Jumai Muhammed is a Nigerian tennis player who is presently playing College tennis in the United States of America, after bagging a scholarship to study abroad. Nigeria Tennis Live correspondent caught up with her recently, to ask how she’s coping, her first culture shock experience, what she misses the most about Nigeria, and she did not hold back in this exclusive chat with the young lady.
Could you tell us your first reaction when it finally dawned on you that you’d be traveling to school and play tennis in the United States?
I was excited because it’s an opportunity for me, to discover myself , set goals, change the world and make lifelong memories.
Was this trip your first time outside the country or your first time in the US?
I’ve been to Benin Republic before but this was my longest and most tiring journey ever.
How easy was it for you to settle into school and what’s the new routine like?
It’s wasn’t that easy for me. I had to visit the school enrollment center, financial aids, sort my bills which was difficult due to country policy.
So, what’s your new routine like now? Have you seen the facilities? What are your training routines?
Yes, I have seen the facilities. And for the training, we are using the weight room for now because of the storm, the court isn’t available for us to use at the moment and no indoor court, probably next week we will start using the court.
I only go to classes from class to the weight room.
What was the first culture shock that you had when you got there?
Haha firstly, myself and a friend went out and we were about to cross the road. I didn’t know when she pressed something on a pole hahahaha. So we were about to cross and the cars were speeding then she was just walking then I ran hahahaha.
She shouted “Jumai wait don’t run” then I said why, she had to explain how it goes that whenever I want to cross I should press the button and that it is a robot and the cars will wait for me.
Secondly, anywhere I go, doors open itself. Sometimes I try to open some but it won’t open. I had to press button for it to open for me.
Anything you miss about Nigeria yet?
Yes, a lot haha. I miss Nigerian foods. Most of the food here, I don’t know how to eat and prepare them, and friends will be eating very well. And also I miss languages from Nigeria, I miss (the) Nigerian accent.
I hardly understand their accent here and they hardly understand mine too hahahahha but I believe with time I will understand haha.
How about the academic aspect, what does it feel like? What differences have you observed from what is obtainable in Nigeria?
The academic aspect feels good, where you get to email the professor even after class for more explanation and they are ready to listen to you at anytime and most of our works are online.
Jumai, you plan on returning to Nigeria after your education or you have finally decided to JAPA?
I’m still deciding haha. I’m giving myself some time to think about it.
How did your family react to the news about your admission, and eventual trip?
Omg they were all happy about my admission. We were all terrified the night before I left. But the fear was mixed with excitement. Saying goodbye makes us feel very nostalgic.
What else would you love to say that we’ve not asked you, Jumai?
Anyone who moves to a brand new place, that is far from everything they’ve known, will feel a moment of uncertainty. But on the other side of this emotion is the feeling of accomplishment. I have just started the journey to a new chapter of my life and the reward is far bigger than that small moment of uncertainty. It’s OK to be uncertain of the future; college is a great time to figure out what my next step will be.
I miss my friends and family and I will forever be proud of my country Nigeria, and I promise to make everyone proud thank you.