Arabic Professor Dr. Elizabeth Bergman Arabic Professor Dr. Elizabeth Bergman

Matthew Reed

Name: Matthew Reed
Graduation: 2014
Major: Political Science
Minors: Arabic; Middle Eastern Studies

Politics and political philosophy are two passions of mine. I figured if I am going to spend four years studying something, then I better enjoy it, so I declared a political science major. But my Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies minors are a bit of a different story. I actually enrolled at Miami in 2007. I began taking Arabic and Middle Eastern Studies courses my sophomore year only to fulfill some degree requirements. I did not plan on making them my minors or my career.

I enlisted in the Marine Corps during my freshman year and went to boot camp that summer of 2008. I was a reservist so I figured I could continue going to school, but chances were I would have to take a break for deployment. I ended up withdrawing from Miami after fall semester of my sophomore year to complete training and deploy to Iraq. I was in Ramadi, Iraq, by mid-summer of 2009. My experiences on the ground, interacting with the people of Iraq, are what sparked my interest in the Middle East and the Arabic language. I saw how America’s lack of knowledge in this area and inability to communicate were impeding our progress. It was frustrating, and I wanted to help create more effective and beneficial policies and guidelines. I figured that further studying Arabic and the Middle East was a good way to do this.

During the end of that deployment, I went to Afghanistan in the early months of 2010. After I came back, I reenrolled at Miami for the fall semester and subsequently withdrew in the spring for another deployment to Afghanistan from the summer of 2011 till the spring of 2012.  Now I’m back at Miami to finish my senior year. I was accepted into the University of Michigan’s “Arabic for Professional Purposes” graduate program in their Near Eastern Studies Department. I will be going there this fall to obtain my master’s degree. After grad school, I’m not exactly sure what I want to do. I have no plans to go back to the Marines. I could see myself working for the State Department or a private firm, but I would really like to return to Iraq and help them rebuild their agricultural sector.