Student Profile:
Matthew Walsh ‘06- Alum Profile

Why did you choose Siena College?

​My parents both graduated from Siena, so I grew up visiting the campus. It was always a second home to me, and academically and athletically it was a great fit.

Why International Studies?

I’ve always been fascinated with the world at large; my favorite book when I was younger was a children’s atlas. International studies allowed me to fully immerse myself in the topics I was most interested in; international politics, economics and culture. The study abroad and language components were also very important to me; the program had everything I was looking for.

What has been the most important lesson that you learned in this curriculum that you've carried with you to your work today?

​While I found the coursework fascinating, the most valuable lesson for me was less tangible; that to truly understand other cultures, one must immerse themselves in that culture; the language, customs, political systems and history. Anything less provides an incomplete picture. Understanding and accepting this reality has ensured that my international experiences since leaving Siena have been that much more fulfilling and enlightening, personally and professionally.

Where in the world would you like to visit the most, or where has been your favorite destination to visit?

​I’ve been fortunate enough, in part thanks to the International Studies program, to have lived, studied or worked in South America, Asia, Africa and Europe, since graduating from Siena in 2006. While I value all these experiences, if I had to pick a favorite location, it would be the mountains of eastern Myanmar, where I currently work. The list of places I would still like to visit is too long to list here!

Did you study abroad during your time at Siena? If so, where and why?

​I spent the Fall semester of 2004 in Quito, Ecuador, with the School of International Training (SIT). It was one of the most important experiences of my life, as it was my first time I was truly pushed out of my comfort zone, in terms of language, culture and academics. It was an amazing experience, and I highly recommend studying abroad to any current or soon-to-be college students. I am very thankful that Brother Brian encouraged me to take a road less traveled in terms of my study abroad destination, as that experience helped mold me into who I am today.

How has Siena's International Studies curriculum prepared you for life/work after college?

The International Studies program and faculty were crucial in preparing me for a career abroad, working in international development. Since graduating I have completed a Masters degree in International Relations at the University of Cape Town, South Africa; worked in microfinance in Bangladesh and India; volunteered in the townships of South Africa and Namibia, and currently work as a Program Officer for a human rights NGO in Myanmar. In all of these roles I have utilized lessons learned in the International Studies program at Siena.

Matthew Walsh ‘06- Alum Profile

Matthew Walsh

Class of 2006

International Studies Major