Hi everyone! My name is Katya Murillo, a southern California native. Honestly, growing up in SoCal, I never thought I would want to leave, I mean who would when you have Disneyland, the beach, the mountains, and the dessert all less than a two-hour drive away in any direction? Plus, my favorite part about living in SoCal was being a "short" 6-hour drive from my family in Baja California, Mexico, who we visited several times a year.Because I loved my home so much, I did not want to leave for my undergrad, so I stayed! I earned my BA in Political Science from a small liberal arts school in Whittier, California—in the outskirts of LA.

Despite loving LA, I always knew I wanted to experience studying abroad; so,I spent a semester in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. Upon my return from RJ and traveling through South America a bit, I knew that I wanted to get to know more of the world outside of California. When I began applying for grad schools, I only looked at schools on the east coast...even though I had only been to NY and DC, I applied to PENN.

When I FINALLY got my acceptance to PENN, I was ecstatic! I could not say no to such a prestigious institution. Still, I had to be realistic. What were the pros of attending the M.S.Ed in International Educational Development from the University of Pennsylvania? Well, first of all, my program has a really cool requirement—an international summer internship! That was ahuge pull for me. Also, when I researched the faculty, I was drawn to one professor in particular whose interests very much aligned with mine. Additionally, while I had never even visited Philly, the idea of moving to the east coast and living in a city was thrilling. Moreover, while I knew I wanted a small school experience for undergrad (mine was around 1,500 students), I was ready for a different experience for post-grad. Cons? Let’s be real...MONEY! But, I am blessed to have parents who encourage and support me in all my dreams. It was easy to let the pros outweigh the cons!

And, well, here I am now! Living my life in Philly (literally 2,353 miles away from home),going to school at an ivy league institution. This California girl is excited to experience seasons, and the city life!