- Geography and Climate-The country of Benin lies to the east of Togo and to the west of Nigeria. The country has Niger to its north and the Bight of Benin to its south. This country mainly consists of plains and quite a few hills. The hills are not very high. The highest point of Benin is Mont Sokbaro, which is 658 meters in height. The mountain ranges and the lakes crossing them here and there form a lovely ambience.
- History-This country was once a kingdom. This kingdom was famous for casting bronze and brass statues. The rulers of the kingdom of Benin were called the Edos, which was a tribal community. Before the kingdom of Benin came into the hands of the Edos, it was called as Igodomigodo. During the 15th century, when the reign of this kingdom was at its peak, the Portuguese traders came to this kingdom and started trading with the Edos. But slowly Dutch and other European people started to build colonies in this country. The reign of the kingdom began to become weak. To get back the control of the country, the export trading was banned in Benin. To protect the interest of the British traders and the people of Benin, the Galway treaty was signed. This country faced the invasion of mainly the French and British people. After a prolonged struggle, the people of Benin received their independence in the year 1960. The country of Benin became the Republic of Benin. Post their independence, after a few years, the military people started to rule this country. The government was basically a Marxist Military government. Again this government collapsed in the year 1990. After that, the country became a democratic republic.
- Economy The country is facing some problem in the economy. The GDP growth has slightly declined. The debt of the government has increased. There are also problems of red tapes and corruption. So, you will have to think of setting in India after you pass out from any college in Benin. Right now, the GDP of this country is not suitable for foreign people to start their career here. The economy of this country primarily depends upon agriculture. The real estate sector in this country is experiencing a decline. The overall GDP is not expected to grow to a substantial level anytime soon. This is because the debt is about 50% of the GDP.
- The currency of Benin isWest African CFA Franc.
- The primary language of this country is French. So, while taking admission at the colleges or universities of Benin, you need to be very careful. If the college professors teach primarily in French and you don’t have any familiarity with this language, then taking admission in such a college would be meaningless. When you are taking admission at any college in Benin, go through their official website to find the primary language of teaching in the classes. Select only those universities or colleges, where English is spoken and written primarily.
- The capital city of Benin in Porto Novo. This is the second largest city of Benin. It is also the port capital of this country. It is a very beautiful city and has a historical legacy.
- Did you know that the former name of Benin was Dahomey? The name change was announced under the Major Mathieu Kerekou’s reign.
- This country mainly exports palm products like palm oil. Other than this it exports cashew nuts and cotton to other African countries.
- The people of Benin are ardent followers of soccer and football. This country has national teams for football and soccer. This country also has a National Olympics and Sports Committee.
Admission Process in Benin
- Firstly, you need to provide the documents of your academic performances. If you are applying for an undergraduate course, then the mark sheets of class 10 and 12 suffice. If you are applying for a postgraduate course, then you would also require the mark sheet and certificate of your graduation.
- You must submit the fully filled admission form. Do check the format in which you are required to fill the marks. Convert the marks of your schools and colleges in this country in the format acceptable by the colleges or universities in Benin.
- You would require one passport size photograph. This photograph could either be submitted online or pasted on the application form.
- One photocopy of the passport proving that the remaining validity of the passport is more than six months is required.
- You would require two recommendation letters from the professors of your high school or college as applicable.
- Last but not the least, you would have to prove your financial stability to the colleges or universities in Benin. You must submit the financial statements for the last six months. These statements should show that you have the money to cover up for the tuition fee and food while in this country.
Student Visa Application Process
Before you apply for your student visa in this country, you must do two things. Firstly, you must apply at a university in Benin. You will have to obtain the acceptance letter from that university. If you don’t get an acceptance letter from any of the universities that you have applied to, then don’t apply for the student visa. The next thing that you should do is you should book your flight tickets to Benin. You will have to produce all these things during the visa interview. Another thing, which is although not mandatory is a suggestion, is you should study a little about the country of Benin before you go for the visa interview. The reason is that the visa interviewers may ask you the reason for choosing Benin. You will not be able to answer the question properly if you haven’t got any information about this country. One way to do this is to go through this article thoroughly. You must know the key factors in the country and its educational system. It is not required that you learn the evolution of Benin. But you be able to convince the consulate that in order to make your career a success, Benin will be a key factor.
In most of the universities, the percentage of native students and Nigerian students are more than the international students. So, you will face less competition from the international students. Some universities offer student exchange programs. Under these programs, students who have enrolled at a university in Benin are sent to a university in West Africa to complete one or two semesters. This is done to make the students aware of the teaching pattern of other universities. The students of Benin are sent to those universities only with which the universities of Benin have collaborated. So, as a student, you can gain a lot of exposure to new disciplines and infrastructure. Unlike some countries, here you will not face any problem regarding the dresses to wear. You can wear traditional or western wear according to your comfort. As a student, if you go into the rural areas to study their lives and prepare a report on them, then you will see that those people are mainly suffering from two types of diseases, namely, Diarrhoea and AIDS. You will see the urban people also facing problems related to diarrhoea. That is why one quick suggestion here would be that always keep two bottles of packaged drinking water with you. Whether you are at home or at your college, you should not drink water from any unknown and questionable source.
From the water, let us come to food. Rice is the staple food of Benin. Therefore, all those who will go to study in Benin from South or East India will face less trouble regarding food. During the short breaks at the universities, you can have pastries which are specialities of Benin. The name of these pastries is Yovo Doko
. When you are scheduled for long hours of classes, then you can keep a box full of yovo dokos with you. Benin has a series of fritters that will make your mouth water. Among them is the national dish of Benin, which is Kuli Kuli
. This dish is a combination of peanuts and groundnuts. It is a healthy as well as tasty dish and goes well with bread. A lot of people in India love to eat fish in the main course. So, they will love Atassi
. This dish is prepared with rice, fried tomatoes, fried fish and lots of chillies. If you love spicy food, then you should try Atassi for lunch or dinner.
As an international student, you will be looking forward to going to the beautiful locales of Benin. If you get admission in the city of Cotonou, then it will be a bonus for you. This is because this city has lots of beautiful places. You can visit all those places each weekend. There are beautiful beaches, gardens, national parks, etc. You should take your friends along with you. This will cost you lesser for the rental cars. You can also visit the port city of Benin, known as Porto Novo. This city is famous for its ports and museums. The students who have taken up Social Sciences and History should go once to visit this city.
Cost of Living for StudentsAccommodation
-The cheapest accommodation for the students will be the hostels. These hostels are available at starting cost 20 pounds a month. The maximum cost may rise up to 50 pounds a month. The rent per month varies upon the extra utilities and the location. If you are renting a hostel that is far from the heart of the city, it will cost you 20-25 pounds a month. But just keep one thing in mind. This way the transportation cost will rise. If you are ready to pay 10-15 more pounds per month, then you will get hostels at nice locations, which will be closer to your college. You should keep two things in mind while booking a hostel. Firstly, the college must be near your hostel as far as practicable. Along with this, the market should also not be very far. This is because eventually, you will have to cook your own food. So, you would require some markets near your locality. It is not feasible to take a bus every day and buy your daily groceries. Do keep in mind to check the utility facilities and security systems of the hostel. If the hostel doesn’t provide you with a refrigerator, then you will have to buy groceries frequently. Some hostels provide complimentary breakfast facilities. If you are able to book such a hostel, then you don’t have to bother about cooking in the morning.Food & Transportation
-Talking about cooking, let us have a look at the cost of the grocery items in Benin. Eggs, rice, bread are very costly in this country. A dozen eggs can cost you more than Rs.300. Recently there was a flood in Benin. The price of potatoes, seafood, is equally high. The price of milk tomatoes, ginger is moderate and comparable with Indian prices. The fruits are also cheaper than the vegetables in this country. Post this natural calamity, the prices of food items soar to a very high level. The prices of onions have become around Rs.4000 per basket. So, as you may understand those other items like tomatoes, beans, etc. will also face a huge price soar. If you are planning to go Benin next year, then you must make provision for the cost of food for 1-2 years, before you leave this country. The transportation of Benin takes place through buses and taxis. There is a kind of transportation available in Benin, called the Zems
. These are costlier than buses. You can avail them while taking a long journey. Try to avoid taxis and zems while going to your university or college. Rather than buying a ticket every day, take a bus pass for a month. These bus passes are cheaper than one-way tickets.
Documents for University Admissions in Benin
- Firstly, you must apply to the respective university or college. Once you are selected by the university, they will send you an acceptance letter by airmail. The visa office would like to see the original copy and the photocopy of the acceptance letter. Bring both during the interview.
- You have to show the proof of your passport. The passport must be valid for at least six more months. It is better to apply for a renewal of the passport while you are applying to a university in Benin if you see that the validity will soon be over. This way, you will get a renewed passport and the acceptance letter for studying at the university almost at the same time. Your passport should have at least one blank page left for the visa stamp. You will have to show the photocopy of the identification page and the front page of your passport in your visa application.
- Sometimes the consulate asks for a birth proof. Whether asked or not, it will be a wise decision to keep the original and the photocopy of your birth certificate along with you during the visa interview.
- You need two recent passport size photographs. The photograph should not be more than six months old. The photographs should be coloured. It is advisable to take the photographs in a professional studio. It is also advisable to provide the same photographs for the application for admission at any university in Benin.
- Along with all the above documents, you must take a print out of the visa application form. Fill in the form completely. Provide the photocopies as suggested by the application form. Do check the colour of the ink mentioned at the beginning of the form. Fill the form in the specified ink only. To submit this application form either online or in a printed form during the visa interview. Sometimes, you are required to do both.
- You need to produce the proof of your journey. This means that you have to show the air tickets for your journey. The air tickets will specify the commencement of your journey.You will have to show the proof of your recent bank statements (generally bank statements for the last six months suffice) to show the visa office that you have sufficient financial stability to continue your education in Benin. In the past few years, this proof is very important. Sometimes along with the bank statements, you also have to show a written letter of the bank manager to certify that the statements you are providing are true.
- You will have to show the original and the photocopy of the fit certificate given to you by your physician. You will have to do tests for malaria, cholera, HIV and yellow fever. You can also do a diabetes check. You will have to provide all these medical reports during the visa interview.
- Lastly, you must submit the visa application fee online. Without this fee, you will not get the call for the visa interview.