Ghana has become a popular destination for international degree-seeking students, mostly within the West African region. According to reports, out of a large number of international students Ghana welcomes each year, over 70 percent are Nigerians. The rest are from Côte d’Ivoire, Mali, Gabon, Togo, Benin, Congo, among others.
Every academic year, Nigerian students travel overseas to study for various reasons; some, to countries that offer them quality degrees and give them exposure to better career prospects, and others, to escape from occultism in tertiary institutions in the country.
In this episode of the Study Abroad Series, freelance journalist and vlogger, Selorm Helen takes you to Nigeria where Sampson and Hannah talk about why they came to Ghana, how living and studying in Ghana has shaped their lives, and a lot more.
Both Hannah and Sampson pursued their undergraduate degree programmes in Ghana at the African University College of Communications, a private university affiliated to the University of Ghana.
For Sampson Chukwudi Akunna, when the only option left for him was to travel to Ghana in 2014 for his undergraduate study after facing two rejections from the school of his choice in Nigeria, it was hard for him. He had never dreamt of studying abroad, particularly in Ghana.
“I never wanted to study in Ghana. But I was denied admission at UNILAG. Traveling out of home was a difficult thing for me. I was a mummy’s boy and I was always at home. So, when I had to leave home for the first time, that really hit me hard,” Sampson disclosed.
Hannah Karis Zeak on the other hand loves to explore so, schooling in Ghana was not an option but a choice. She came to study in Ghana in order to “gain a better understanding of the world, find a new interest, learn a different language, experience different culture and perspective” and to broaden her horizon.
Speaking about the pros and cons of schooling in Ghana, both Sampson and Hannah touted Ghana’s education system as “quality” and well advanced but extremely expensive for students in same West African region.
“Studying in Ghana as a foreign student is expensive. The general cost of living is high and you will need about 100 cedis or more to prepare a good soup while it’s relatively cheaper in Nigeria. But it’s worth it because of the quality of education,” they both said.
One thing they, however, hated was prejudice towards Nigerians in Ghana.
Sampson shared a bad experience about how some Ghanaians hated and treated them with contempt because of the long-held perception that Nigerians “are criminals” and recounted how he and some colleagues were verbally assaulted by a Ghanaian landlady when they went in search of accommodation as foreign students in Accra.
“We went to seek for an apartment at Adabraka. The way the landlady addressed us… we meant no harm despite the fact that some Nigerians have this swag about them doesn’t mean they’re criminals. She told the agents she doesn’t want Nigerians in her house. We told her we aren’t bad people but she insisted and kind of raining abuses on us too. We had to go to somewhere else and another landlady did same thing to us,” Sampson narrated.
Would they recommend Ghana to other international students despite the bad experience?
Despite the harsh treatment from some Ghanaians, Sampson and Hannah said they will highly recommend Ghana to other Nigerian students seeking to study abroad in Africa. They cited high-quality degrees and flexible academic curriculum as reasons Ghana universities should be patronised.
Another major reason is safe environments provided by managements of Ghanaian universities making occultism unlikely on campuses.
“I like the education environment because the Nigerian environment of studying is quite harsh. This thing about occultism is very high in Nigerian schools here. But in Ghana there is a quiet and conducive environment to learn and that I really appreciate,” Sampson explained.
Watch full interaction below: