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TU Citizen: J. Nathan Bland

J. Nathan Bland“When I first found out about the state department and the Foreign Service, it was through an advertisement in a magazine -- just an ad that said, ‘Be the face of America to the world.’ And I was like, I was just doing that in Northwest China and if I can do that for a career and get paid to do it, then that's a no-brainer for me. I would love to do that. This was back when Colin Powell was about to be Secretary General. I was like, ‘I can work for him.’ A couple of years later, I was. 

As diplomats, we move every two to three years from U.S. Embassy to U.S. Embassy or consulate overseas. We spend most of our career overseas. 

It gives you a view of what it's like to be human, right? There's just so much out there in the world to explore and to discover. To discover what it's like to be. And I can't say that I've been Chinese but I feel like I've had a Chinese life. I spent a lot of time in China. I was eating Chinese food, learning Chinese culture, speaking Chinese every day, surrounded by Chinese people, learning their history, their traditions. I had a full Chinese life. It's a very unique experience. 

And then I got up and we moved to Italy and I had a full Italian life. There I was eating pizza and pasta every day, seeing the Coliseum on the way to work. I got to meet the Pope of course, because I was at the Embassy to the Vatican. Speaking another language, speaking Italian. And I did the same in Mexico, the same in Belize. 

The value to me is that - I’m hoping I'm not close to the end of my life - but even so, if I was, I've had a pretty full life. I've experienced a lot of different places, and people, and cultures and it's just cool to know that I was able to travel the globe and meet humans from other cultures and see what it's like to be human in various places.”

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