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london, lagos,Halifax

It is very easy to compare western worlds together and assume they operate alike. I am proud to tell you they are very much dissimilar.

Moving to Halifax I thought simple things like opening a bank account, getting my social security number, a mobile phone line and other basics would be pretty easy to do. Let me tell you, it is not!

The first shocker for me is you need to book an appointment with the bank before you could open an account (depends on the bank). Compared to Lagos and London, it is just a walk in and out situation. In Lagos, I know for sure you could walk in the bank get an account number and a debit card on the spot. Well in London, you get your account number right away but it would take days to get your debit card via mail.

In Lagos you go to Ikeja city mall or any mobile sim registration center, purchase a sim and figure out what data plan you want as you use the network. It is definitely not like that in Halifax. You literally have to go to the mall, listen to what these service providers offer and ask questions before you opt-in for a plan. It is important to note that different provinces have different cell phone services. In London, you could just order for a sim online. Also, depending on what airline you fly to London you will get a free sim on the plane likely Lebara – a mobile network that encourages international calls. However, after settling down I switched to Giffgaff. It was cheap and I could always opt in and out of my mobile plan without any cost implication. To get my sim all I had to do was order a sim online and it gets delivered to me.

In Nigeria, there is nothing like a social security number, everyone lives and do as they please. So the social security number or National insurance number (UK) is nothing to worry about. I applied for my National insurance number via the telephone. Check here for more information. Getting a social security number in Halifax cannot be done online or by telephone, I literally had to walk into the nearest social service centre to get it.

I always thought western worlds operate alike but in moving forward I have decided not to assume they operate alike and just embrace how the system works.


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