Patrick Sewell


Making the decision to travel to a new country to study is a difficult one. But for sophomore Patrick Sewell, the U.S. has turned out to be just another adventure in an already exciting life. 

Sewell grew up in Sao Paulo and has always loved exploring new places and experiencing different cultures. He’s also known for inviting friends along for the ride whenever he tries something new. He said he and a friend once woke up and walked to a nearby bakery before going to see the sunrise.

“It’s hard to find people who have initiative and do things without being told.” 

While at the bakery, they talked with the woman in charge as she baked and set up for the day. The idea that people like her do this daily made Sewell realize how different life is for everyone and how fortunate he is. 

“These opportunities just come to us and we just need to grab them,” he said. 

Since deciding to attend UE, Sewell has made dozens of friends along the way. Sophomore Theda Soldatou said life is never boring with Sewell around. She describes him as spontaneous and full of energy.

“He doesn’t want to miss out on life,” 

Soldatou said. “He wants to grab life and take all the juice out of it.” 

Sewell’s spirit landed him at Harlaxton this semester and is more than that of the typical adrenaline junkie. Soldatou believes he is willing to put himself in places where he must confront things so he can experience other viewpoints. 

Sewell’s trek to the U.S. and his semester abroad are not the only times he has traveled to different countries. While he was encouraged to give back as a boy, his charity work has continued into adulthood, most noticeably when he traveled to India with a group of volunteers in July 2015. 

While the group originally intended to help build an orphanage, when they arrived they found that the sponsoring organization had not raised enough money. Instead, the group worked with the residents and stayed with them in the rat-infested, dilapidated orphanage. 

“Whenever you go back to places like Brazil, or places that were better off, you realize how lucky you are,” he said. 

Sewell also created a band with some of the orphans. He taught them how to play instruments and together they performed for a local church. 

“It was an amazing moment,” he said. “Not just for them, but for me.” 

While the group left India disappointed, they returned to Brazil determined to find a way to help. Sewell posted on his Facebook page the orphans’ plight and found about 100 people willing to contribute to the cause. They raised about $2,000. 

“When something doesn’t go right, his nature allows him to regroup and say, ‘lets figure it out,’” said Jill Griffin, executive director for the Institute for Global Enterprise. “It’s not only that he works to make the world better, he inspires others to make the world better.” 

While he is actually majoring in economics, cognitive science and ethics and social change, it is social innovation that excites him the most. Sewell likes analyzing problems and finding answers. 

“Social innovation is something that has always had my attention,” he said. “It is the ultimate goal for me. I want to find solutions that are viable and have the impact to solve problems.” 

In the meantime, he will continue trying to make a difference in other people’s lives. 

“What I really want when I volunteer is to get all these opportunities so I can give people the same opportunities,” Sewell said. 

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