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Navigating the First Christmas Abroad: Tales of Nigerian Diaspora



Godfrey George explores the journeys of Nigerians in the Diaspora celebrating their first Christmas abroad, revealing stories of perseverance, dreams, and the challenges they face away from home.

*Chukwuemeka Okpara: A Journey of Determination*

Chukwuemeka Okpara’s path to the UK involved overcoming financial struggles and earning a scholarship. His resilience, from lecturers’ encouragement to self-funding and loans, eventually led to a Master’s at the University of Reading.

*Great Omueyaki: A Four-Year Plan to Canada*

For Great Omueyaki, a four-year plan culminated in relocating to Canada for a better life for his family. Overcoming economic challenges and careful planning resulted in a successful move, although he feels the pang of missing a Naija Christmas.

*Life Abroad: Not Always Rosy*

Life abroad isn’t the picturesque scene many envision. Okpara and Omueyaki share the realities of working, studying, and adapting to a new culture. From high taxes to the struggle for foreign exchange, they emphasize the importance of financial preparedness.

*Christmas Abroad: Loneliness and Longing*

First Christmases abroad bring loneliness and nostalgia. Okpara shares the cold, lonely reality, missing the warmth of Nigerian festivities. Omueyaki echoes the sentiment, acknowledging the sadness of missing family gatherings but emphasizing the need for financial stability.

*The Cost of Returning: Balancing Loneliness and Expense*

Nigerians in the Diaspora weigh the cost of returning home for Christmas. While the desire to be with family is strong, financial considerations and the expense of airfare make some opt to stay. Online connections and virtual celebrations become alternatives to bridge the gap.

*Expert Advice: Creating New Bonds and Seeking Connection*

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Sociologist Martins Onyeka advises forming bonds with fellow Nigerians abroad, fostering a sense of home. Psychologist Usen Essien suggests maintaining connections, watching Nigerian content, and building new relationships to combat loneliness during the holiday season.

*Migration Trends: Challenges and Opportunities*

The International Organization for Migration reports a significant increase in Nigerians migrating abroad in 2023, with the UK being the top destination. While opportunities exist, strict policies in some countries might impact migration trends in the coming years.

As Nigerians in the Diaspora navigate their first Christmas away, their stories reflect resilience, sacrifice, and the pursuit of a better life.

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