Matt is a junior at UMD and is studying Biology and Environmental Science. He studied for a semester at the University of Waikato in Hamilton, New Zealand in the fall of 2018. He took full advantage of his six months in New Zealand to explore the entire country from top to bottom. He even had time for a spring break trip to the Great Barrier Reef in Australia, where he discovered his passion for oceanography, coral reefs, and reef conservation. Being on the opposite side of the globe for half of a year taught Matt many valuable life lessons and helped him to grow in many ways. While there were some moments along the way where he struggled, Matt wouldn’t change a single thing about his experience, and his only regret was not staying a bit longer! Matt’s goal as a study abroad peer advisor is to help students find the courage to go abroad themselves and to lend his experiences in order to help prospective students feel prepared before they begin their own experience abroad.
Most memorable view during your SA experience?
During a weeklong trip to the South Island of New Zealand, we crawled out of our tents at 2:30 in the morning and began a gruesome 3-hour hike straight up the side of a mountain named Roy’s Peak. Our struggles were well worth it though, as we reached the summit just in time to see the most amazing and unforgettable sunrise I have ever experienced.
What makes you happy?
Friends, family, dogs, hiking, photography, sunrises and sunsets, quiet forests, mountain cliffs, an empty beach, foggy days, and more dogs.
What gets you out of bed in the morning?
Excitement to see what new adventures the day will bring, or a really loud alarm.
Best advice to a future study abroad student?
Not everything will go according to plan when you are abroad, and there will be times when you need help or run into unforeseen problems. Remember that no good book starts with a happy ending! Your study abroad experience is your story and all of those problems you encounter are just small pieces that raise your book to new heights.
What's the next item on your bucket list?
Backpacking Europe, an epic Iceland road trip, or exploring the ghost towns of Namibia. I’m pretty indecisive!