Hong Kong co-​​op bridges diplomacy and business

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Nick Fei was happy to land an intern­ship with the British Consulate-General in Hong Kong, where he grew up after his family moved from Boston. But he didn’t stay in that posi­tion for long.

In short order, the senior communication studies major was pro­moted from an intern to a trade advisor. Working as a con­tractor for the consulate-general, Fei is now respon­sible for plan­ning and sup­porting the consulate’s Great Week of Creativity, a November series of more than three-dozen events designed to pro­mote British com­pa­nies and goods in the Hong Kong market.

“It’s a huge event to be a part of,” Fei said.

Fei has been working with about 100 small and medium-sized British com­pa­nies looking to estab­lish them­selves in the Hong Kong market, a hotbed for luxury prod­ucts and high fashion. He is respon­sible for securing key spon­sor­ships, plan­ning the week’s events, which include fashion shows, parades and exhi­bi­tions, and arranging for high-profile British per­son­al­i­ties to attend the Great Week of Creativity.

“It’s a great cam­paign,” Fei said. “It’s a pro­gram ini­ti­ated by the Prime Min­ister in No. 10 [Downing St.], who is very com­mitted to pro­moting British ven­tures and invest­ment in major cities around the world.”

Hong Kong and Great Britain have a long shared his­tory — Hong Kong was part of the British Empire until 1997, when sov­er­eignty was offi­cially handed over — and the consulate-general is working to build stronger British cul­tural iden­tity and busi­ness oppor­tu­ni­ties within the area.

Fei works long days. “It’s really hectic, but at the same time it’s so rewarding,” he said. “Stu­dents just don’t get expo­sure to this kind of work.”

Fei noted that his pre­vious co-op with a start-up called Level Up pre­pared him for his experiential-learning oppor­tu­nity in Hong Kong, which ends in November after the Great Week of Cre­ativity wraps up.

“I’ve always aspired to have an inter­na­tional career, and working in a diplo­matic agency really helped me to expand my dynamic,” Fei said. “I’ve had the chance to meet with a lot of people from dif­ferent coun­tries, ranks and back­grounds. I think that because of co-op I’ve been able to get com­fort­able working and nego­ti­ating with people who are in more senior positions.”