Cameroonian Collette Lukong, a Master’s Degree student of Logistics Management at Mykolos Romeris University, says determination is the key to success and that its never too late to learn. She has been living and working in Dubai for the last decade. She calls Dubai her 2nd home. Collette discusses her studies, participation in various programs and how the Erasmus+ exchange programme changed her life.
What activities encourage you to improve and achieve goals?
I believed in myself as someone who never gives up without trying. I took the bulls by the horns, determined to make it, by not just passing, but passing with flying colours. That's the way it is.
When I first heard of the Erasmus+ program, I did not fully understand the concept. I told myself that as long as this would be a learning experience for me, I would take advantage. I then decided to apply and was granted a place in Turkey's Yeditepe University in Istanbul. I must say that this is one of those great experiences in my life that I would never forget. Thanks to the Erasmus exchange program team at MRU, I had a smooth transition to study in Turkey. The team's encouragement added to my zeal and has kept me going and aiming ever higher.
What determined the choice to participate in the Erasmus+ program?
Like I said before, I’m not the kind of person who waits to be spoon-fed. I’m a go getter and believe that in this life, if you want something, you must go after it yourself.
Despite all the challenges and complications that seemed to discourage me such as visa application, expensive flight tickets, Corona tests, Covid-19 pandemic restrictions of all kinds and discouraging voices from friends, I decided to go and study in Istanbul anyway. My friends wondered how I could travel for this exchange all alone. All this motivated me even more to pack my bags and go to Turkey. That’s what we call Experience & Discovery. If you’re afraid to fail, you’ll never win.
What challenges - successes and failures did you face when you left?
A lot more than you can imagine. There was the language barrier; loneliness and the inconsiderate attitude from staff/lecturers and people you expect to help you.
But you know what? Go-getters always have a way out. I told myself that it was my Erasmus+ and I was going to make the most out of it, despite all challenges. I decided to be very happy about everything. I went to school everyday to ensure my Add-n-Drop was done. I went to Emigration and followed up my own visa process. I joined the International Student Erasmus+ Group and before I knew it, I had the ball rolling. It’s a very successful and exciting experience for me.
What are the benefits of the Erasmus+ experience?
I have benefited a lot from this Erasmus+ Exchange. It is a different way of studying, there's multi-tasking, seeking solutions for yourself without always waiting for someone to help you; making new friends; learning new languages, trying new cuisines, and, of course, sightseeing (OMG, that was the peak of it).
Most of all, there was readiness to try more. I can’t wait for Autumn to go again - now as an experienced fellow.
What advice would you give to those who are skeptical about choosing an Eramsus+ program?
If you are skeptical about Erasmus+ then I’m sure you don’t know what you’re missing. Why don’t consider trying first. If you’re always afraid to fail you will never win.
Go for Erasmus+ once and feel awesome like me. You'll would never fail to apply after that. Friends, I remind you that education is wealth.
(interview by Ligita Mažeikienė)