food supplies through the night markets, anytime they return from work, or win the battle over bottleneck traffic. With much academic load on my shoulder during the day, I depended more on night markets for my food supplies.
Wellington also has an underground craft market that sells every Saturday, a farmer’s market that sells every Sunday and many other markets that come up occasionally during the year. This is very similar to Nigeria.
Also, like Nigeria, New Zealand boasts colourful festivals. The Cuba Dupa festival which is New Zealand’s largest outdoor arts and music festival can be likened to Nigeria’s Felebration festival; organized to celebrate the pioneer of Afrobeat music, Fela Kuti.
The World of Wearable Arts Show which is New Zealand’s largest theatrical production can be likened to the Lagos Fashion Fair.
It was really heartwarming to see how the markets, and festivals were similar to what we have in Nigeria and that made it easy for me to adapt to life in Wellington as a foreign student. But that’s not all.
The walkability of Wellington City reminds me of Uyo, a city in Akwa Ibom state Nigeria. Like Uyo, Wellington city is compact and flat. In about 30-40 minutes, you can walk from one part of the city to another, navigating through Kelburn, Aro Valley, and Newtown in no time. It makes life and schooling in the city easy and affordable as I get to save so much money that would have been used for transportation. To make the workability even easier for foreigners, the people of Wellington are friendly people, who are always willing to listen and give directions if you ever miss a road.
Article submitted by Benjamin Peter, a Nigerian international student studying in New Zealand