Matthew Roddy, originally from New Athens, Illinois, studied abroad during his undergraduate degree and discovered that he had a true passion for meeting new people and experiencing different cultures. As a graduate student, he chose to study international relations to prepare for a career where he can continue to travel and to address Human Rights issues within the LGBTQ+ community.
Let’s meet Matthew!
1. Is there any specific topic in international relations for which you are most passionate?
I am very interested in the environmental aspect of international relations. Ensuring that the environment is protected as the world evolves and develops is important to me. Beautiful, thriving lands for future generations to come is a must! However, a more specific topic that I am focusing on is Human Rights, specifically, LGBTQ+ rights. It is my absolute passion in this field. I am studying how the LGBTQ+ community is treated around the globe, through both local culture and policy. I aim to be an advocate for those who are currently imprisoned or sentenced to death simply because of who they are.
2. What is your current city, and what is your next stop in the program?
I am currently studying in Bangkok, Thailand and will then complete my final term in Leiden, Netherlands.
3. What has been your best experience so far in the GMAIR program?
My best experiences have been through the people that I have met along this journey. There are many amazing individuals from all areas of the world who have become a huge part of my life during the program. Each and every new friend has taught me something interesting, and opened my eyes to different cultures and ways of life. I am truly honored to know them and to call them friends.
4. Which city has been your favorite so far in the program and why?
Each location has unique qualities and has offered something new. Bangkok and Athens have been my favorite cities thus far. I have enjoyed them both so much that I cannot choose just one! Athens has a laid back and relaxed culture, in addition to delicious food. It was also very easy to get around, close to the beach, and you can travel to the islands or other countries.
In Bangkok, it is easier than in other locations to connect with the gay community. Though it is a large metropolis, it is affordable to travel locally so I am always finding new adventures and things to do outside of the classroom. The night markets and the street food are absolutely amazing!
5. What has been your biggest challenge as you adapt to different cultures during your travels?
The biggest challenge is leaving each location. Just when I learn the cultural norms and get used to the local currency, food, and transportation of my current city, I must head off to my next location and start all over again. I form a lot of personal bonds and make new school friends in each city, so it is hard to leave them to continue on.
6. What are your plans for the future after you complete the Global MA program?
My goal is to work for an INGO either in the States or abroad, focusing on issues of Human Rights or the environment.
Thank you for participating in Webster’s Global Blog, Matthew! Continue doing the great work and keep us updated with your journey!