You are currently viewing I believe the pasture is greener at home than abroad – Nigerian who graduated from UK varsity
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In this interview, Folorunso Fatai Adisa, a native of Abeokuta, Ogun State, who recently bagged a Master’s Degree in Media and Communication from the University of Strathclyde, Glasgow, United Kingdom, shares his thoughts on the Nigerian academic environment and what obtains abroad, the Japa syndrome, and more.

What were the high points of your studying abroad?

Studying abroad has been an enriching experience for me, with some of the highlights deeply rooted in the cultural immersion I gained. One of the most memorable aspects was gaining firsthand knowledge of the subjects I had previously studied, particularly in relation to the history of the English Language and the English/Scottish culture. Being able to experience these aspects of my studies in a real-world context added a new depth to my understanding and appreciation of the subject matter. Additionally, participating in local festivals and traditions allowed me to immerse myself fully in the culture of the United Kingdom— Scotland specifically.

From witnessing traditional ceremonies to partaking in local customs, these experiences not only provided me with unique insights into the culture but also allowed me to form meaningful connections with the local community. On a personal level, studying abroad has been transformative. I have developed a newfound sense of resilience as I navigated through the challenges of living in a foreign country, away from familiar surroundings. These experiences have helped me grow both personally and academically, broadening my perspective about the world and instilling in me a greater sense of adaptability and open-mindedness. In sum, my high points studying abroad encompass a blend of academic enrichment, cultural immersion, and personal growth. These experiences have not only enhanced my education but have also shaped me into a more resilient and globally-minded individual.

What are the striking differences between Nigeria’s academic environment and the UK’s?

In reflecting on my experiences in both Nigeria’s academic environment and the UK’s, I find that the key differences lie in the conducive learning environment and the abundance of learning resources available in the UK. The serene atmosphere of classrooms in the UK provides an ideal setting for focused learning, allowing students to fully immerse themselves in their studies without distractions. Additionally, the access to a wide range of learning resources, including libraries, online databases, and academic support services offers students the opportunity to explore topics in depth and engage with diverse perspectives.


However, when it comes to comparing the style and depth of teaching, I find that Nigerian academics stand out. In my experience, Nigerian educators often bring a high-level of expertise to their teaching, which translates into a rigorous and comprehensive approach to education. The depth of knowledge imparted by Nigerian academics is commendable (well, probably for the University of Ilorin that I attended), as they go beyond the surface level of topics to delve into nuanced discussions and critical analysis.

While the UK offers a conducive learning environment and ample resources, the quality of teaching in Nigeria remains a standout feature. The commitment of Nigerian educators to nurturing students’ intellectual growth and fostering a culture of academic excellence is truly commendable. Overall, both academic environments have their strengths, but it is the dedication of the academics and the expertise of Nigerian academics that leave a lasting impression.


Which would you consider more rigorous: studying in Nigeria or abroad?

Studying abroad presents a unique academic challenge characterized by a rigorous and original approach to learning. Unlike some academic environments where rote memorization may suffice, studying abroad demands a deep engagement with course materials and a commitment to original thought. This is exemplified by the extensive reading of scholarly papers and the writing of numerous essays that require a high degree of originality. One of the distinguishing features of studying abroad is the strict intolerance for plagiarism. In these academic settings, plagiarism is not only frowned at but can also result in severe consequences, including expulsion or rustication from the institution. We often joke among ourselves that “the fear of Turnitin is the beginning of wisdom”.This zero-tolerance policy underscores the importance of academic integrity and the value placed on originality in scholarly work.


How long did it take you to adjust to your new environment?

Adaptation stands as one of the hallmark features of humanity. Regardless of whether we find ourselves in harsh or comfortable environments, humans possess an innate ability to swiftly adjust and acclimate. Personally, I don’t experience difficulty in adapting to new surroundings.

You studied communication in your master’s programme. What informed your choice and what served as a leverage for you?

Since time immemorial, I have been captivated by the power of language and communication. Language, I believe, is not just a tool but the essence of life itself, with its chief function being communication. The influence of communication on our lives is undeniable; it permeates nearly every aspect of human existence. It is the cornerstone of communal and group cohesion, a fundamental transactional value that intrigued me deeply and motivated me to study it further. The world we live in today is a world of words and voices clamouring for attention, it is essential for individuals to learn how to communicate effectively, ensuring their voices are not drowned out in the cacophony of sounds.


My academic journey in language and communication began with my undergraduate studies in English at the University of Ilorin. During my National Youth Service Corps (NYSC) programme, I was initially posted to the Ministry of Youth and Sports in Abeokuta, Ogun State. However, upon meeting the Permanent Secretary, Mr. Peter Fagbohun (who is currently the Head of Service Ogun State), he quickly discerned that my skills were better suited elsewhere and transferred me to the Ministry of Information and Strategy. There, I crossed paths with Mr. Kehinde Onasanya, the Director of Information (Who is currently a Permanent Secretary in the state), who took a keen interest in mentoring me and nurturing my passion for communication and strategy.

My pivotal moment— as a corps member— came when I was tasked with preparing a report on the first 100 days in office of Prince Dapo Abiodun, the Governor of Ogun State. I began the report on “The Roads,” where I meticulously documented the reconstruction of a total of 87.4km of new roads, which was at various stages of completion, spanning across the three senatorial districts of the State. Additionally, I highlighted the successful rehabilitation of a total of 246.26km of roads throughout the state. Determined to ensure the accuracy of my findings and avoid falling prey to assumptions or political praise-singing, I embarked on extensive tours to verify the information firsthand. In addition to road infrastructure, my report also delved into other significant developments such as the electrification of several communities and various ongoing projects. Upon presenting my findings, the former Chief Press Secretary, Mr. Kunle Somorin, was thoroughly impressed and promptly invited me to join his media team, snatching me away from my previous role at the Ministry of Information and Strategy.


This assignment not only honed my research skills, as guided by Mr. Kayode Akinmade, but also ignited my passion for research and strategic communication, which later proved invaluable during my Master’s programme. I vividly recall my initial result during my master’s studies, specifically in the course titled “Research Skills in Media and Communication” (P3978), where I received a disappointing score of 22 out of 100. It was undeniably disheartening, a clear indication of failure. Without hesitation, I reached out to my professor, expressing my disbelief at the outcome and urging for a reevaluation of my work. However, she maintained that my score was accurate, citing her practice of sharing assessments with other professors for validation. Drawing from my prior experiences, particularly the research and communication writing skills I had developed while working on Prince Dapo Abiodun’s 100 Days in office report, I persisted in my belief that failure was not an option.

Consequently, a meeting was promptly convened to address the discrepancy, leading to the discovery of a glitch in either the online platform or the Turnitin system. As a result, my script was reevaluated, and to my relief, I received a revised score of 72%—an A grade. This experience served as a testament to the importance of perseverance and self-advocacy, reaffirming my belief in the power of effective communication and strategic thinking. Should I say Dapo Abiodun made me score an A in my first paper (Smiles)?

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An average Nigerian youth would stay back after completing their academic programme in the UK or elsewhere, especially due to the economic situation in Nigeria. Why did you decide to return home?

The Latin phrase “Suum Cuique,” meaning “To each their own,” encapsulates the idea that every individual has the right to their own preferences and beliefs. While some may subscribe to the notion that the grass is greener on the other side, there are those of us who firmly believe that the grass is only greener where it is properly tended and nurtured. As a proud Nigerian, I am deeply connected to my homeland and harbour the belief that it holds a multitude of untapped opportunities waiting to be explored. In fact, the increasing number of people migrating abroad has created a significant void that needs to be filled.


What is your next career plan after master’s?

When asked about my next career plan after completing my master’s degree, the assumption may naturally lean towards pursuing a Ph.D. However, I adhere to a personal mantra: “All book and no work makes one an incomplete person.” It’s time to bridge the gap between theory and practice by putting my expertise in strategic, corporate, and political communications into action in the field. By immersing myself in real-world experiences, I aim to gain invaluable insights and practical skills that can only be acquired outside the confines of academia. After honing my craft and garnering substantial field experience, I envision returning to academia to pursue a Ph.D. Armed with a wealth of firsthand knowledge and a deeper understanding of the intricacies of communication in various contexts, I will be better equipped to contribute meaningfully to academic discourse. My ultimate goal is to seamlessly integrate my practical expertise with theoretical insights, becoming a well-rounded and accomplished professional who can navigate the complexities of both the academic and professional worlds with ease.


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