Matthew Asada

Class Year: 

2002
Hometown: Rochester Hills, Michigan, USA

School: 

Rochester Adams High School

Language: 

German
Penn offered a comprehensive selection of extra-curricular activities to get involved with at the university and beyond. I performed in a hip-hop/funk dance company, volunteered with Habitat for Humanity and taught adult evening computer literacy classes - all the while maintaining the requisite course load.

As a member of the Huntsman Program, Matthew dual majored in German and spent a semester abroad in Berlin taking courses in Democracy, Prussian architecture, Cold War History and German literature.  He describes his fluency in a second language as an invaluable economic and political resource.   His interests at Penn evolved from a strict international business focus to an appreciation for the interweaving of politics and economy.  During college, Matthew developed this interest through internships with the Department of State, his Congressman and Senator, and the German parliament. After graduation, he capped it off with a Master's in European Politics and Policy at the London School of Economics. 

He joined the United States Foreign Service in September 2003. His fist assignment was as the Management Officer at the American Consulate Lahore, Pakistan, followed by Chief of the Non-Immigrant Visa Unit in Munich, Germany.  He most recently completed a one-year assignment on the German-led Provincial Reconstruction Team in Kunduz, Afghanistan, where he reported on political and economic developments in Northeast Afghanistan and engaged in extensive public outreach.  He was instrumental in expanding the opening hours and maximizing the trade opportunities of the new US-funded $49 million Afghan-Tajik bridge.  Since November 2008 he is serving as the Political/Economic Chief in Kolkata, India responsible for Eastern India.  In addition to fluent German, he also speaks beginner Hindi, Urdu, Dari and Spanish.