Living in Halifax has been a mind-blowing experience as it is the complete opposite of my experience in England (Nigeria 2.0). One of the many things that have made it completely different is meeting people from different parts of the world. As an international student, it can get scary making friends in a new country. All it takes is to be open-minded.
On a daily basis, I am surrounded by people from different parts of the world. My class is filled with 92% Asians and others are from Guatemala, Nigeria, Canada, Sudan and Bangladesh. With all these people, it keeps the class conversations interesting and insightful.
My flatmates are from Kenya, Aruba, Bangladesh, Canada and Haiti. One of my biggest worries prior to agreeing to stay in my house is wondering if we would get along and how it would be a clash of culture shock. It’s been an amazing experience of learning and unlearning. I am friends with at least one person from each continent asides Australia. If you are Australian and you live in Halifax holla in the comment section.
At work, I am surrounded by people from beautiful places like North Korea, Rwanda, Japan, Jamaica, The Caribbean. I remember a customer saying to his wife while attending to them saying it’s nice to have our own here. I mean to think the representation of diversity in a work environment can make customers be at ease is wonderful.
As humans, we tend to be friends with people who we can relate to or look like. All these inclusiveness and diversity has made me never to wonder whenever I walk in a room wondering if I am the only black person. I have been able to make friends outside my comfort zone. I am finding myself being friends with people who are married and much older than me.
How will I forget to include my Nigerian people- Eyy! It has even been more amazing meeting Nigerians from places like Muscat and Kenya. We Nigerians, we too waka!! – There is nowhere you wouldn’t find Nigerians in this world.
I have met more Tolus in Halifax than in Nigeria (maybe a bit of exaggeration). Imagine being in a class and introducing myself “Hi, I am Tolu, I am from Nigeria” and everyone starts laughing and the person next to me says “I am Tolu and I am from Nigeria”.
The most heartwarming experience for me is meeting people who have lived in England and then move to Halifax. It’s always interesting hearing their immigration stories and how Halifax is completely different from other cities they lived in Canada because of its diversity. I am not trying to come off bias but I have sampled opinions from people have met and they love the richness in diversity.
With meeting all these amazing people comes me learning new things about myself. The most interesting of all is I have on and off British accent-this is very funny as I never hear any accent in my speech. I have been able to learn about new places, languages and see how Nigeria’s culture is similar to a lot of places around the world. Meeting all these people has most importantly impacted my lifestyle.