matthew farrarWhen applying for graduate school at one of the top universities in the world, it helps to stand out.


Matthew Farrar of Fort Smith found that fact out firsthand after graduating with a degree in English from the University of Arkansas – Fort Smith. He accrued a wealth of international travel and research experience during his time at UAFS that helped him get accepted to a graduate program for British literature at the University of Edinburgh.


Farrar had always dreamed of traveling internationally, but he didn’t think it would become a reality until he saw a brochure for a summer internship program in China in the university’s Career Services Office.


He applied and received the internship, where he taught English to employees of Visteon, Inc., and researching the entirety of southeast Asia’s automobile market.


That experience caused Farrar to want pursue more international travel opportunities after broadening his perspective to different cultures and their uniqueness. Following that internship, Farrar traveled to Spain for a Maymester class through UAFS, which are condensed courses held at exciting destinations across the world.    


After Spain, Farrar spent a summer in South Korea, where he was submerged in Korean culture. The variety of travel opportunities opened his eyes to a different perspective of other cultures, and he made cultural evaluation and discrimination a focus of study at UAFS.


Through the support of his professors, he wrote and published research papers through the university’s Undergraduate Research Symposium, as well as a paper at the University of Central Oklahoma.


“All the English professors encouraged trying to publish research papers as an undergraduate,” Farrar said. “I went to the faculty often to discuss research topics and potential weaknesses in my arguments. They always had an open door for me and provided realistic guidance that prepared me to perform on a high level. Whether the information they suggested was based on the text, a theorist, or merely stylistic, they were always quick to help and encourage me.”


That opportunity paid off for Farrar. He had three published papers in his academic resume, which led to his acceptance at the University of Edinburgh, home to the oldest English literature program in the world.


“If it wasn’t for the university and its professors, I don’t think I would’ve had the notches on my belt to get accepted to a place like the University of Edinburgh,” Farrar said. “UAFS has so many opportunities for involvement on its campus for students to prepare themselves for success, and I just took advantage of them.”


About the University of Arkansas - Fort Smith

The University of Arkansas – Fort Smith is the premiere regional institution of Western Arkansas, connecting education with careers and serving as a driver of economic development and quality of place in the greater Fort Smith region. Through a small campus, dedicated professors, and the university’s unique bond with its community, students at UAFS are able to do more in the areas they are passionate about, both on- and off-campus, in a way that prepares them for post-graduate success. To find out how you can do more at UAFS, visit


Date Posted: 
Thursday, September 29, 2016
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