More than “Foreign”

Throughout my time this semester learning about the Nigerian culture, I have been shocked, humored, disheartened and curious. Daniel and I explored things about Nigeria that I knew, things I didn’t know, and things I never thought I would want to know.

Of all the things I absorbed when talking with Daniel, I took away one resounding idea. Nigeria, like the United States and China and Japan, and any other country around the world, is a home. Often times, when thinking about other nations, we deem them “foreign,” and they are, but more than that, they are someone’s refuge, someone’s safety net, someone’s familiar.

nigerianfamilies

When I grasped this idea, my whole perspective changed.

I came to view international countries with a new curiosity.  Instead of studying new places, wondering what the country is like as a whole, I now wonder what a day-to-day interaction is like. I consider the native’s perspective and find myself pondering what it would look like if I were to make a home there. Most of these daydreams include me walking in circles with my head glued to a map, (I am horrible with directions) but it is still exciting to imagine.

This is not to say, however, that Nigeria is like my comfort zone here in America. Quite the opposite, actually. One example of this is Nigeria’s polychronic culture compared to the United Statenigerianpeople‘s monochronic culture. Monochronic cultures value time, punctuality, logic and structure. Polychronic cultures, on the other hand, have more exotic food, exciting sounds, light, color, unique architecture and spectacular scenery. Nigerians and other polychronic nations attempt various tasks at once with more spontaneity but with less regard to time and punctuality.

The idea of monochronic cultures versus polychronic cultures may seem unnecessary now, reading this blog, but it is a valuable asset when considering traveling or even conducting business in an international country. I know, for me, when I am traveling, I will now consider which of these categories my destination country falls in. Similarly, business meetings and ventures could take on a whole new meaning when considering this aspect of a country. More than that, it is helpful to know how the country operates, in order to fully experience all the nation has to offer. Also, it is curcial in order not to offend any of the natives there. I have seen the show “Locked Up Abroad” and I say no thank you.

Not only did I learn about a new country, a new culture and new traditions, I also got a new friend.

auburnfamilyAuburn is really big, but it is also very small. The Auburn Family bridges that gap. The Auburn Family encompasses more than football, game day cheers and catchy posters. It is about coming along side someone, maybe just like you, or maybe, like me and Daniel, someone from across the world and building a relationship, a trust. I don’t know if I will ever find myself in heart of Nigeria, but if I do, I know that a friendship formed in Auburn, Alabama could make all the difference.

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