1. Hello, firstly we would like to get to know you. Can you tell us a bit about yourself?
- Hello! This is Meriç Güzel. I am 24 years old. I studied International Relations at Yaşar University in Izmir, and now I am working as the partnership responsible at Yaşar University’s International Relations and Programmes Office. I started my university life back in 2012 and completed it 2016. I have attended the Erasmus Student Mobility Program in 2013. After my Erasmus experience, I realized that there are a lot of places to visit. So, I planned my next journey to the United States. I have participated in the Work and Travel Program and went to Queensbury, New York in 2015.
2.When and where did you go for your Erasmus? And what was your main purpose to participate in this program?
- I went to Sciences Po, Grenoble/France for Erasmus in the spring semester of 2013/2014. The Erasmus Program was very well known and I heard about it when I was in high school. My older sister also participated in the program so I knew that I was going to do the same. My main purpose was to go visit a different country for the first time!
3.Are you still in contact with the people you met during your exchange?
- I had one Swedish and one Turkish close friend at Grenoble. I am still in touch with them. Unfortunately, I could not make a lot French friends when I was there…
4.Which skills did you gain out of your participation of the Erasmus program and how did you put these skills into practise in your professional life?
- Through the Erasmus program I gained a lot of experience and knowledge, however I am not talking about educational experience and knowledge. I am talking about life experience and general knowledge. I lived alone so, I cooked, cleaned and managed my financial situation all by myself. This was a big step for me. I also learned how to manage to live in a multicultural environment which might be why I have my job! Since I kept my skill on having good relations with people from other nationalities, it gave me a huge plus in my professional life.
5.What is the importance of the Erasmus program in your career? Could you tell us whether there is any difference in your career goals before and after your Erasmus experience?
- To be honest, Erasmus did not change my idea about my career. But it changed my mind about my future. I wanted to travel more after my Erasmus experience. Thus, thanks to my current job, I have travelled to Northern Iraq and Nigeria… I bet people would not want to travel to these destinations but I loved these places!
6.What is a real success for you? Can you tell us about your first big success?
- For me, success is the feeling of being happy with yourself. If I am happy with what I am doing and in which situation I am living in right now, then I consider myself successful. My first big success was to go to the United States and live there with the money that I earned. It made me so happy.
7.What was the turning point of your life that lead you to become successful?
- The turning point of my life was definitely the days where I had to choose in which university I want to study. I was planning on studying in another city and to move from Izmir but my family convinced me to stay in Izmir and now I am working in the same city where I have studied.
8.Last but not the least, would you recommend students to go on an exchange through the Erasmus program? Do you have any advice for these students?
- If I could be a university student again, I would not stay at home at all! I would search for opportunities to go abroad. Not just Erasmus but any other opportunity as well. My advice to the students is that they must seek every opportunity that is possible. Go on the Erasmus program, do some volunteer work, go on the Work and Travel program, the Work and Holiday program, travel with Interrail etc. This list will not end if you keep looking!