Before leaving Nigeria, it is necessary to plan and prepare, so your stay abroad can be as smooth and enjoyable as possible.
Only a few Nigerians, if at all there are, can say they've never thought of travelling abroad for a while or relocating altogether. When the opportunity finally presents itself (after much prayer and perhaps fasting), you're on top of the moon and can not keep calm. Relax, you're not overreacting at all.
While japa-ing is a great and testimony-worthy thing, in this article, we'll be looking at seven things you should consider before leaving Nigeria.
What does 'japa' mean?
In the Yoruba language, "ja pa" means to escape or run swiftly from a dangerous situation. On social media, it means emigrating or travelling abroad. In reality? Both definitions are the same. Whether running, flying, swimming or crawling, most Nigerians don't care how it's done, as long as it gets them straightway out of the country.
Here is a checklist of things to consider before you leave Nigeria:
1. Understand how your visa works
It is safe to assume that at this point, you have a valid passport. If you don't, you may want to get one. Otherwise, the only place you're going is to the airport, and then back home. With your valid passport ready, the type of visa you apply for depends mainly on the purpose of your travel.
Some countries may not need visas (e.g. ECOWAS countries), but for those that do, you need to understand the requirements. If you intend to study, then you should get a student visa.
However, if you intend to live for an extended period and work, you might want to get a work visa. Some countries allow you to study and work alongside for several hours per week. Some may not. Other countries also require you to write and pass an English proficiency test, before you're allowed to either work or study. You must speak to immigration professionals to answer questions and guide you throughout the process.
2. Pay your doctor a visit
A trip to the doctor before travelling is almost as important as going along with your passport. Yes, it is. It is pertinent that your doctor certifies that you're fit to travel (especially if you have a pre-existing medical condition), and issues you a clean bill of health.
Asides from that, different countries mandate that certain vaccinations and shots must be taken before you're allowed entry into their country. The best time to visit your doctor should be at least 4 to 6 weeks before your trip, as some vaccinations may require some time to kick in fully.
3. Have a budget
Before upping and leaving, especially to another country, it is only reasonable that you have some money set aside. You should do well to research the average cost of living at your destination and where your money will go each month.
Daily costs are likely to be more expensive abroad, so it's important to put aside more than you think you will need. It's always better to have in excess than not having enough, especially as getting a job just might take longer than expected.
4. Learn about the destination
No matter how many movies you've watched, or how cool you think you are, culture shock will always be inevitable. But to lessen just how dumbfounded you are by the new way of life, it's essential to research and read up about your choice of destination.
Read about the area you're headed, the food they eat and their culture, so when someone greets you differently than you're used to, you don't stare at them with your mouth wide open.
5. Get insured
Health and medical bills may not be as straightforward as in your home country. In countries like the US, where health facilities are expensive to the average man, you must plan for health insurance. As soon as you touch down, you should try your best to get on a health insurance plan, so you don't spend all your savings treating a common cold. Asides from health, it is also advisable to get travel or a baggage protection coverage plan.
6. Get a headstart on housing if you can.
Everyone knows how hard and frustrating finding a new place could be. Once you've learnt about your destination and figured out where you want to stay, you could start looking for listings and rentals that are within your price range, so you don't have to stay in that hotel, or squat with your family friend longer than necessary.
6. Pack Your Manners With You
Settling into a new neighbourhood can be pretty daunting. A new country is even more overwhelming, especially when you're on your own. Making a good first impression and building good relationships with people can make things much more manageable.
Small favours like showing you a shortcut, and pointing out how to do things, don't come from being rude and standoffish.
There you go, your checklist of things to tidy up before you leave Nigeria. Moving to another country can be stressful, but don't let any of that dampen your excitement. Once you have everything set, all you need to do is relax, and of course, buy your tickets, please. A whole new world awaits you!