Alumni Profile: Matthew Schwimmer

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St. Petersburg

St. Petersburg

Matthew Schwimmer

CIEE program: Fall 2016; Spring 2017

Home School: University of California, Merced

Major: Cognitive science

Matthew Schwimmer arrived to St. Petersburg in 2016 with no prior knowledge of Russian and with a great interest in the country’s different regions and territories, He was what some would call a non-traditional student, as he was older than most of his peers. After having graduated cum laude from the University of California in 2017, he completed his MBA from San Diego State University. He received a Fulbright grant to carry out his thesis research in Azerbaijan, in which he analyzed business viability for the Baku market.

When asked to share some of the strongest memories from his time in Russia, Matthew wrote, “My strongest memory of Russia was the time spent with my host family. In fact, all of the people I met in Russia were incredibly hospitable and everyone there made me feel incredibly welcome.”

One of the outcomes of his study abroad in Russia was his st­rong interest to the former USSR and Wa­rsaw Pact area. Matt­hew says, “My recent­ly departed father visited western Euro­pe in the late 60s, and I’ve thought abo­ut the fact that he didn’t have the opp­ortunity to visit the countries which I did. In those days, the most famous per­son to go to Minsk was Lee Harvey Oswal­d.​ Now, I’ve made a car­eer out of going to the former USSR. I’ve been to Pr­ague, Tbilisi, Minsk, Kiev, several cities in Russia, and I've even visited my ancestral homeland of Budape­st, Hungary. Covid-19 has been an obsta­cle, but not an insurmountable one. A large pa­rt of the reason I came to Russia was because of the stereo­types I’ve seen in media. I wanted to observe the truth for myself, and I did. I hope that we can all learn to look past stereo­types and see the humanity in each othe­r’s eyes. I look for­ward to making my fa­ther proud and beco­ming proof that Wash­ington DC and Moscow needn’t be enemies.” Matthew is currently a freelance Business Consultant with a specialization in Management and International Business.

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