Expat (IN) Nigeria? Get it? No, ok we'll explain. It's a play on words on 'expats in Nigeria trying to 'expert' Nigeria. We think it's pretty witty don't you?
This is a new segment on the site where we talk to different expats living in Nigeria about their experience in a bid to show how varied their situations are and also dispel or reinforce myths.
Today's guest is in his 40s, Pakistani and one of little words. He's been in Nigeria for almost 10 years and the thought of leaving Lagos saddens him as they see it as their second home. It also shows that your environment can keep you highly insulated.
When was the first time you heard of Nigeria?
1998, During the Football World Cup.
Sigh, those were our glory days. Were you worried about coming here?
Nervous yes, worried no. I already had positive feedback from my contacts working here.
We swear Non-Nigerians love Nigeria more than Nigerians themselves. So where are you from and is this your first time being an expatriate?
I'm from Pakistan. Nigeria is my 3rd Expat/Work Destination. I started in UAE moved to the UK and now Nigeria
Nice, what do you do here?
I am currently working with an American Company.
How long have you been here for?
Almost 10 years :-) and counting
Bruh, that's almost a decade. Are there any major differences in the Nigerian workplace when compared to other countries you’ve worked in?
Yes, supply chain, procurement and logistics needs improvement. They definitely make things difficult.
Neither you nor your wife are Nigerian. Was it difficult navigating the country and its quirks without none of you being an ‘insider’?
No, Not at all. Nigerians overall are very welcoming and friendly people. If this was not the case, we would definitely not be finishing our 10th year here.
We try occasionally. Sometimes, expats leave their families in their home country. Why did you decide to bring your wife and kids along with you to Nigeria?
I believe it is very important for families to live together. Living apart is not at all healthy especially for the kids. Bringing them here with was not a difficult decision as Nigeria is not a difficult place to live.
A lot of Nigerians will disagree with you on that one. Your daughter was born here, are you going to get her a Nigerian passport and does she have a Nigerian name?
HAHA, we did try to get her a Nigerian Passport, but we were informed it is not possible. My colleagues have given her a lot of names eg; Yetunde, Yemi, etc
What has it been like raising your children in Nigeria and what steps do you take towards making sure they have a somewhat regular experience of the country.
Okay, so honestly, raising my children over here hasn’t been too hard. Although at times, I do miss having the two sets of grandparents around to babysit them as I hardly get anytime for myself. Since both of them have been here since their early years, it is like home for them and they are used to how life goes around here.
Your first child goes to school here, what are your thoughts on the Nigerian curriculum.
Our eldest is going to Grange School in Ikeja. Previously, he was in C.I.S in Lekki and I must say, the education standards are pretty high over here. I love that both these schools are strict when it comes to discipline. As far as the curriculum is concerned, I am highly satisfied. We have been lucky that our son got amazing teachers in both the institutions who have honed him according to his skills.
What does your daily life look like? (including weekends)
I have a very regular routine and it is dictated by my kids. I am also a very sporty person, so I ensure that I take out time for some sweat-inducing physical activity every day. The traffic is a real issue here and on weekdays, it takes up a lot of my time as I have to do the school commute every day. In between, I do my groceries also. Weekends are family days so we try to either go out or do some activity together.
How would you describe the life of an expat in Nigeria from your own point of view?
From my point of view, life of an expat is not that hard anymore. Lagos has changed a lot over the last 9-10 years and we are first-hand witnesses, hahaha. Almost everything is available here, from the yummiest ice-cream to whatnot! However, I do have difficulty in buying clothes and shoes for my children and myself.
What’s been the biggest cultural shock?
I would not say a cultural shock but something different from our country. Nigerians can dance anywhere as long as there is music. They are happy and loud and expressive. This is what makes them unique, too.
LOL. How will you know we're around if we're not dancing and shouting? What’s the hardest part about living here?
Lagos, on the whole is not a difficult or hard place to live in. However, I do miss my family and friends. And I miss retail shopping, big time!
Nigeria has a high expat community. So do you only hang out with the expats or you have Nigerian friends too
Since we are and have been living in a hotel, we are more confined and isolated. I am also very picky when it comes to making friends but I have met some wonderful people here, both expats and Nigerians.
Do you have any beliefs that hold you back from adapting to culture here?
Best & worst thing about living here.
Lagos is like our second home and just the thought of leaving Lagos saddens me. That said, I wish the traffic situation gets better over time. I think this is the worst thing I have seen over here.
That traffic is a spiritual something. Can you communicate in any of the local languages? If yes say something.
Not at all.
Willing to stay in Nigeria or can’t wait to get the hell out of the country?
I am always looking for adventure and like I said, although the thought of leaving Nigeria saddens me, I would love to explore and live in other countries as well.
Advice for expats?
Come here with an open mind, expect the unexpected and you’ll be pleasantly surprised!
Any last words
I think my previous answer sums it up : )
Sometimes people love a country more than its citizens and this could be for a variety of reasons. Where they're staying, their way of life, experience etc and we can see from this post that as far as this expat is concerned, Nigeria is not a difficult place to live in.
What do you guys think?
If you know anyone who would be interested in featuring, shoot us a message.