Evita's Yoruba Study Abroad in Ìbàdàn

Evita Taneng Yoruba Study Abroad

By Evita “Èyítáyọ̀” Taneng, Undergraduate Student
Fulbright-Hays Yoruba Group Project Abroad - Summer 2023

This summer, I studied abroad in Ìbàdàn, Nigeria through the Fulbright-Hays Yorùbá Group Project Abroad. This was truly the greatest experience of my life; I am not exaggerating. From the beginning of the program to the end, I have seen huge improvements in my Yorùbá reading, listening, and writing. The Yorùbá language center at the University of Ìbàdàn was wonderfully staffed with knowledgeable, hardworking, helpful, and passionate teachers. I was also blessed to have what I believe to be the best host family ever. My host family was very helpful and supportive of me throughout my studies.  My study abroad experience could not have been as great as it was without the language center staff and my host family.  

Since I have been back in the United States, one of the questions that I get asked  most frequently is, “Would you go back?” Honestly, I would live there. What makes me want to go back is all the people that I met throughout my two months studying abroad. Yes, I want to go back to Nigeria. It is a beautiful country. But I specifically want to go back to Ìbàdàn. I want to see everyone in the language center, my host family, the language partners, and everyone else whom I met on the campus of the University of Ìbàdàn. I still talk to everybody. My language partner still helps me with my Yorùbá; I learn something new from him everyday.

What will impact me now and for the rest of my life are the connections and friendships that I made while in Ìbàdàn. All these friendships brought about more knowledge and understanding of Yorùbá. As it was said in the movie Akeelah and the Bee, “50,000 coaches.” The people whom I met became my friends and also my coaches. They were all willing to teach me more about the Yorùbá language and culture. From my host parents helping me revise my homework, to the keke men’s eagerness to converse with me in Yorùbá once they realized that I can understand it, to the hairdresser asking me questions in Yoruba and helping me construct my responses correctly, I can say I had 50,000 Yorùbá coaches. This encourages me to want to go back to Ìbàdàn and learn even more. I do not want to forget what I have learned nor let it go to waste. This study abroad program enhanced my knowledge of the Yorùbá language and culture, and I have everyone involved in the program at the University of Ìbàdàn to thank for that. I am excited to continue learning Yorùbá. I will go to Ìbàdàn again someday (maybe even move there) and visit everybody. I look forward to being able to converse with them in Yorùbá more proficiently. 



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