International student Chidinma shares with Mojatu how she became a YouTuber, and her first impressions of Derby.
Mojatu: Tell us a little bit about yourself.
Chidinma: My name is Chidinma Amanze and I’m from eastern Nigeria. I love creating content, making videos and sharing my story. I’m a foodie, so I love to cook and eat, too. I’m currently enrolled at the University of Derby for a Masters in Civil Engineering and Construction Management. The main challenge for me so far is the weather – I come from a very warm continent and this cold is something I’ve had to battle with! But I’m having a beautiful experience so far and I’m grateful to be here.
Mojatu: When did you decide to start vlogging?
Chidinma: It was after my sister’s wedding – I have a lot of family in the US, the UK and Canada, and some of them couldn’t make it, so I took videos to send to everybody. My roommate back in school was breathing down my neck, telling me, “You’re good with the camera, you’re good with creating content – do this!” I wasn’t ready, because that was my final year in university, but two weeks before graduation in 2019, I was like, “Okay, let me film my first intro video.” I had a lot of setbacks – my phone was having issues, and the lighting had issues – but I’d come too far to quit.
Mojatu: What were your first impressions of Derby?
Chidinma: When I came down from the train, a lady saw me struggling and she was like, “Hi, do you need help? You have a lot of luggage,” and she showed me where I could get a taxi. You didn’t have to do that for me – you don’t know me from anywhere! Also, another person I met at the bank actually left her position and went to another bank to help me process my application there. It honestly really touched my heart. Also, the city is very beautiful and I think everything is just really accessible here.
Mojatu: You did your undergraduate in Ghana. In what ways is student life in Derby and in Ghana similar/different?
Chidinma: At uni, we were nearly all just Nigerians in my accommodation, but here, I’m the only Nigerian in my apartment. We have a German, a British and two Chinese people, and sometimes we cook and eat each other’s dishes. In terms of student life, I think it’s the same thing, but just having different nationalities – not just Africans, but also Europeans, Americans and Asians – is where the difference comes in.
Mojatu: Is there anything that you miss from Nigeria?
Chidinma: The street food! I miss the street food so much. I live in Port Harcourt, so I miss boli and fish, and I miss suya. Well, and my parents. I have family here, but I’d love to see my parents again and give them a hug. We thank God for video calls – we always catch up at the end of the week.
Mojatu: How did you first hear about the University of Derby?
Chidinma: I was watching a YouTube video and the ad popped up. I hadn’t heard about it, so I went to the website, and what stood out for me was how close together the city is. I went to London over the weekend and it’s so busy – whereas I wanted somewhere that is calm and where you can get around easily. I went to YouTube and I didn’t really see any videos about Derby, so I thought, when I come here, I have to show Derby through my own eyes so I can help people to make the decision to also relocate here.
Mojatu: What sort of advice would you give to aspiring vloggers?
Chidinma: People come back to your channel because there’s something that you give them that they don’t get from other vloggers – whether it’s your smile, your accent or the way you dress – so start from where you are, use what you have and just stay true to yourself. We’re all going through life and a lot of us have similar experiences, so you’ll definitely find an audience of people that resonate with your content. There’s only one of you in this world, so whatever you have to give, it’s only you that can give it.
Mojatu: What are your plans for after you graduate?
Chidinma: I want to apply for some jobs here. We have two years post-study where you can pay to remain in the country, so for now I’d love to remain for a while and start working here and see what I can do. In terms of vlogging, of course, I’ll take you guys through it all along my journey.
You can find Chidinma’s channel at youtube.com/ChidinmaAmanze
By Jamie Morris