Academics and Research / Magazine Feature / People

Alumnus says students should work abroad

Rodney Broome (MTEL ’96) believes University of Denver students should get out of the country.

“I would advise any student to work abroad for some part of their careers,” says Broome, who’s now in Kabul, Afghanistan, working for MPRI, a U.S.-based company that’s helping train the Afghan national army.

And if students don’t work abroad, he says they should at least get to know international students at DU.

“People develop a broader understanding of the world and the important issues by interacting and listening to those of other cultures,” Broome says. “Most U.S. citizens don’t understand what an advantage it is to be multilingual.”

Broome says his work and travel abroad has been “the most important factor” in his development.

“I’ve been told that a person’s thought pattern is mostly developed by his or her first language, and it is fascinating to listen to persons from other countries make … arguments and listen to their thought patterns.”

Broome, who joined the U.S. Army in 1964, has followed his own advice. He’s been working on overseas contracts for the U.S. government and military off and on for 38 years.

“I’ve always been … interested in working abroad,” he says. “At my age, this is about the only opportunity I have to support the soldiers in Afghanistan.”

The assignment marks Broome’s fourth time in a combat zone. He says he’s hasn’t been threatened directly but says people have died from rockets, vehicle explosive devices, machine guns, mortars and rocket-propelled grenades all over Kabul.

One of his biggest lessons? The amount of corruption.

“I’ve come to realize that a country will not progress until [it] has a strong rule of law.”

Nevertheless, Broome says there’s been good headway in Afghanistan.

“Our employees have been very successful at training the Afghan army … The sooner the 120,000-man Afghan army can be stood up the sooner they can take responsibility for their own security.”

Rick Kiernan, a spokesperson for MPRI, says the company is a defense government services group in Alexandria, Va. “Rodney is one of 400 MPRI employees working in Afghanistan, and the security within that region has been steadily improving thanks to his contribution and that of the MPRI Team,” Kiernan says.

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