Strikes grow more common, and university life is often disrupted. Many people leave, including Emenike, who goes to England. The process of getting visas seems arbitrary, and many are rejected. In America, Aunty Uju is working three jobs and isn’t yet qualified to practice medicine. She has been there for four years now. One day she calls and suggests that Ifemelu come to America to study and help take care of Dike. Obinze thinks it is a good idea too, though he feels he must finish his degree before joining Ifemelu there.
Emenike, the boy who tried to create a false identity for himself as wealthy and worldly, now gets the chance to move to the West he has so admired. Time passes quickly, and Aunty Uju is not nearly as successful in America as she had hoped to be. The novel’s setting now starts to expand and lead towards the wide separation between Ifemelu and Obinze.
Ifemelu decides to try, and Ginika starts applying to schools on her behalf in the Philadelphia area. Ifemelu starts imagining herself living in a house like that on The Cosby Show. The strike ends and Ifemelu goes back to university, but then she hears that she has been accepted and gotten a scholarship to an American university. She applies for a visa, expecting to be rejected, but she is quickly accepted.
First Adichie shows the idealized version of America that Obinze obsesses over and Ifemelu admires. Ifemelu seems halfhearted about this move, but decides to do it with Obinze’s encouragement, and she starts to vaguely imagine herself as an American.
Ifemelu packs up her stuff with her friends. Ranyinudo tells her that the next time she sees her, Ifemelu will be a “serious Americanah.” Ifemelu’s father gives her some money. Ifemelu has second thoughts, but Obinze tells her to go, assuring her that she will find work. Obinze’s mother says goodbye to Ifemelu and tells her to make sure that she and Obinze “have a plan.” This makes Ifemelu feel better. Obinze plans to come to America as soon as he graduates.
“Americanah” is now used to apply to Ifemelu, foreshadowing the struggle for identity that will follow her for the rest of the book. Obinze and Ifemelu’s seemingly perfect relationship is now disturbed by this separation of thousands of miles, but they are both optimistic that their romantic connection will remain unbroken.