Meet a Tiger: Vladimir Matic
Years at Clemson: I have been teaching for 20 years – started in fall 1996.
Years I’ve been leading a study abroad: I took the first group of National Scholars to Serbia in 2006. This year I had my 12th group visiting five countries in the Balkans in 35 days. We had briefings by government officials and nongovernmental organization leaders, as well as meetings and discussions with local students, and also a lot of fun.
What I do at Clemson: I am teaching each semester, four courses for the political science department and one for Calhoun Honors. Also, I have a group of Dixon Fellows and meet every second week to discuss current developments in the world. I love mentoring students who have an interest in international relations, foreign policy and diplomacy. In May/June, I lead a summer study abroad program in the Balkans.
What I love about Clemson: I love working with students and helping them broaden their knowledge about the world and themselves. In the process they often realize what they want to do with their lives and how to prepare for the career they want.
Something most people don’t know about leading a study abroad trip/what it is like leading a study abroad trip: The process is very complex and requires a lot of preparations. First, the students have to acquire basic knowledge about the region and issues, history, political and economic system and culture. This is done during the spring semester – two credits course and a visit to the embassies of the five countries.
Second, preparing the schedule is a hard job. The briefers and institutions we visit do everything as public service (no compensation) and these high-ranking officials have busy schedules. I am using my social network in the region to get students authentic presentations of issues and problems, and I try to expose them to different, often conflicting, perspectives.
Third, the program, of 35 days, requires my 24/7 engagement, which is exhausting. However, the interest and enthusiasm of the students is a strong motivation and gives me energy.
Accomplishment I’m most proud of: The accomplishments I am most proud of are the success of my students here at Clemson and later in life. Also, especially during the study abroad their happiness and a kind of transformation they go through. They also bond and make lifelong friendships.
Guilty pleasure: I try to enjoy every day and accomplish something, it maybe very small. Life consists of many moments-big events are rare.
One thing most people don’t know about me: I am a pretty private person so the list would be long. Maybe I could mention here that I am living my second life, which I truly enjoy. In my previous life, I was a diplomat in former Yugoslavia where I was born and got my education.
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