The experiences of several Nigerian students going through their first-ever winter in the UK have been bitter-sweet. In addition to the culture shock, there is the cold weather. No matter how it is told, it is best experienced. You can’t be too prepared, so the cold hits the first-timer hard.
For context, the year 2022 saw probably the highest number of Nigerian students visa issued. The UK Home Office data show that by the year ending September 2022, more than 51,000 students visa were issued. A 650% growth between 2019 and 2022. Along with their dependants, the number of fresh UK immigrants number is staggering and dramatic as this article calls it
Social Media Winter Conversation
A video of a Nigerian student in the UK went viral. In what looked like a skit, the student complained bitterly about the high cost of heating. With a pain-laden voice, he told the gas company over the phone to “off the light” like they do in Nigeria. The respondent over the phone could be heard saying that the power/gas can’t be turned off because of safety concerns. Our Naija man answered back, which safety?! Off the light. The bills are killing me!
I stumbled on another discussion where a UK immigrant was seeking ways to reduce heating costs. On a popular Nigerian forum, a person asked, how can I reduce the bill from British gas?
So, this is not the first time international students are experiencing the grueling winter weather. Rather, the number of excited people, complaints and funny banter about the snowy UK got attention over social media.
White Christmas Stuff
We know of white fowl, which one is white Christmas again?
White Christmas occurs when there is snow on Christmas eve and Christmas day. Christmas is celebrated on December 25. This means, because of the continuous snow, many Nigerian students expect to have a white Christmas.
Well, this year’s snowfall came early. By December 11, London was covered by a blanket of snow. Other big cities and smaller towns also saw different heights of snowfall. The most hit places are in Scotland.
Consequently, a Level 3 Cold Weather Alert has been issued by the UK Health Security Agency (UKHSA) covering all of England.
For typical Nigerians, who are used to Christmas on the streets, malls and family houses. This is shockingly different. A chilly Christmas, in winter wear, cuddling a pillow is so absurd to the Nigerian student. No vibe, no street party or outing. Let’s just call it black Christmas.
Exciting Winter Experience
While few express their feelings, quite a number have been super excited. We see images and videos of Nigerian students in UK excited as they walk through the white flakes. The same snow they have seen on TV is now a reality. Abroad just got ‘realer’!