Gaining perspective at the MUDEC 50th Anniversary in Luxembourg

female shooting video on tripod on a street in Luxembourg, ice cream cone statue in background

By Kristin Magyari, assistant director for communications and marketing

Kristin standing with an umbrella in front of the chateau: Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center in LuxembourgI’m from Highland Heights, Ohio (a suburb of Cleveland) and I’ve traveled quite a bit throughout this side of the globe: the US, Canda, the Caribbean. But I’ve never crossed the Atlantic, until now. I graduated from Miami in 2015 and recently made my way back in 2017 were I started in my current role as the assistant director for communications and marketing with Global Initiatives.

From Miami student to Miami staff member

As a student, I always heard about the Miami University John E. Dolibois European Center, better known to students like myself as Lux. I even had many friends study there who shared their stories and experiences with me.

As a staff member, I had the opportunity to see MUDEC for myself during the 50th Anniversary Celebration in October.

I’d like to tell you a little bit more about my story. Enjoy!

Working on marketing projects in Luxembourg

On September 30, 2018, I boarded a plane in Cincinnati, camera in one hand, and my suitcase with a Miami luggage tag dangling in the other. I was about to partake in a two-week business trip to Europe and all I could think of was: what an incredible opportunity. The experience has opened up my eyes to what the world has to offer: various languages, cultures different from my own, and new spaces and sights.

Ultimately, this experience has allowed me to learn, grow, and bring back new perspectives to my communications and marketing role. What better way to market our programs to students than to know what programs are like first-hand?

Miami photographer taking a photo of three students standing in front of the Eiffel Tower in Paris, lighting upThe first week of the trip, I coordinated with Miami staff to organize the first ever professional photo shoot with an in-house Miami University photographer at our center in Luxembourg. Alongside of the photoshoot, I was responsible for gaining video b-roll for upcoming videos we will release, starting with “Student Life at MUDEC”. Our shoots spanned from exploring academic life in the chateau and gaining a look at homestay experiences, to traveling with a group of students to Paris.

The following week, we celebrated MUDEC’s 50th Anniversary by welcoming more than 700 alumni to Luxembourg to partake in the festivities. I assisted by conducting more than 70 interviews with MUDEC alumni that will be used in marketing materials. I mostly asked them the question, “What’s your favorite MUDEC Memory?”

Shoutout to the alumni I had the honor of speaking with...your stories were priceless and I love sharing them throughout our web and print materials.

Opening my eyes to new cultural perspectives

From exploring Differdange and Luxembourg City to traveling to Paris, I gained many perspectives that I use in my everyday life today.

I didn’t expect to experience any kind of culture shock or language barrier because I’ve heard from people and movies that Europe is similar to the United States and sure, there are similar aspects. But I experienced so many differences first-hand that made me think on my feet and continuously practice skills of flexibility and adaptability.

Just a few examples that come to mind are:

  • First, I learned to speak a bit of French in order to get coffee at the local cafe. Those of you that know me, can imagine that I needed my coffee in order to have a productive, intense, day of work.
  • Secondly, All communications to bus drivers for the alumni field trips needed to be done in French and I was the responsible chaperone to ensure we explained details effectively. Google Translate sure came in handy!

Because of these types of experiences, I’ve gained a better understanding for how our study abroad students must feel when overcoming these challenges during their programs. I’ve also done a lot of thinking about how our international students must feel when they fly to the US, sometimes for the first time in their lives, to start their 4-year college experience at Miami.

These findings have positively influenced me to change the way I interact with others and this trip has truly opened my eyes to new cultures, languages, and places.

I am eager to continue exploring, learning, talking with others, and for me, this is just the beginning.

"You never really understand a person until you consider things from his point of view...Until you climb inside of his skin and walk around in it."–To Kill a Mockingbird

Join the Miami Tradition in Luxembourg

Are you a Miami student looking to join Miami's 50 year tradition at MUDEC? 

Learn more about MUDEC