Meet the student: Nigeria meets Norway


I met Samuel Ope Olabode at the student houses at Ugleveien, where he lives. He’s in his second year of his master in biochemistry. He likes the learning system in Norway, and all the hiking opportunities.

Capital: Abuja
Population: 160 million
Area: 937 000 km2
Language: English
Religion:Christianity, Muslim
Independence: 1 October 1660, from Great Britain

Where do you come from?
I’m from Lagos, which is the largest city in Nigeria with more than five million people. It’s a very diverse city with many different ethnic groups, so it has a mixed environment.

How was it to grow up in Lagos?
The neighborhood where I grew up was very nice and friendly. We were always close with our neighbors, sharing things and arranging parties together. My family is me, my parents and four siblings.

Can you tell us about your university in Nigeria?
In 2006 I entered Bowen University, which is one of the better private universities in Nigeria. The school is operated by Nigerian Baptist Convention. There I got my bachelor in Biochemistry, finishing in 2010. The Bowen University is a residential school with separate hostels for boys and girls It was very nice living at the school, only once a month I went home to see my family.

What did you do after you finished your bachelor?
In Nigeria there is something called youth service, which means you work to serve your country for one year. I did my youth service in a pathology lab at a hospital in Abuja.

What do you like to do in your spare time?
I like hiking in the mountains. In Nigeria there are not as many mountains as here in Norway, but in the area around Abuja there are some hiking possibilities. I also like playing table tennis and soccer, and going to the cinema.

What languages do you speak?
The official language in Nigeria is English, and there’s a local version of it called Pidgin English, which is a mix of English and native languages. The three major tribes in Nigeria are Hausa, Yoruba and Igbo. My mother tongue is Yoruba, that I speak with my family, and I also know a little bit of Hausa. In school I also studied French.

Can you share some Nigerian music that you like?
The music of Nigeria includes many kinds of folk and popular music, which are known worldwide. I like afrobeat, hip hop, reggae, gospel and afro-juju, which is a style originating from Nigeria. I’m also a fan of artists such as Wizkid, Davido, Olamide, 2face, Da grin, Patoranking, and Frank Edward, who are all from Nigeria. Wizkid has actually worked together with Drake and is featured in the popular hit song “One Dance”.

If someone went as a tourist to Nigeria, what would you recommend them to do?
Nigeria is a very big country, so it depends on where in Nigeria you’re travelling. A nice place to visit though is Akwa Ibom. Also Abuja, the capital, and Lagos, the largest city in Nigeria are good tourist destinations. Lagos has a lot of fun places and many clubs. If you want to go to the beach in Lagos I would recommend Elegushi Beach.

Can you mention some typical food from Nigeria?
Some Nigerian specialties are jollof rice (fried rice with spices), egusi soup, garri, suya (kebab), pepper soap and pounded yam. I cook a lot of Nigerian foods, even since I moved to Norway.

Why did you choose to study in Norway?
I wanted to do my master in another country, because I like interacting with people from different cultures. I chose Norway because it has a learning system that is working very well. I think it’s really good.

What are the biggest cultural differences between living in Norway and Nigeria?
Norway has a system that is working. In Nigeria, I think people need to learn to respect the law. There’s a lot of corruption among politicians, many of them are very selfish. It’s a pity, because there are a lot of talented and intellectual people from Nigeria who are spread all over the world. I’m lucky to be one of them.

Do you have any plans for when you finish your master next year?
Right now I don’t have anything in mind!

Learn some Pidgin English
How u dey? – How are you?
I dey – I’m fine
Waiting be your name? – What’s your name?
Where u dey go? – Where are you going to?

Learn some Yoruba
Bawo ni – Hi
Ose gan – Thank you
Beni – Yes
Oti  – No

isabelle-kongshaug-meet-the-student«Meet the student» is a column written by Isabelle Kongshaug. The columnist meets students from different countries who studies in Rogaland, and talks about their home country and their lives in Norway.


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