Off to Central Europe!

Hello, my name is Matthew Lawhead and I’m a freshman at the University of Pittsburgh. I am pursuing a dual degree in Marketing and Film & Media Studies, with a certificate in International Business. It’s my goal to eventually work in the entertainment industry, whether it be film, music, or another sector. I am greatly looking forward to the 2019 Pitt in Prague, Krakow, and Budapest program.

I was born and raised in Southern Illinois, roughly 30 minutes east of Saint Louis. Growing up, music was always prevalent. I took piano lessons for 9 years, then went to multiple songwriting camps, before spending my senior year in high school as the keyboardist for my church. I also participated in Boy Scouts, earning my Eagle Scout in late 2016. Here in Pittsburgh I have been very involved with the campus radio station, WPTS, as a DJ and reviewer. Through this and my film class I realized that I can truly enjoy writing when I enjoy the subject, and I have thrown myself at it fully. Next year I hope to get involved in a few more organizations, such as Pitt in Hollywood and the Pitt Business Review.

I decided to do this program because studying abroad is very important to me. It’s my goal to do five programs whilst in school, and this will be my second. The course incorporated here is part of working towards my degree, and since it is a Maymester program I am able to go abroad and complete a class without missing the opportunity to go home and work a Summer job afterwards. The reason I wanted to do this specific program is that I find Central Europe to be quite interesting. I took two semesters of Slovak this year as well as a literature class for the region while also doing my own personal searching. Prague has always been one of the big cities that I’ve wanted to visit, so being able to do so for credit is a dream come true.

Studying abroad is a very unique form of learning, as it combines coursework and experiential learning in an organic, though extreme, way. There is so much that you can learn about the world, different cultures, and yourself in a surprisingly short amount of time. It also helps with the forging of powerful bonds with peers, allowing for the creation of a special network between the participants. I still consider the people I met on my previous study in Ireland as close friends. That alone has made that experience valuable beyond description, and the educational benefits only add to that. I am certain that this study will be much the same.

Perhaps the most valuable part of a study abroad, is the ability to see different cultures in different parts of the world so that you can expand your worldview. Even if it’s just for a brief amount of time, being immersed into a foreign nation is an otherworldly experience that leaves a lasting impression. As I’ve already studied in a Western European nation, the different geography will allow for a vastly different environment to learn from. This will help me to grow further as a person and be the most well-rounded and well-informed individual I can be.