If you’re looking to see just how advanced Africa is now becoming, look no further than Lagos. Currently the largest city in Sub-Saharan Africa and second in all of Africa (after Cairo), Lagos, Portuguese for lagoon and located in Nigeria, is essentially the center of all things urban and advancing in Africa.
The UN has estimates that Lagos will be the third largest mega city after Tokyo and Mumbai by 2015. As a rapidly growing metropolis, Lagos also is developing its own unique culture with its exploding music and arts scene. It is certainly a place of movement!Photo credit: boellstiftung
Culture and Immersion
Lagos’ tourism has increased very rapidly, becoming a very popular destination of people all over. Lagos is a big metropolis, so if you’ve been to any of the big ones, Tokyo, New York, you’ll have an idea of what you’re getting into. Where Lagos differentiates itself is its surrounding areas, though of course, the city has a great many things to do as well.
Lekki Market – This market is located in the city of Lagos, and has all of your souvenirs, antiques and cultural items all wrapped up into on neat little area! This is definitely somewhere you should go to get a little shopping done and experience the culture in Lagos a bit more.
Beaches – Though it’s probably not the first thing you think of when you think of Nigeria, Lagos has some great beaches for you to relax on. So don’t fret Californians and get excited everywhere else in the US people! (Kidding, sort of). Here are a few of the beaches you should visit: Bar Beach, Eleko Beach, Lekki Beach, Elegushi and Tarkwa beach.
Nigerian National Museum – And here’s your obligatory museum visit. The Nigerian National Museum is a great place to better understand Nigerian culture and history. It contains piece of Nigerian art, carvings and statues, and holds ethnographic and archaeological exhibits. On weekdays, the Museum Kitchen is open to the public, great for local Nigerian food.
Lekki Conservation Center – If you’re looking to relax not on a beach (though I doubt that), Lekki Conservation Center is a great place to visit! Its goal is protecting wildlife in the southwest coastal region due to the increasing urbanization. It’s essentially a rather dense park that has nice walkways and benches that make for a nice day out. The animals in the center are also interesting to watch and see. The resulting atmosphere from the combination of these things ensures you’ll have a nice time.
Culture Shock and Support
Studying abroad will never be a negative experience. Understanding and embracing a new culture only helps you grow and become more worldly. A study abroad trip halfway around the world ensures that you will experience new societal norms, culture and people. By the end of your trip, you will be glad that you studied abroad. However, getting used to the changes at the beginning can be intimidating. So, be sure to pick a problem that caters to American students, so that you can be well informed of the cultural differences and avoid making a faux pas.
However, remember that you have your fellow students! If you’re missing the long hours of studying and the obnoxiously loud people back in the US, well, then you’re weird. On a more serious note, talk to your fellow peers! If you’re experiencing some homesickness, there is every chance that they are as well. Don’t be embarrassed if you need to talk to someone about home, it is completely normal and who knows, you may become even closer friends!
Helpful Hints/Insider Tips
Bus is definitely the bets way to get around Lagos. The system is now relatively extensive throughout the whole city, and the buses themselves run on their own lanes, making traffic a non-issue. Bus fares are affordable, and if you’re craving a trip to the islands, the lines run to there now as well.
Lagos, Nigeria is on the Naira, 150 of which equals a dollar. As such, you can expect prices to be a cheaper than what you are used to. However, a word of caution about exchanging money, you will want to do so at the airport or near large hotels or else you’ll be stuck with no money. You can also simply withdraw money from the ATMs around Lagos, which are plenty, but try to make your money transactions inside the banks for safety reasons.
You're planning, you're planning and then you run into a roadblock: money. Don't let that be the reason you don't go! Here are a few scholarships:
- Fulbright offers a number of scholarships for those traveling to Nigeria.
- More Study Abroad Grants and Scholarships