Over my lifetime, I have had the privilege of living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US. Twenty-one years ago, when I moved to Germany and started my experience as an immigrant, I had no idea where I would be. My journey has had many highs and lows. I know for certain that this is the life I was meant to be living and would not change it for anything.
In this blog post, I will share five ways being an immigrant impacted my life. Check out my other Her Relocation blog posts about my experiences living in Nigeria, Germany, and the US.
Allowed me to see more of the world
Since I left Nigeria in 2001, I have been fortunate to visit ten countries on four continents. Growing up in Kaduna, a city in northern Nigeria, everything that I knew about the world was what I saw on TV. Seeing the world's beauty, learning about new cultures, and eating good food has made my journey amazing. I am looking forward to other countries that I will get to see over the next years.
Made me independent and taught me to work for what I want
Leaving home at the age of 15, I had to grow up very quickly and make decisions independently. I learned a lot by being brave and learning from my mistakes. My upbringing prepared me a little for the challenges I faced. When I hear people talk about things they inherited or have gotten without working for, I wonder what it feels like. Over the years, I have had to work very hard to get financial stability, achieve professional success, and live my life. I now know that if I want something, I can work towards it, and I do not need to wait for someone to make it possible for me.
Helped me own my identity
My cultural identity was something I was unsure of growing up in Nigeria. I was born in Germany to a Nigerian single mother, spent my childhood in Nigeria, and moved to Germany when I was 15. Not knowing my German roots always raised questions in my childhood. When I moved to Germany, I embraced my Nigerian identity, especially the food. Years later, when I moved to the US, I celebrated my German culture. I can now confidently say that I am German-Nigerian.
Taught me how to adapt to change
When I was younger, my response to the question about what one of my weaknesses was to say that I was scared of change. After 21 years of constant change, I now know that I am very resilient and adapt very well to new situations. I have lost count of the number of times that things changed in my life. I have experienced multiple transitions from moving to new homes, changing jobs, meeting new people, and settling into new countries. I have become very used to change and no longer fear the impact of life changes.
Changed the trajectory of my life
Looking back on my childhood and humble beginnings, life was very different from how things are now. Being an immigrant has given me the greatest life that I could never have imagined I would have. Sometimes I wonder where I would be if I did not leave Nigeria to start a new life in Germany and then also when I moved to the US years later. The last 21 years have made me my best self.
There are many aspects of my journey that I have taken for granted. Reflecting on the ways my life has changed reminded me of how strong all my experiences have made me.