Like Lagos, Like Salford

By Damilola Mustafa

I start with the phrase ‘Like Lagos, Like Salford’, but in the real sense of every word, these two cities are two worlds apart. I will give you insight into what I mean.

I started my MSc in Public Health in September at the University of Salford. It has been a worthwhile journey coming to such a different place. I am Nigerian and I grew up in Lagos, a busy city in Nigeria. Lagos is a mega city with the hustle and bustle spirit bubbling through everyone you see. A fast-paced setting where you either go hard or go home, a city whose mantra is ‘No sleeping on a bicycle in Lagos’. The yellow and black buses are a trademark sight, it is this and the noise that makes the city come alive as people are up and running for their daily activities. I miss the communal spirit in my home city, where your business seems like everyone’s concern. The street meals are the best. It is not uncommon to drive around Lagos and smell the aroma of street food, from our national delicacy-Jollof rice to the roadside snacks of roasted corn and coconut, having a feel of home while on the street is a wonderful sight to behold. The rhythm of the city is made up of the honks from impatient drivers, the noise from agitated bus passengers and the loud music blasting from the roadside vendors trying to make some money for the day. In all Lagos is home to many and owned by none. While Lagos is a must-see, the traffic is so tiring as everyone is in a hurry to get to nowhere.

Lekki-Ikoyi Link Bridge, Lagos

Unlike my home city Lagos, Salford, is a serene environment. There is no litter hanging around with lush green spaces and ancient buildings that hold a lot of history behind their walls. Everyone is polite with a smile on their face, signposts everywhere you turn diminishing the anxiety that comes with being in a new environment. The transport system is efficient and remarkable, and everyone obeys the traffic stops. However, it can feel lonely here as everyone seems to mind their business, this is the opposite of the communal life I am used to in Lagos. Thus, it is very important that international student’s network and make friends, as no man is an island. I soon discovered that Salford residents were incredibly kind, both in and out of the institution, making new friends from all parts of the country, learning new skills with each lecture, and having lecturers and personal tutors who care and understand the students is the gift that keeps on giving. Furthermore, getting to know the history of the city through the art in the Salford Museum was an interesting experience for me. 

I was very worried about being bored and becoming isolated in a new city. I know it is not uncommon for international students to worry about the social aspects of school, but the academic aspects were equally getting to me. I remember thinking to myself, everyone in class seems more advanced than I am. I studied Biochemistry for my bachelor’s and moving into public health after a few years of studying seemed like I was barking up the wrong tree. A few weeks into lectures, I got a better understanding that I had a lot to contribute and that is why I am here, this understanding boosted my morale, and changed my outlook and approach to my course. Assessments are given at a good time, so you don’t miss out on the extra-curricular activities, we are also encouraged to get involved in the student union and other activities such as the international café where other international students come to socialise.

The best part of 2022 for me was being accepted into the master’s programme in public health here at The University of Salford, I look forward to seeing what the future holds for me in 2023.

2 thoughts on “Like Lagos, Like Salford”

  1. Firstly, congratulations! This is really awesome, interesting and highly relatable.

    Keep up the incredible work 😊👍🏽

  2. First off, congratulations! This is really awesome, interesting and highly relatable.

    Keep up the incredible work 😊👍🏽

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