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Matt Niemiec - Study Abroad South Africa StudentNiemiec, who was born and mostly raised in the Mid-West, had no plans to come to SDSU until his older sister chose to attend SDSU to earn a graduate degree in speech pathology. “When I came out for a visit, I fell in love with San Diego and the SDSU campus,” said Niemiec, who currently works as an accounting manager at the San Diego location of TGG Accounting.When Matt Niemiec (’11, accounting) embarked an SDSU-led trip to Tanzania in 2010 he was already a veteran of the experience having been on a similar trip with his brother and sister the year before.

During his first trip to Tanzania in the summer of 2009, the Niemiec family volunteered in the city of Moshi near Mount Kilimanjaro where they worked in local schools offering assistance in language and math skills. Niemiec say that the reason they chose to volunteer in Tanzania was that the family was “drawn to Africa, mainly because of the mystery behind Africa. We don’t always hear a lot of positive news coming from there and we wanted to see for ourselves what Africa was like.”

"Studying abroad has provided me insight on other cultures and how other people live. "

Just after Niemiec’s junior year, he visited Tanzania again through a two-week SDSU program that studied social and environmental justice. Prior to the trip, program participants raised money through a special SDSU theatre performance and they collected donated books and supplies to give to a school library in the Kongwa district located in central Tanzania. The library held its official opening during their visit.

For those SDSU students who are considering a study abroad trip, Niemiec says “Pack up and go! Whether it is Europe, Asia or Africa, I would highly recommend getting out of your comfort zone and going on an adventure. College students have a unique opportunity to combine study with travel and my only regret is that I didn’t take stay in Tanzania longer.”The trip left an indelible impression on Niemiec. “Studying abroad has provided me insight on other cultures and how other people live,” he said. “And it’s influenced my career in that I have a desire to help other people and make ethical and moral decisions in my business life.”