School of Welsh alumni represents Wales in the world
6 December 2022
A School of Welsh alumni was awarded ‘Wales to the World’ special recognition at this year’s Cardiff University 30ish awards following his outstanding contribution to the promotion and celebration of Welsh language, culture and history on an international scale.
American born Dr Matthew Jones, who studied Welsh and Celtic Studies (MA 2017), has continually strived to incorporate his awareness of and fascination with Wales into his flourishing career, post-graduation.
In addition to his teaching responsibilities as Assistant Instructional Professor at the University of Florida, Dr Jones is forging transatlantic connections between Wales and the USA.
To date, he has worked with numerous Welsh programmes and agencies to employ American students (who are then able to immerse themselves in Welsh culture) and has developed a study abroad program in Cardiff for UF students on legal and cultural life in Wales post-Brexit and post-EU.
He is also establishing programmes in the USA for Welsh university and high school students.
He said: “Following my return to America after graduating from the Welsh and Celtic Studies MA, I continued to write articles on Wales and its history. However, having spent the time in Cardiff, I knew that I wanted to do more to represent Wales in today’s context.
“With little education about Wales in the US, I concluded that that the focus of these programmes should be for students to use experiences gained to expand their professional horizons within their preferred industry. The aim is that a knowledge and appreciation of Wales and Welsh language and culture will be developed as well as a realisation of the opportunities that are on offer.”
Dr Jones hopes that through a tailored introduction to the country, students will come across the elements of Welsh culture that speak to them. His time at the School of Welsh gave context to the history that he had learnt in books, emphasising that the Welsh language and culture is thriving.
“Contrastingly to previous experiences of education, the School of Welsh taught me that that your studies don’t end when you leave the classroom door. The relationships and lessons learnt during my time at Cardiff have stuck with me through real life experience, in and outside of Wales. This has been my impetus to inspire the next generation and that this should continue beyond the university campus.”
Dr Jones hopes that his 30ish award win can represent and speak volumes for the experiences he had during his time at the School of Welsh. “As far as I’m concerned, this award is not for me but for the programme and the school and I am a representative of the opportunities that can arise through high quality, passionate teaching and dedication.”