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Study Abroad

Matthew Carroll
Tucson, Arizona
Previous Education:
BS’04, Northern Arizona University

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Student Profiles

Seeing Globalization
through a New Lens
Matthew Carroll, JD’08

“My experience in Russia and China has been invaluable in deconstructing my perceptions as a relatively privileged American. It has forced me to come to confront some of the difficult on-the-ground circumstances in the Global South.”

I studied at…

Why Indiana Law? “I chose Indiana because of its strong academic reputation, because the people here were friendly and because I love college basketball. My two primary legal interests are constitutional law and economic development policy in poor countries, and I knew I would be able to explore both in depth at IU.”

How I chose my study abroad locations: “Each offered a unique opportunity to study international economic law and national economic policy in locations outside what is traditionally thought of as ‘the West.’ Both programs forced me to look at globalization through a different lens.”

What I learned: “One of the bigger things that I have taken back with me is the different role law plays in different countries. Russia is a great example of a country where laws as enforced are much different than how they read on the books. The story is similar in China. Although U.S. law has its faults, I think one of its great successes is that for the most part, what the courts and the legislatures say is the law is actually the law.”

The daily life of a study abroad student: “The daily life of a study abroad student is in some ways very similar to a regular student. You wake up in the morning, go to class, and read at night. But the differences are part of what make it so rewarding. For example, in Moscow, I lived for a while in a hotel that was formerly a Tzarist bakery.”

Living the law: “It’s hard to believe in the power of law to protect civil liberties and to regulate government powers if it is blatantly ignored. And that dynamic is important to study, but feeling it on the ground—in the way pedestrians are hassled by corrupt police officers and in the way that political protests are quashed—brought a completely different perspective to the matter. Seeing the limits of a compromised legal system gave me more of an appreciation for the rule of law in the States and helped develop my understanding of the limits of law as a means to reform public conduct.”

Future plans: “I was awarded the Snyder Scholarship to study international law at the Lauterpacht Centre at Cambridge University. I hope to have a long career in government or academia.”