Simon Ateba: The cultural shock I have experienced in the United States has been huge, massive, gigantic

This will be fast. Bear with me. Since I landed at the JFK International Airport in New York in 2017, and took a four hour trip from there to Washington DC, I have stumbled, rumbled, bumbled and guessed my way into the American way of life.

Bear with me. I don’t even know where to start. Wait, still trying to find the best way to tell this story. Do not laugh. Just give me a pat on the back because I am about to take you into a different world.

First of all, I had to learn in two years what people here have known since birth.

It starts at the Airport. You get there. You stand there. It’s cold. You’re used to heat. Extreme Lagos heat. So hot was my room in Lagos that I did not close the windows for three years. I am not kidding.

Simon Ateba
Simon Ateba
Based in Washington, District of Columbia, United States of America, Simon leads a brilliant team of reporters, freelance journalists, analysts, researchers and contributors from around the world to run TODAY NEWS AFRICA as editor-in-chief. Simon Ateba's journalistic experience spans over 10 years and covers many beats, including business and investment, information technology, politics, diplomacy, human rights, science reporting and much more. Write him:


  1. You advised us initially not to laugh, but I did because this article has many fun facts. You are really funny. Your reference to underground bus station-whether people breathe there, and your presumption that electricity has been in America for over hundred years really cracked me up. African countries without electricity can relate, right?

    I actually made reference to your experiences in my upcoming book. I quoted you in the section of my book on “First Impressions in America.” I look forward to reading another one.

  2. These are the twists and turns of adjusting to a foreign way of existence . It literarily wakes one’s brain up to the perseverance needed to bring about a brighter future, not only for the migrant individual, but also for future generations to come. Thanks for sharing Simon!

  3. Learning

    Thanks for always sharing. I think is better i hold on on my move to Canada.

    You last paragraph is so real and scaring….

    ”Your money will also finish in a week…..Everything you brought from Africa, gone, broke, no work permit yet, not able to pay. It’s a different world”


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