Seymour graduate now living and working in Hong Kong


Attending Purdue University wound up being a good decision for Hannah Davis.

Growing up with an interest in other cultures and traveling, she had the best of both worlds while she was a student at the West Lafayette school.

In 2016, she had a monthlong summer internship working at a university in Seoul, South Korea.

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Then from January to May this year, she participated in a study abroad program in Hong Kong, China.

That led to Davis pursuing working and living in one of those areas.

She landed an opportunity to teach at a learning center in Hong Kong and just recently settled in there to start her new journey.

“Purdue really offers a lot to its students, and I think Purdue also really wants the students to be exposed to diversity and the global world that we live in,” said Davis, 23, a 2014 Seymour High School graduate.

“It’s really important that we get those experiences, so Purdue really pushes their study abroad programs, especially the department I was in, the communication department,” she said. “They work really hard to make it so students’ schedules and classes can fit. Purdue is just really good at making sure their students get opportunities.”

The internship came about after Davis and a friend attended a study abroad fair at Purdue.

“I wasn’t for sure at that point if I wanted to do a whole semester or a year, and this was just a one-month program, and I really liked the directors who were in charge of it,” she said. “They were really welcoming and friendly, and I also liked how you got to experience going to work and doing an internship as opposed to going to school.”

Once she was signed up for the internship, she spent two weeks at Purdue taking classes to learn about Korean history, culture and language. She also researched the language on her own to learn basic words and phrases.

“Some of the basic things weren’t too hard because I also took Japanese, and the sentence structure was somewhat similar,” Davis said. “It made it a little easy to remember things, but then as I kept going on, it got kind of hard, especially when you’re not there and not speaking with native speakers.”

Joining her for the internship were more than a dozen students along with a professor and two assistants, who are from Korea.

Some of the students had jobs in corporate places, while others, including Davis, worked at Ewha Womans University.

She helped graduate students with conversational English, and the university’s professors taught the interns about Korean culture.

One of the lessons was about photography and learning how to use editing software.

“Even though those weren’t our majors, it was still pretty interesting to have that experience,” said Davis, who majored in corporate communication and minored in global studies at Purdue.

The Purdue students also wrote blogs to document what they experienced and learned each day, including their job and sightseeing around the area.

The sightseeing included hiking a mountain and visiting museums and palaces.

“Our mentor really wanted us to make sure that we got to experience Seoul and not just be working in an office the whole time,” Davis said. “She wanted us to document what we do and show it to the professor.”

The internship allowed her to earn nine credit hours for college.

“A lot of what I got out of that experience covered my minor,” Davis said. “I think it showed me how I can go out and do things, and it gave me a taste of what it would be like working after school. I think it helped me become more independent.”

Living and working in a different place and learning about culture was fun and interesting to Davis, and she said she wanted to have that chance again.

“I did the internship because it was only one month. I wasn’t sure if I was ready to do three or four months,” she said. “It gave me the confidence to be able to do a longer one.”

While researching study abroad options, she said City University of Hong Kong had the best of what she needed to graduate.

This time, she went by herself and took four classes — international marketing, social media, Japanese culture and Asian history.

The language wasn’t as challenging because English is one of Hong Kong’s official languages. Residents there also speak Cantonese and Mandarin.

Her classes were three hours long in large lecture halls once a week, while most of her classes at Purdue were 90 minutes three days a week.

At the end of the study abroad, Davis earned 12 credit hours. Since she returned after Purdue’s graduation, she received her diploma in the mail.

“I think it helped me to get a taste of what it will be like living on your own,” she said. “I met some good friends there, and I learned more about the culture, and I just feel like it was a good experience for me.”

During her internship, Davis had researched life in Korea and found out about people going abroad to teach English, so that became her goal for post-graduation.

“I thought it would be a good time to do it after I graduate because eventually, I would probably like to work in the corporate world at maybe a university,” she said. “I thought it would be a good learning experience, and also, I have enjoyed working with children before.”

Last summer, she took an online class to teach English as a foreign language. That set her up for working at the learning center in Hong Kong.

There, she is teaching kids ages 6 months to 6 years.

“I think what the parents who send their children there are wanting their kids to get is to get really exposed to learning in English or learning in Mandarin because at the university I went to, pretty much all classes were in English,” Davis said. “They highly value learning English in Hong Kong, and most people are fluent in English.”

Davis said the opportunity means a lot to her.

“I’m excited to start work and also try to meet up with friends I made there and just get back into it,” she said. “I had my own life when I was there earlier, and I will get back into the swing of things.”

Her mother, Karen Davis, went with her to Hong Kong to get settled back in. That was Karen’s first time visiting there, while Hannah’s father, Dan Davis, had spent some time with her in Seoul.

“I just never really expected that she would be doing this, but she enjoys it, and if it makes her happy, then I’m happy, too. But I’m going to miss her,” Karen said.

“I’ll miss her, too,” Hannah said.

Fortunate, the family can stay connected via social media and Skype. Hannah also hopes to return home to Seymour when she gets time off around holidays.

Karen said the internship and study abroad were beneficial to Hannah because they led to this new venture.

“It has been really an amazing experience for her that she has been able to do this,” Karen said. “I think it’s really important that students get to actually meet other people from other countries. We have a global economy now, and it’s better that we all understand each other and live better. These travel abroad and internship experiences are wonderful for that purpose.”

As students head to college, Hannah said she encourages them to look into internships and study abroad programs.

“Purdue does offer scholarships and ways to assist students with study abroad,” she said. “Even if you can’t do that, Purdue has a lot of culture nights and events, and you can go and learn about culture. Just try to experience that as much as you can.”

Ultimately, Hannah said she is interested in either continuing to work abroad, possibly in a corporate job, or returning to the United States to work in an international students department at a university.

It all depends on how her experience in Hong Kong goes.

“I might not want to come back (to America),” she said, smiling.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Davis file” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Hannah Davis

Age: 23

Hometown: Seymour

Residence: Recently moved to Hong Kong, China

Education: Seymour High School (2014); Purdue University (bachelor’s degree in corporate communication with a minor in global studies, 2018)

Occupation: Working at a learning center in Hong Kong

Family: Parents, Dan and Karen Davis; sister, Sarah Davis


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