#AbroadLife: She Left Nigeria For Ukraine At 17 And Her Advice Is: Don’t Come To Ukraine

August 7, 2020

The Nigerian experience is physical, emotional and sometimes international. No one knows it better than our features on #TheAbroadLife, a series where we detail and explore Nigerian experiences while living abroad.

The subject of this week’s Abroad Life has chosen to be anonymous. She is a 21-year old International Economics and Relations student who left Nigeria for Ukraine when she was 17. She talks about racism and why she’s done with both Nigeria and Ukraine.

First things first, what’s a 21 year old Nigerian woman looking for in Ukraine, with no family there?

I’m in university, studying International Economics and Relations. 

What happened to UNILAG?

Haha…The atmosphere in Nigeria is not a very good place for studying. If we’re going to be frank with each other. I have watched people ahead of me do six years for a course that was meant to last four years. There’s always a delay, somehow, as if it’s a curse. Personally, I’m not about to go on a break in between school, so that’s one major thing.

So when did you decide that you were going to leave?

It was June 2018. I had just finished secondary school and I had a friend in Ukraine already, who was studying medicine. It was her uncle who set up everything for her. She told me to come because the process was easy and I told my mom. My mom linked up with the uncle and he actually did the processing. 

I thought this was one of those scam stories.

Haha.. Nope. We needed some documents, which we were able to present. I had to go to the embassy at Abuja, and I got my visa. So from the time when I decided I was going to study in Ukraine, when I applied to the school, and I told my mom, and I got my visa, it took about two weeks.

Two weeks?

Two weeks. Although, I really don’t know how much it cost and all that because at time I was still 17 going 18 that month. My work was just to make sure I appear, and present all the needed documents and I did that. I left very shortly after.

Considering how short the time was, you didn’t have much time to say goodbye to friends and family. How was that?

It was actually cool for me, I’m not that person that has a lot of friends and all so it wasn’t too dramatic. We are in the 21st Century where you can just text “Hey, I’m leaving to study in Ukraine, I’ll see you in four years.” or make a call and you’re good. It’s never as deep as going round visiting. My family followed me to the airport. It was just normal.

So you’re arriving in Ukraine, a place where you’ve never been before. What hit you the hardest?

My God, it was the language. I didn’t have any time to learn so it was super complex. Even now, I’m always on my phone using a translator. Luckily for me, as you enter the country, the people that check the visa and your documents speak English so that helped me at least get myself into the country. I had booked for someone to pick me from Kyiv to my city, and that was a six-hour drive. After that, I found a way to settle. Google Translate everywhere. 

So if I’m coming to Ukraine, I know I need to learn the language, thanks. What else do I need?

Should I be honest?

Hit me.

Don’t come to Ukraine. 


I’m just being honest with you. You know that racism thing that they’re shouting in the US? Hmm.

Every time I enter a bus here, people act like the grim reaper has just entered and they have to avoid me at all costs. You see people instinctively using their bags to occupy seats and moving away. If you sit beside one white person, odds are they’ll stand up and leave you with an empty seat. 


I’m probably just a very self aware person, but these things get to me. It’s weird feeling like you don’t fit in society and whenever you try to fit, society looks at you and says “Nope, you don’t belong here”. In my experience, it’s also been really hard to get a job, and it doesn’t help that black people pay more for stuff like housing than locals. 

Why is that?

I don’t know. But me and some other black students pay $250 a month for rent in our different apartments. In the same building complex, whitestudents pay $150 or even less. Wanna hear the worst part?

It gets worse?

We have separate classes for blacks and whites.

That’s not possible!

I’m dead ass serious about that

What’s the name of your school?

I’d rather not say. In fact, I want to be anonymous. 

There’s also the little things like being on a queue for something and not being attended to until all the white people have been. But you know Africans are free spirited, so we don’t take things to heart, we just deal with whatever comes. 
What is the distribution of white to black people in your city?

There are actually a lot of black people here, you’ll find Ghanaians, Kenyans, Tanzanians, Ethiopians, South Africans, people from Swaziland, there are plenty black people here. My city isn’t very big so maybe that accounts for why they treat us like this.

Do you think nationality doesn’t matter when this racism happens?

Yes, every black person is treated the same. Recently a boy was stabbed, and they’ve been dragging the case for a while, but now they want the case to go because it’s a black guy and they’re making his murder his own fault. 

Why am I speechless?

There’s NUGS (National Union of Ghanaian Students) there’s NUNS (National Union of Nigerian Students) here though and they play their parts in expressing our interests.

I feel like I have to clarify though, that they won’t violently attack you. In fact, as a black woman, I can freely walk at any time of the night and feel safe. You just won’t have the same rights as everyone else.

That’s crazy, and I hate to hear that you’re experiencing that. So how many years is your course and how far gone are you?

I’m doing a 4 year course and by God’s grace I’ll be in my 3rd year by September.

Are you planning on leaving once that’s done?

Definitely. I do not see a future for myself here.

Okay so you can’t wait to leave and come back to Nigeria? 

Nah, not Nigeria. Somewhere else maybe. I’m done with the two countries. Living abroad has made me see how much we suffer in Nigeria. 

Gun to your head, pick a place to stay, Ukraine or Nigeria?

I’d pick Ukraine.

Balance me here real quick.  So you’d rather stay where you face racism nonstop?

There’s tribalism in Nigeria that let’s people get more opportunities than others. They’re brothers. Nigerians even get violent sometimes. I’d stay here if it was the only choice. If I’m getting treated differently because I’m black, and I’m also getting treated differently because I’m Yoruba, what’s the difference?

That’s…interesting.So, how is daily life in Ukraine?

One thing I should let you know; feeding is cheap.

Cheaper than in Nigeria?


Wow! What do they eat?

We have African stores here so you’ll buy your stuff. But food generally, is cheap. 

What do Ukrainians eat?

Apart from their traditional food, they eat a lot of junk. They have their own food but I haven’t tried it because I’m not interested. 

So you’re not immersing yourself in their culture? 

No. I don’t feel accepted so it’s not natural for me.

Apart from food, how would you say it’s different from Nigeria? 

Nightlife is very safe; you can walk on the roads at night even as a girl. I’m an introvert so I’ve never been to a club here but I hear it’s cheap to enter. I’ve got just a few friends, I’m not a people person. Transportation is also pretty chill. We’ve got buses, rail, and taxis, or you can ride your bicycle.

But everyone here obeys every single traffic rule. Like robots. 

How’s the weather?

The weather is harsh. When it’s cold it’s extremely cold and when it’s hot it’s extremely hot.

What is it right now?

I don’t know if the world is coming to an end. But it’s summer right now and it’s extremely hot. 

Hang in there!

Check back every Friday by 12pm noon for a brand new Abroad Life story. If you’ll like to share your own story, please fill out this form.

You'll like this

June 19, 2019

We are currently in the politically correct year of our Lord 2019, so I will refrain from labelling Nigeria and everything even tangentially related thereto, as one big scam. What no one can stop me from doing however, is calling out the little demon spawns currently running round Nigeria, dressed as seeming well-adjusted individuals. But […]

David Odunlami

Join The Conversation

Bring a friend.


Now on Zikoko

September 27, 2020

The Federal Government will meet with leaders of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) by 7 pm this evening (Sunday 27 September 2020) over their planned mass strike on the increase in petrol and electricity prices. NLC and TUC have said that there is “no going back” on their strike […]

September 27, 2020

The average Nigerian youth identifies more with Halloween than any Nigerian festival. Now, this breaks my heart because we have incredible festivals and celebrations in Nigeria that are arguably more than these ‘foreign things’. I lie? Check this Nigerian festivals out. They are proper: 1. Kagoro Afan Festival The Kagoro Afan festival is celebrated by […]

September 27, 2020

In a few hours, the BBNaija Season 5: Lockdown Edition will come to an end. But it is impossible to put people together in the same house for 71 days without housemates showing their irrational food habits. In this list, I curate 5 of the most insane food obsessions from the BBNaija 2020 house: 1. […]

Recommended Quizzes

What are you like in a relationship?
February 7, 2020

Your taste in music can say a lot about you, and this time, it’s going to reveal what you are like in a relationship. So, pick a few of your favourite Nigerian love songs, and we’ll let you know if you’re typically a distant, passionate or unbothered partner. Here you go:

June 14, 2020

Have you ever been with someone so horrible that you swore to never date again? Yes? Well, do you know that one or more of your exes probably feels the same way about you? You never thought about that, huh? Thankfully, this quiz is here to let you know just how much of a hassle […]

April 3, 2020

While the rest of the world loves to treat our continent like a country, there are actually 54 African countries. So, in a bid to test your knowledge (and educate you), we’ve created a quiz to see how many of their capitals you can correctly name. Go ahead:

December 11, 2019

In the past month, we’ve made quizzes that guessed the last time you had sex, how many people you’ve slept with, and just how good you are in bed. For our latest attempt, we will use your taste in Nigerian music from the 2010s to ascertain what you’re like in bed. Take to find out:

November 19, 2019

Regardless of what society has tried to tell us, enjoying sex is not something to be ashamed of. So, in a bid to celebrate our generation’s sexual agency, we’ve created a quiz that will accurately (again, keep your complaints to yourself) infer how many people you’ve spelt with. Try it out:

More from Citizen

September 27, 2020

The Federal Government will meet with leaders of the Nigerian Labour Congress (NLC) and the Trade Union Congress (TUC) by 7 pm this evening (Sunday 27 September 2020) over their planned mass strike on the increase in petrol and electricity prices. NLC and TUC have said that there is “no going back” on their strike […]

September 25, 2020

On Thursday, President Muhammadu Buhari signed into law the new Police Establishment Act 2020, aimed at making the Nigerian police force better. But the new law has generated sharp criticism, especially on social media. Many critics say that the law has now granted wide and unending powers to police officers. Reasonable Grounds, Reasonable Apprehension The […]

September 24, 2020

An explosion has occurred in the Ajuwon, Iju-Ishaga area of Lagos today. The explosion happened around 3:30 pm on Thursday 24th September 2020, with many people stating that they do not know the cause of the explosion. Video footages of the explosion have been circulating on social media: An eyewitness told BBC Pidgin that a […]

September 24, 2020

On Wednesday, 23 September 2020, Nigeria’s Federal Executive Council approved $1.96 billion for the award of contract for the development of the proposed Kano-Jigawa-Katsina-Jibia to Maradi rail line in the Niger Republic. The rail track will cover 248 kilometres, and will pass through seven cities in Nigeria: Kano, Dambatta, Kazaure, Daura, Mashi, Katsina, Jibia and […]

September 22, 2020

Hey, hope you didn’t buy the Nation newspaper this morning, because, technically what you would have bought was a birthday card. Big Flex Well, this man here bought the newspaper and here’s what he found – a national birthday card! And it slaps harder like a Nigeria soldier if you accompany it with a birthday […]

September 22, 2020

Remember the helicopter that crashed in Ikeja, Lagos on August 28, 2020? Well, there are new reports about the crash.  The Bell 206 B3 Helicopter with registration marks 5N-BW operated by Quorum Aviation Limited that crashed in Ikeja, Lagos on August 28 crashed due to fuel shortage reasons. Accident Investigation The Accident Investigation Bureau (AIB) […]

September 21, 2020

Ozo and Oshiomole were both sent packing this weekend. Who would have thought? Moral: Try no dey too clingy, show dey end. Meanwhile, we look at some lessons from both BBNaija and Edo voting centres. 1. Nigerians massively voted for the BBNaija candidates but were less enthusiastic about the Edo Governorship elections. Checking records from […]

September 20, 2020

Godwin Obaseki has been declared the winner of the Edo Governorship elections, but what does his re-election mean for godfatherism in Nigerian politics? Does this victory mean that so-called “Godfathers” are no more relevant in determining who wins an election in Nigeria? Not Too Long Ago In the run-up to the Edo Governorship elections, a […]


Trending Videos

Zikoko Originals

June 22, 2020
'The Couch' is a Zikoko series featuring real life stories from anonymous people.
June 22, 2020
Hacked is an interesting new series by Zikoko made up of fictional but hilarious chat conversations.
June 4, 2020
What happens when a group of chatty young Nigerians talk about things they're passionate about? You get Nigerians talk. A show that discusses very familiar struggles for the average Nigerian. From relationship deal breakers to sex education with Nigerian parents to leaving Nigeria, be prepared for a ride.
June 2, 2020
Quickie is a video series where everyone featured gets only one minute to rant, review or do absolutely anything.
May 14, 2020
Isolation Diary is a Zikoko series that showcases what isolation is like for one young Nigerian working from home due to the Coronavirus pandemic.
March 12, 2020
Life is already hard. Deciding where to eat and get the best lifestyle experiences, isn't something you should stress about. Let VRSUS do that for you.
February 6, 2020
Who doesn't want to find love? In our bid to help, we paired up a bunch of single Nigerians, sending them on an all-expense paid date, and interviewing them before and after they met.
January 27, 2020
Nigerians Talk is what happened when a motley crew of young Nigerians were put in front of a camera and asked a bunch of apparently random questions about life, love, money and more.
September 24, 2019
A group of Zikoko staff go on a road trip to every mainland country in ECOWAS West Africa

Z! Stacks

Here's a rabbit hole of stories to lose yourself in:

Zikoko amplifies African youth culture by curating and creating smart and joyful content for young Africans and the world.