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College of Science & Engineering

College of Science & Engineering

News and stories from the College of Science & Engineering

Riding the culture shock wave

My name is Ademiku Adeleye and I am from Nigeria. I am a Mastercard Foundation Scholar, studying a Food Security Master’s degree. I am also the Postgraduate Taught School representative for the School of Geosciences.

Ademiku at a motorway in Nigeria

Ademiku in his native Nigeria

First impressions

Embarking on a journey as an international student often gives you a variety of experiences, some anticipated, others shocking! Imagine transitioning from a country with temperatures of up to 44.5°C, and then coming to a beautiful city, whose freezing temperatures battle in a tournament with strong winds; and what about the early nights at daytime? – ineffable!

My own experience actually began under surprisingly sunny skies. Arriving in Europe, I was welcomed by a warm sun – a rarity, as I would soon learn. With a chuckle, I mused to myself, ‘I thought they said it’s always cold here,’ oblivious to me that Mother Earth was showing the city warmed up. The following day, as I stepped out into what I expected to be another sunny morning, I was met instead by icy, wind-swept weather. And just when I thought I had the weather figured out, rain began to pour. Since this time, I have noted my dear friend – Emily’s words – ‘when the weather forecast says sunny, hold an umbrella!’ Is the weather forecast wrong? Maybe not! However, it is unfortunate that we should expect even more extreme conditions in the future as the effects of climate change become more deadly. That’s why we should protect our planet now.

Ademiku at Holy Corner in Edinburgh

Ademiku at Holy Corner in Edinburgh



The food here is another shock which is almost unbelievable – just ask any international student! I longed to taste the classic Yoruba Nigerian meal – white fluffy pounded yam with wellmeated vegetable (a meat and vegetable soup) within some dried cow skin (Ponmon), with goat meat and assorts (Orisirisi). I am sure you have your own equivalent in your own country. Unfortunately, I couldn’t get that!

Thanks to Pete, (Student Development Coordinator, Mastercard Foundation Team) who pointed me towards Jollof Rice at KFC for my first meal, hoping it would be like the West African version of the same dish, however it turned out to be about as far away from that as possible!

Xin (a student friend of mine from southern China) told me he misses the ability to source and prepare his strong flavoured Tieguanyin Tea. Now that I have had a handful of experiences of sensory analysis from various types of chocolates and cheeses and vegetable dishes that I’d never eaten before, I tend to mostly buy sweet products as some of the other flavours are just so strange and indescribable for me.

Ademiku outside the Ministry of Education in Nigeria

Ademiku outside the Ministry of Education in Nigeria


To my fellow international students and staff who have come here to get a degree at one of the world’s best universities, my advice is to try and find a balance with the culture shock if you get one and to share your experiences with other international students. If you are still struggling with it, your School and the University has several support services and the Students’ Association is always ready to help too – so you are never alone. You didn’t come this far to give up here, your resilience, like steel, is only strengthened in the forge of new experiences. There’s no doubt in my mind – we will not only survive but thrive.

Author: Ademiku ADELEYE
Social media:  LinkedIn

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