Katie's Study Abroad Story

Study abroad is for me because...

It has allowed me to grow culturally and make memories and friendships that will last a lifetime.

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Katie's Story

When searching for study abroad programs, Katie Magyari knew she wanted a program that focused on engineering. She chose the Community Engagement in Mexico program, which involved an engineering economics class in addition to a design project while in Mazatlan, Mexico.

The program consisted of a week in Mexico working at two orphanages and a week before and afterwards in Oxford taking classes. The students spent time playing with the children and also worked on construction projects and performed a cost analysis of different design plans for the orphanages.

“It helped me learn a lot more than a classroom setting would,” Katie said. “I actually got to see hands on what goes into an actual engineering project.”

This was one of the highlights of the program for Katie because she was making a difference in the orphans’ lives, she said. She worked to clear out a soccer field and stain a playset for the children, giving them a better place to play.

“It helped me see what my major can actually do for others,” Katie said. “There was a lot of engineers, architects, and psychologists dedicating their time to working at these orphanages. They choose to dedicate their whole lives to serving there, so I realized there is so much more you can do with your major and you can give back to others in that kind of way.”

Katie wanted to study abroad because she had never left the country before, so it gave her the opportunity to experience the world outside of books or movies. 

The semester before she left, Katie took IDS 154, introduction to study abroad. This course allowed her to discuss the challenges of studying abroad such as the difference in cultures.

“I didn’t realize how many different social norms I would actually face in a different country and how to deal with that,” Katie said.

The course was a stark contrast from Katie’s engineering courses and allowed her to be more self-introspective and helped her prepare for what she would experience abroad.

“It taught more how to reflect on myself and how I can apply that to other cultures because I feel like I wasn’t very culturally knowledgeable before this trip, and that class prepared me to face the things I wasn’t used to experiencing,” Katie said. 

This reflection aspect was carried through to Katie’s trip, where the students spent time debriefing as a group each night, talking about their “picture of the day”—their most memorable experience.

After coming back to Oxford, they still text each other each night asking for their picture of the day.

“Even though I’m not in Mexico anymore and experiencing the things I did there, the friendships are something that will stay with me beyond that,” Katie said.

About Katie

Katie Magyari headshot


Highland Heights, Ohio

Graduation Year



Mechanical Engineering


Community Engagement in Mexico

Favorite Class or Professor Abroad

Professor Richter and Professor Shiveley, MME 314 (Engineering Economics)

Favorite Destination Outside of the Classroom

Rancho De Los Ninos Orphanage in Mazatlan, Mexico

Campus Involvement

Social Chair of Alpha Delta Pi, Involvement Chair of Theta Tau, and campus tour guide