Fulbright takes O'Brien to Japan

October 14, 2010

Canada. Mexico. England. France. Denmark. Finland.

Dr. Matthew O’Brien, associate professor in Bradley’s Department of Marketing, has been to all of these countries. And this year, he will be immersed in a completely different culture.

For five months of his sabbatical, O’Brien will hear this as a greeting: Konichiwa!

He’s moving to Japan.

“It will be distinctly different from my typical day-to-day job,” O’Brien said.

O’Brien has been awarded a Fulbright Scholar grant to teach at Tohoku University in Sendai, Japan, during the 2010-2011 academic year.

The Fulbright Program sponsors international exchange of culture and is designed to “increase mutual understanding between the people of the United States and the people of other countries,” according to the Fulbright website.

O’Brien is one of approximately 1,100 U.S. faculty and professionals who will travel abroad through this program this year.

The opportunity will award O’Brien several applicable examples to bring back and share with Bradley students in consumer behavior courses.

Though he does not speak Japanese, the language barrier isn’t clouding his optimism about his upcoming experience.

“I think it’s going to get me a much deeper understanding of Japanese daily life,” O’Brien said. “I hope to interact with students to understand how competitive our [Bradley] students are on a much more global scale. It also – on a personal note – sounds like it will be a lot of fun.”

O’Brien’s family will accompany him to Japan, where his six and 11 year-old children will attend an English-speaking Japanese school.

“I’ve always been interested in international experiences,” O’Brien said. “So I’m trying to expose not only myself, but also my family, to international experiences.”