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Hong Kong co-op bridges diplomacy and business

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.”