Lucie Matsouaka was born and raised in Cameroon. A senior professional career coach, a youth leadership coach, an author and speaker, she immigrated to the U.S with her husband about 18 years ago. She is very passionate about sharing her experiences as an immigrant and greatly emphasizes the importance of staying focused, developing friendships outside one’s comfort zone, while traveling to other places as a means of education and self-improvement. Having lived in multiple countries like Cameroon, Burkina Faso, and Ivory Coast, Lucie offers great insights on how to not only survive, but thrive as an immigrant.
Lucie shares her childhood experiences in Cameroon as pleasant and says it irks her when people view Cameroon as a country with numerous dialects, rather than one with 235 different languages. She further explains that Cameroon comprises of English-speaking and French-speaking regions. She grew up in the French- speaking part of Cameroon, so she didn’t learn English until she immigrated to the U.S. She recalls how challenging it was at first to interact with people especially since non-English speakers were looked down upon.
Life in the U.S was totally different than Lucie had imagined from the movies! She and her husband have found raising their kids here to be more challenging than she had imagined. However, their decision to move to America was because they wanted a better future for their kids. Lucie narrates how her father’s job as a government official offered her and her siblings the privilege of studying abroad which wasn’t the case for most families. Having studied in Benin, Burkina Faso and lived a little in Ivory Coast, Lucie was exposed to learning about different cultures from an early age.
As an avid reader, she enjoys learning from the stories of others as well as from their struggles, mistakes, and victories. Lucie encourages immigrants to read voraciously since this helps in understanding how others think and expanding one’s mind. Upon her immigration to the U.S, Lucie found audiobooks helpful in learning English as a third language. She further encourages immigrants to venture out of their comfort zones by associating with people outside their ethnicity to learn from them.
She summarizes by stating that thriving as an immigrant involves stepping outside one’s comfort zone, traveling, reading, and staying focused.