The Immigrant’s Truth: #JapaStory05
In this post, I speak with Industry’s finest (literally, gosh!) Tosin, a supply chain engineer at one of the top semi-conductor companies in the world. Tosin aspires to break grounds in global markets. He has proven to be terrific at what he does by constantly being at the top of his game. He enjoys sports as much as the average man and relishes travelling to exotic locations; which is evident from his well curated Instagram feed (I would share but I may have to get permission). I had a great chat with him where he opened up about his #JapaStory. Detailing his experience from before he left Nigeria to the shores of the Land of the free. Enjoy!
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You left Nigeria in 2018, why did you leave?
Tosin: After practicing engineering in Nigeria for about four years; I would say that I decided to leave because I wanted to follow excellence. I am passionate about my career and; looking at the engineering industrial markets in Nigeria; obviously there was not so much going on in terms of maturity in the sector. Well now, one can say Tech is booming. However at the time, the only industry that had reverence was in oil & gas. I knew that for me to fulfil my potential to a satisfactory level, I had to leave at some point.
I have always wanted to be in a place where I could rub shoulders with the best. The United States of America seemed like the perfect option. Being a world power, it has the right tools that I needed in order to shoot up my trajectory towards the right path. While working in Nigeria, it was also quite evident that I could never make salary comparisons; with someone abroad who worked in the same role that I did. It’s completely sad and I knew that I didn’t want that to go on forever.
You’ve mentioned why you chose the US, is there any other reason that motivated your choice?
Tosin: While making my list, I fixated on countries that had clear immigration paths and job opportunities. Three countries that stood out for me were Canada, America and Australia. Eventually, I weighed pros and cons between these three and realized that Australia is too far from home. It then came down to between Canada and America. I settled for America because they have a better funding system in place for international students. And since I was going through the student route, that was beneficial. Additionally, I found that there are a lot more encouraging job opportunities in America. Moreover, I have family in the US and this kind of tipped the scale further to that side for me. I could already see first-hand, technical growth in careers for other people that I know.
How was your experience when you got to America?
Tosin: For the most part, there was the initial culture-shock that comes with moving to a new place. I studied in a university that was located in a city but was not as diverse. The experience came with acclimatizing myself to the difference in ways of life of people in this new place. Also, trying to find where I could fit all my own idiosyncrasies into as well. For instance, there was no Amala or Eba to eat regularly. An average american-born person is comfortable with eating pizza as a standard meal. In contrast, where I come from, pizza is just a snack.
Also with dealing with older people, I was considered to be what you may refer to as “too respectful”. That bordered on the fact that I wasn’t as expressive like others. This was largely due to fear of stepping on toes that had been inculcated in me from Nigeria. However, over time as relationships were built, I began to get used to the way things are meant to be. Those were the bits of inertia that I had to overcome before I could settle in appropriately.
Before you left, did you have expectations?
Tosin: My expectations included getting good education and getting a great job. My focus has always been on my career. Therefore, all my energy was channelled towards it. I also looked forward to building a global network a lot. In terms of meeting people from different backgrounds and coming together to pool resources to leverage on the global market. My belief is that in the future; when I decide to establish a venture, it would be easier if I have already built a lasting network. All things considered, that may come in handy and help actualize things faster.
Were those expectations met?
Tosin: Yes, to a very large extent. I have learnt new things and for the most part, made good relationships. Education was top notch too. Even though, I am still proud of the one I received from the University of Ibadan.
Has leaving Nigeria been the right move for you?
Tosin: (bursts out laughing and says iru question wo niyen which is yoruba for what sort of question is that?) Technically and financially, leaving Nigeria has been a very good decision. It was challenging in Nigeria however I still believed it could be worth it. On the other hand, I genuinely think that I am better off after leaving. Asides from the better financial aspects of things, the calibre of projects that I have gotten to work on; at different levels of my career; since I got the US have been outstanding. Those type of projects you see on Television or in the news and go “oh, wow”. I have always wanted to get involved with those kind and I am glad to be doing that now. Even now I think that I probably should have left earlier than when I did.
What is your current relationship with Nigeria?
Tosin: Despite our relationship being distant as it is, I love Nigeria. I am open towards moving back. Maybe not now, but eventually. By when I would have acquired more technical expertise that would enable me to build something beneficial to the country. However, it also depends on if there are systems put in place to encourage and promote that.
Do you mean moving back to stay or occasional visits?
Tosin: It depends.
Tosin: Right now, what would be ideal is if I worked for a company that has a branch in Nigeria. Because if they decided to move me, that way, there will be the flexibility to come and go. Then again, my moving back plans are in the future.
What do you miss?
Tosin: I miss my family and my friends. Although, a lot of my friends have also moved here so it’s not as bad or as lonely.
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