Study Abroad: Mackenzie Mahon

Mackenzie Mahon

Students in the College of Business and Technology (CBT) are taking advantage of Eastern Kentucky University’s study abroad programs. CBT students are studying abroad through a variety of affiliates and exchange programs.

Following is the next in the Study Abroad Series aimed at sharing students’ life-changing experiences studying abroad through EKU. 

Study Abroad Series: Part Twenty-six – Mackenzie Mahon

Q -  What is your major? When is your expected graduation date?

A -  My major is agriculture with a concentration in agribusiness management, I am a current junior and plan to graduate in May 2019.

Q - Where did you go? 

A - I studied abroad in various cities throughout Ireland during the summer of 2017.

Q - Did you take a course and earn academic credit that transferred back to EKU?

A - I took a sustainable agriculture course which counted as 3 credit hours.

Q - Was your experience through the Magellan Exchange – or some other study abroad program?

A - I went through CCSA (The Cooperative Center for Study Abroad)

Q - How long did you study abroad?  

A - I studied abroad for 2 weeks.

Q - Why did you decide to study abroad?

A - I decided to study abroad because I have always loved to travel and discover new places and cultures. I had never done anything like this before and wanted to step outside my comfort zone a bit. I also was very interested in the class being taught and was excited to be able to compare and contrast the two countries agriculture systems.

Q - How did you decide to go to that particular location?

A - I had always wanted to visit Ireland and see the greenery and cliffs that only postcards could show me before. I also was interested in traveling somewhere that had a different culture, yet spoke English so I could easily communicate.

Q - What were three of the most important things you learned from your experience studying abroad?

A - One of the most important lessons I learned while studying abroad was that time management is key. In order to be able to fully experience all the various cities had to offer, we had to strategically plan out any free time we got. During the day we often had class related activities, meaning that at night we were tired from the long day and taking a nap seemed like a good option. However if we would’ve fallen into that trap we would have missed out on so much.

I also learned that it’s important to try new things because if you never branch out, you could be missing out on experiences you might love. It’s very much trial and error. I did not enjoy every dish or place we visited but I’m glad that I tried them because now I know what they are like. If something isn’t appealing to you it may still be appealing to other people so it’s important to keep an open mind and branch outside your comfort zone.

Lastly I learned that culture shock is very much real, even in a country that isn’t too drastically different from our own. The time change, foods, sleeping arrangements, and activities can be a lot to get adjusted to at first. So take your time and breathe it all in. Try to make the most out of the time you’re abroad but also take time for yourself as well to do things you will enjoy.

Q - What was your favorite and least favorite part of your abroad experience?

A - My favorite part of studying abroad was being able to witness firsthand the beautiful landscape that Ireland had to offer. From visiting the Cliffs of Moher to the Giant’s Causeway I was constantly in awe. I had never seen anything like this before, there’s not even a part of the United States I can think of that can even compare to the views. I also enjoyed trying various Irish traditional meals such as Shepherd’s Pie or the new potato dishes. My least favorite part of the experience was the flight. As expected, it was 7 hours long and after a few hours the anticipation of arriving in Dublin had completely taken over.

Q - What did you gain from studying abroad that has changed you as a person and professional?

A - Studying abroad has opened my eyes to many world agriculture issues that I had previously been ignorant to. Most of my previous knowledge of the field was based on the United States agriculture model and my own previous experiences. However, there is a lot we can learn from other countries that would be beneficial to apply to our own. There were also many instances that I saw the advantages that we have in the United States. It was a great learning experience and seeing it firsthand helped me more than anything I could have learned in a classroom on the subject.

Q - Would you recommend that other College of Business and Technology students study abroad? Why or why not?

A - I would definitely recommend other students to study abroad! College is a great opportunity to travel due to the credit hour opportunities and also the ease of discovering programs that interest you. I also really enjoyed traveling with a group of people that had similar interests as me and were easy to talk and relate to. It’s the perfect opportunity to take the leap.

Q - Who do students contact if they are interested in studying abroad? 

A - If students are interested in studying abroad they should contact EKU’s Study Abroad office in the Keith Building, Room 129

Q - What advice would you give to College of Business and Technology students before they study abroad?

A - Before studying abroad, I wish I would have taken the terms “pack lightly” more seriously. Lugging around a heavy suitcase to multiple different hotels throughout our stay was not ideal. I would also say to take in as much as possible while you are there and put down the camera for a minute. Pictures can only capture so much and looking back now I realize that the views I witnessed were far superior to my pictures.

Q - Since you have not graduated, how is your study abroad experience helping you with your job search?  How has it helped you network with potential employers?

A - My study abroad experience has opened up multiple new doors for me. It’s a great experience to be able to include on a resume because it’s unique and helps you to stand out in a crowd. It has also been a great conversation starter during interviews since so many employers have either studied abroad themselves or are curious about the experience. By studying abroad, I am now considering taking on a career with a more global standpoint, something that had previously never crossed my mind.

Photos from MacKenzie Mahon's Study Abroad experience...

Find out more about Study Abroad:

Students interested in studying abroad may contact Jennifer White in the Education Abroad Office in the Keith Building, Room 129, to discuss all the program options. Jennifer can be contacted via phone at 859-622-1705 or by email at ekuabroad@eku.edu.

Published on February 20, 2018