According to new statistics, the number of Nigerians studying for a degree in the UK has trebled in just eight years.
Data from the Higher Education Statistics Agency in the UK (HESA) shows that 17,640 Nigerians enrolled to study at UK universities during 2011/12 compared to 5,385 for 2003/04.
Nottingham Trent University, based in Nottingham in the East Midlands in England, now has nearly double the number of Nigerian students compared to two years ago. For the academic year 2013/14, 64 Nigerians enrolled at the university, compared to 38 in 2011/12.
Among those to enrol were siblings Olufunmilayo Odeyemi, 19, Fehintola Odeyemi, 21, and Olurotimi Odeyemi, 23, who were all born and raised in Kaduna.
Olufunmilayo is currently studying for a degree in product design, while Fehintola and Olurotimi have both graduated with degrees in architecture.
They all undertook a foundation course at Nottingham Trent International College, which is based at the university’s campus in Nottingham city centre, to give them a good ground for their degrees.
Olufunmilayo, known as Funmi, said: “The best thing about studying in the UK is that you get to meet so many different people. ”It’s a real experience and I have learned much more than I ever imagined. Not only that, but I love football and have been to watch my favourite team, Manchester United, play in the Premier League.”
Older sister Fehintola said: “The lifestyle is very different in the UK compared to Nigeria. What you say, how you dress and the way you interact with people is very different from home. It has been a real experience.
“I plan to do a masters degree in architecture which will lead to me being qualified with the Royal Institute of British Architects (RIBA). Once I have this, I would like to come home to Nigeria and move to Lagos to work in an architectural firm.”
Selma Toohey, international recruitment officer for Sub-Saharan Africa at Nottingham Trent University, said: “We’re seeing increases in the number of students from Nigeria coming here to study, which is really encouraging. In the past we have had many students applying from Lagos, but now we’re seeing more come to us from other parts of Nigeria, such as cities and towns in the north like Kaduna.
“More people are realising that studying in the UK is a realistic option and many find it to be a real benefit to experience living in another culture while studying for their degrees.”