Tuesday, August 10, 2021

From Dhaka to Guangzhou: HNC alumnus prepares to serve as Public Diplomacy Officer with U.S. Foreign Service

Jeffrey wearing a Shalwar Kameez for the 
Embassy Dhaka’s Pohela Falgun celebration.
Jeffrey A. Wood, HNC Certificate ’16 + SAIS MA(IR) '17, is a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State preparing to serve as a Public Diplomacy Officer at the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China.

Tell us a bit more about your career and your current role.
I have been a Foreign Service Officer for the U.S. Department of State since March 2018. I just completed my first tour at U.S. Embassy Dhaka, Bangladesh where I was Vice Consul and assisted U.S. citizens abroad and issued visas to Bangladeshi nationals. Soon, I will be headed to the U.S. Consulate in Guangzhou, China where I will be a Public Diplomacy Officer.

How often do you use Chinese in your current position and/or other skills you gained while studying at the HNC?
I believe I will use my Chinese language skills at my next post quite often. During my tenure at the HNC, I gained critical thinking and advocacy skills. I gained self-confidence to express my opinions in an impactful way in class discussions. I also improved my oral presentation skills in Chinese through detailed research of our academic topics selected.

What is a favorite memory of yours from your time at the HNC?

My favorite memory of mine was the Halloween party. At that time, many of us were adjusting to life in Nanjing and the coursework. The party was the first time I felt that I could truly get to know my colleagues in a meaningful way and as a result, I was able to formulate solid friendships and gain cross-cultural understanding.

What is one piece of advice you have for current or future HNC students?
Plan ahead, especially for those considering SAIS MAIR afterwards. I diversified my coursework my first semester at the HNC to understand what my interests were. It's also critical to utilize office hours and not be afraid to speak up when something is unclear.