The Opportunity of a Lifetime

Greetings, everybody!

My name is Mauro Abel Ordiano. I’m writing this on Aug. 26, the day before I am off on my adventure to Hungary at the University of Pécs

“I may not speak Hungarian but I know what it is like to learn how to speak a new language — I learned two at the same time growing up.”

What can I say? Only that I am super ecstatic and nervous at the same time. No one in my family or extended family has chosen to venture abroad — but I did.

When the opportunity was shown to me, I seized it! Now I am going to Hungary to the University of Pécs to learn. This past week I have been preparing myself, going over the internet looking at the beautiful landscape and architecture that Hungary has, as well as delving into what the university offers.

I am ready to immerse myself in their culture and really get the feel of what it is to be Hungarian. I cannot wait to witness its beauty with my own eyes. I’m sure that moment I walk out of the airport and see Budapest will be the first of many “awe” moments that are to come!

Every moment — down to seeing the sky — is something I look forward to cherishing.


As a first generation college student I have been pioneering a path here in the land of opportunity. Since childhood I recall learning about my heritage and roots in Mexico. I owed it to myself to learn where I came from.

At the same time, I recall wanting to learn about the United States of America, the country my parents and their families decided to come and lay down a foundation for a better opportunity. The foundation is firm and now, as a growing young adult, I am fully immersed in both cultures.

I am Mexican-American and I’m proud to be!

Thus, with Hungary, I look forward to a new culture. It excites me! I want to know what it is to be Hungarian. I want to make lifelong friends in Hungary. I also want to learn how to make Hungarian dishes. And, of course, I want to learn how to speak Hungarian — even if is just a bit here and there.

Just like with Mexico, I want to make Hungary feel like home. I may not be Hungarian, however I will be living in Hungary for nearly five months. I owe it to Hungary and myself to fully absorb Hungarian culture and be the best person I can be out there! I may not speak Hungarian but I know what it is like to learn how to speak a new language — I learned two at the same time growing up.

Although I will have some challenges here and there, I know I will be able to handle the challenges and overcome them.


With all my excitement, it will still be difficult to say goodbye to my family. As a nuclear family, we are very close and as an extended family we are the same. When they found out that I was going to Europe for study abroad, they were quick to support me. My family organized a fundraiser for me at my house to help with any expenses for Hungary. It featured my favorite foods: tacos and pozole.

But above all, my entire family — from my mom’s side and dad’s side — came out to offer support. They even invited others to come and support me on my journey. Childhood friends came over and some friends from San Diego made the drive to Orange County to show their support. That day really showed me how much everyone cares for me, how much they love and support me and how much they want me to excel in my studies and enjoy the opportunity that I have been given.

It was a very emotional day for me and my family.

Today I spent the day at my grandma’s house. I wanted to spend my last day in the USA with my family. I had told all my family that I would be here and if they wanted to see me one last time, they would know where to find me. All I can say is that is was a touching, moving and loving time. Exactly what I needed on my last day.

Now, I leave tomorrow.

I want to say thank you to everybody! And thank you in advance for following me on this great journey that is coming my way. Together, we will learn more about a place with a lot of history and culture.

Hungary, here I come!

Mauro Abel Ordiano is an international security and conflict resolution major with a minor in religious studies. He is studying fall semester at the University of Pecs in Hungary.


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