Why I came to the UK, and Durham, for university (updated in May 2023)

Frederick Adadevoh

Where I’m from

Hey! I’m Frederick (or Fred) and I’m from Lagos, Nigeria. I lived in Nigeria from when I was born, up until sixth form, doing my IGCSEs (International GCSEs) there before coming to the UK for A levels and university.

I learnt English as my first language in Nigeria, so there wasn’t a communication barrier when I arrived in the UK. However, I have to acknowledge this isn’t the case for every person. I speak English fluently, but as I grew up in Nigeria, I still have a bit of a Nigerian accent whilst speaking English. I find that people at Durham tend to make a genuine effort to understand you regardless of the accent (although I find myself switching to a more British accent at times).

My older sister and I in Lagos

Why the UK?

To be blunt, Nigerian tertiary education is not as good as the UK’s at the moment. My parents wanted me to get better opportunities that I would not have access to in Nigeria and felt that the UK would provide me with exactly that. Additionally, I have some family in the UK, and I’ve visited here quite a bit, so it didn’t feel very foreign when I got here.

I am privileged to have the opportunity to study outside of Nigeria, and I can truly not think of a better place for me than the UK.

The main reason though is, I thought the UK would give me the best experience. I felt like I could understand the culture here better than I could in Canada or the US (the two other options for countries to study in).

A group of amazing people helped me celebrate Nigeria’s Independence Day at my sixth form.

My experience so far (by January)…

I have to say I’m enjoying studying here. Everyone is genuinely so nice, it’s scary! I can’t really speak for other institutions, but I’ve felt a warm welcome here at Durham. There’s a possibility that this is a UK-centric thing though, as I felt quite similar whilst I was doing my A levels in Sheffield.

Everyone is open to a conversation here at Durham, so it’s relatively easy to make new friends.  Furthermore, Durham is genuinely extremely beautiful. I find studying outside Josephine Butler on the benches to be quite calming and refreshing thanks to the beautiful greenery that engulfs Durham, as well as the general silence in the area.

The only drawback is how cold it gets. (It reached -5 degrees just before I left for Christmas!) But, to be honest, the rooms are very well heated, so you can’t even really tell how cold it is unless you go outside.

…and an update after seven months here…

Since joining Durham University, I’ve genuinely enjoyed my time here (even though it’s only been 7 months).

It’s also such a stunning city. I remember feeling like I was in a Disney movie – in the least cringe way! There are loads of societies and socials. I like to say, “If you can think of it, we probably have a society for it.” The societies make it so easy to find new friends. All you do is find a society which has something you’re interested in, join in, then VOILA! You’ll see loads of other like-minded people who are so easy to relate to, from my experience.

My favourite things about Durham

  • Durham Cathedral – One of my favourite things here at Durham, is the Cathedral. It is visible from almost anywhere in Durham, and when it’s lit up at night, it’s one of the most beautiful sights.
  • The café culture – Another thing I love here is the café culture. There are loads of aesthetic cafés in Durham that serve amazing snacks and hot chocolates! If you ever get the chance, I highly recommend the Riverview Kitchen. As the name suggests, you get an amazing view of the river from the café, and their pancakes are the best!
  • Such an inclusive and welcoming city – The last thing I want to mention is how inclusive Durham is. From my experience, everyone here is so warm. This makes fitting in so easy and seamless, at least in my experience.

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Frederick Adadevoh

Hey! I’m Fred. I’m an international student from Nigeria. I’m a fresher at Jo Bo (Josephine Butler College) who’s studying Economics and is in the Durham University Fencing Club. I’m a friendly and charismatic guy. If you ever see me when you come to Durham, come say hi!

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