Brian Norlander with friends at the Great Wall of China

I spent fall 2018 in Hong Kong. I most enjoyed being in such a large community of international people from all over the world. I met and befriended someone from just about every major European country and East Asian country and also met more people within America. I learned more about the world this semester than I had the previous 22 years of my life by far.

Just about every weekend I had an opportunity to travel to a new, foreign country with other foreign people who wanted to share this experience with me. Many of these friendships will easily be able to be rekindled down the line. If I visit my friends’ home countries or they visit mine, we will both pick up just where we left off in Hong Kong.

This was an incredible experience that I could not have gotten in another country and surely would not have if I wasn't at a university as great as Hong Kong University of Science and Technology.

I’m most proud of securing a job in Japan upon graduation. Most people I know only dream of working in a place like Japan, let alone anywhere outside of the U.S. I wanted to make this dream a reality for myself. I think that my time in Hong Kong will be a defining moment in my life where I broke out of the loop that many people get caught in where they go to college, graduate, get a job out of college near where they grew up, and continue through the motions for the rest of their life. I am thankful that I had the opportunity to study in Hong Kong and will hopefully choose a life that I want rather than going through the motions.

I also think my study abroad experience has prepared me for living in new places and getting along with diverse groups of people. Our economy is becoming more and more global and I hope to work in jobs that have global footprints, as well as make close friends from countries all over the world. Hopefully, living in Asia will open opportunities that combine my technical skills with knowledge of the region.