Meet Brendon Hawkins

Program and Location:

Summer, Hanyang University International Summer School: Seoul, South Korea

Major/Minor:

Technology, Engineering, and Design Education – concentration in Graphic Communications

Why did you choose to study abroad?

I knew that it was always something that I wanted to do since elementary school however, not a lot of people around me had done it. I did not think that I had the money, resources, or support to go abroad. When I find out that I needed an extra semester to fulfil my degree requirements, I decided to recall that dream that I held onto for so long and finally go for it.

What did you learn about yourself?

I learned that I can accomplish so much with just determination, and perseverance. Because I had to overcome so much to get to Korea I know that as an individual I am not only passionate about my goals and challenges but willing to do what it takes to get things done. I learned that I am not that different from anyone else whether they are on the other side of the world, or down the street.

What was one of your favorite parts of your program?

One of my favorite parts of the program was definitely living in Habitat Hanyang which was an off campus housing option for students. Essentially a share-house, one of the most amazing experiences was at the end of the day when everyone would get together in the common area and share the adventures they had that day and provide stories from their home countries.

Were you surprised by anything during your time abroad?

I decided to study abroad during the Covid-19 Pandemic. This meant that I purposefully welcomed on an all new set of challenges to overcome. One of those things being a mandatory 2 week hotel quarantine while I was in Korea. This was one of the most difficult parts of my time there but I was able to get through it. Additionally, there was a spike in cases during my stay which pushed all of my classes online. Being the “foreigner” in certain spaces was even harder to concerns about the pandemic.

What advice do you have for future study abroad students?

Do not let anything hold you back. There is always another option when you encounter road blocks. During the difficult moments, be sure to remember why you are going abroad and let that be your motivation to continue. Although people may not understand you on several different levels, have an open mind when encountering new experiences. Make as many connections as you can and make yourself proud.

Would you do it again?

Absolutely