by Adrianne George

Hyelhirra poses in front of the University of Debrecen where she attends classes


There is no place like home

Hyelhirra Adamu is a medical student in Debrecen, Hungary. While she chose to leave her home country to study abroad there is not a day that goes by that she doesn’t think about returning home to Nigeria. “I love Nigeria. Don’t get me wrong I am grateful for the opportunity to live abroad for a while”, she admits, but adds “I love it back home, my family is there”. Her family may recognize the changes in her since moving to Hungary. “I’m quite a different person from when I first arrived here”, she adds. For example she walks and exercises and pays more to her health including what foods she eats.


I dread it

Hyelhirra admits that living abroad has helped her learn a great deal about herself. “The most enlightening is that skin color is just a superficial thing, beyond cosmetics and skin products there is nothing much to your skin color”, she says. However it has been Hyelhirra’s experience that skin color does make a difference at international airports. “It’s ridiculous how whenever I travel and come back, at the airport they always keep us colored skin people longer than everyone, scanning and scanning your passport. I dread it”, she complains.


Don’t be afraid

Studying medicine doesn’t leave a lot of time to learn Hungarian but Hyelhirra has learned the basics and she is not afraid to be the first to say hello in an attempt to make new friends. And her school has an international community which helps. It also helps to see pictures of family on Facebook which keeps her connected to their daily lives.

The Danube cuts through the urban sprawl of Budapest

Frugal works

Being a medical student in a foreign land has helped Hyelhirra become more practical when it comes to managing money. “I just go back to basics”, she explains, which means cooking instead of going to restaurants, taking the bus instead of a taxi, and not buying things she doesn’t need. But being frugal doesn’t mean she hasn’t taken the time to explore Hungary including Lake Balaton, Budapest, and the famous warm mineral spa waters used in the thermal baths.

Heroes Square in Budapest

No compromises

Hyelhirra is also using her time in Hungary to mark some personal milestones such as making friends from at least 10 different countries and traveling around Europe. She has learned not to limit herself, realized her strength and courage and now knows that she can achieve anything. She boasts that “I am ready for world”. Her advice for future and current expats is “always stay true to who you are, stand for what you believe in and never compromise”.

The Budapest Parliament building


Photo credits: All photos courtesy Of Hyelhirra Adamu

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