It came as a surprise to my family members that I planned to travel all the way down to Nigeria from Germany for my internship program.
They had serious concerns because of the prevalent stories of corruption, terrorism, and fraud from mainstream media about Nigeria, but I had a reason for my decision. I have passion for the African business landscape and having explored Ghana for a year, I decided that it was time to learn about Nigeria, her people, their business operations and ecosystem.
Now, this is where Box Office Hub comes in. I got a two months internship offer with BOH and I had expectations to meet with different entrepreneurs, interact with them to understand their motivation, opportunities, and challenges.
Coming into Nigeria for the first time and landing in Abuja, the Federal Capital Territory, I experienced a different culture, dressing and a whole new menu of cuisine. I really enjoyed the food here: I ate a lot of amala, banga soup, white soup, pounded yam and I tried almost all the different soups from the in-house café and other restaurants in Abuja.
They say the way you are dressed plays a huge role in how the society addresses you. As an individual that is less interested in fashion, one of my biggest fears was the dressing for the culture. One of the Nigerian friends I met during the first few weeks of my arrival put me through on what to wear and how to wear it to blend in. I am hoping I did a good job because I can only try.
My deepest gratitude goes to Box Office staff and hub members who were very generous with their time and open to tell me about their businesses and their challenges. That way I achieved my goal which is geared towards learning about the local business environment in Abuja in particular and Nigeria in general. During my internship, I met a lot of hard-working, friendly and genuine people here, which goes to say that the international media doesn’t have the true and wholesome narrative of Nigeria and Nigerians.
The highlight of my time in BOH was working with an intelligent team on a research project that provided insights on how coworking creates jobs and generates revenue for the Nigerian economy.
I was able to learn one thing from every one of my colleagues which made this experience memorable and interesting. Thanks to my former colleagues, I got local names: Ngozi gave me an Igbo name: Nweke. Someone else translated my Germany name into Hausa name - Yakubu. Thanks to the “Pidgin Master” Justus who gave me a Yoruba name which is so special that I can’t remember it right away and also taught me some Pidgin expressions. I really hope when I come back someday, I will speak pidgin like him.
The send-forth organized for me by the management was nostalgic as it brought back good and fun-filled memories of my internship in Box Office Hub. I immediately became the star of the office because even though I don’t like taking pictures, everyone in the office wanted a picture with me.
I would miss the team at BOH and I hope to come back someday soon.