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Interview with Kim – a South African expat living in Nigeria

Updated 2 Jun 2014

Kim Kloppers is a South African expat who moved to Nigeria with her husband and son in 2013. They live in the southwestern city of Ibadan and moved there due to her husband’s job. Here Kim shares her expat experiences of life in Nigeria’s Oyo state.

Learn more about expat life in Nigeria in the Nigeria expat guide or read more expat experiences in Nigeria.

About Kim

Kim Kloppers - A South African expat living in NigeriaQ: Where are you originally from? 

A: Cape Town, South Africa

Q: Where are you living now? 

A:  Ibadan, Nigeria

Q: When did you move to Nigeria? 

A:  December 2013

Q: Did you move alone or with a spouse/family? 

A:  With my husband and son

Q: Why did you move to Nigeria; what do you do? 

A:  My husband works here on contract. I have my own online sports goods company

Living in Nigeria

Q: What do you enjoy most about Ibadan? How would you rate the quality of life compared to South Africa? 

A:  I enjoy the relaxed manner and the attitude that anything can be fixed! The quality of life is vastly different as Cape Town is very cosmopolitan and I can buy any foods.

Q: Any negatives? What do you miss most about home? 

A:  I miss fresh vegetables and fresh milk and driving myself.

Q: What are the biggest adjustments you had to make when settling into expat life in Nigeria? Did you experience any particular elements of culture shock?

A: There are a few, like everything takes forever. There is no quick pop into the corner store, re traffic and road conditions/long lines/hygiene issues at shops (don’t have cloths ready to wipe counters down/no continuity regarding items like fresh milk or bacon for example and the heat keeps all indoors.

Q: What’s the cost of living compared to home? What is cheap or expensive in particular? 

A:  Food is expensive, petrol is very cheap, and rents are pricey for what you get. Electronics are less expensive here

Q: How would you rate the public transport in Ibadan? What are the different options? Do you need to own a car?

A: There is no option for me. They do have motorbike taxis and car taxis…I have to use a private company driver due to safety reasons.

Q: How would you rate the healthcare in Ibadan? Have you had any particularly good/bad experiences with regards to doctors and hospitals? Are there any hospitals you would recommend?

A: We have great medical coverage but can’t really use it here. We go to doctors when our vacation comes and we go home. There are clinics that are ok. There is a lovely doctor here we all go to, Dr Natasha from Oyo Clinic

Q: What are the biggest safety issues facing expats living in Nigeria? Are there any areas expats should avoid?

A: Don’t travel at night, roads are terrible, water must be bottled, and stick to the rules.

Q: How do you rate the standard of housing in Ibadan? What different options are available for expats?

A:  We only have compound options which are average.

Meeting people and making friends in Ibadan

Q: How tolerant are the locals of foreigners? Is there any obvious discrimination against particular religions or women etc.?

A: People are friendly but not nosy. I have not noticed any discrimination.

Q: Was it easy meeting people and making friends? How did you go about meeting new people in Ibadan? 

A: Yes, we all meet at a local church recreation area and drink beer and eat pizza etc… Many different nationalities/ladies get together for gym or running dates or tea.

Q: Have you made friends with locals or do you mix mainly with other expats? What advice would you give to new expats looking to make friends? Any social/expat groups you can recommend?

A:  We socialise with expats as it’s easier and safer as we can’t travel at night.

Working in Nigeria

Q: Did you have a problem getting a visa or work permit for Nigeria? Did you tackle the visa process yourself or did you enlist the services of an immigration consultant?

A:  The company did it all for us.

Q: What’s the economic climate like in Ibadan? Do you have any tips for expats looking to find a job there? Which resources did you find most useful?

A: You can do anything here if you’re willing to look at opportunities, the sheer volume of people makes it possible.

Q: How does the work culture differ from home? Do you have any tips for expats doing business in Nigeria?

A: They work different hours here and sell anything.

Family and children

Q: Did your spouse or partner have problems adjusting to their new home? Do you think there are any specific challenges for a trailing spouse?

A:  Yes, he is missing kids left behind at university and lack of close friends. Boredom is also a problem, if you allow it.

Q: Did your children settle in easily? What were the biggest challenges for your children during the move?

A:  My son is 17 so it’s tough for kids his age – most expats send kids overseas to study. The challenge is finding things to do like skateboarding, even cycling… Roads are just too bad and too busy.

Q: What are the schools like, any particular suggestions? 

A:  There are only two that comply with our standards.

And finally…

Q: Is there any other advice you would like to offer new expat arrivals?

A:  Take your time to adjust and try attend all the ladies morning events.

– Interviewed May 2014

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