Student Spotlight: Eric Chu, GHD ’20

We interviewed GHD first-year student Eric Chu about his experience in the GHD program, the Pickering Fellowship, and his career plans.

Eric in Uganda
Eric Teaching in his Peace Corps site in Uganda

What class do you particularly enjoy at GHD and why?
My favorite course thus far has been the GHD Political Economy course taught by Professor Shareen Joshi. Since I come from a science background, the course provided a strong conceptual foundation for the types of issues and complex relationships between economic, political, cultural, and social factors of different counties to consider when working in development. I could reference my experience in the field to the classroom knowledge and through the topics we were learning. The class discussions were engaging, and my classmates provided a wide range of different perspectives, experiences, and contexts to relate to the academic papers and topics we were discussing.

What is your favorite out of GHD experience at Georgetown thus far?
I am learning French with three other GHD students and it has been a very intense experience that I enjoy. I have always liked learning languages and sometimes consider it a fun distraction from all the dense, technical, and academic information in a Master’s program. I would like to continue working in Sub-Saharan Africa in the future and building this language skill is essential.

Where do you see yourself in five or ten years?
I am a Thomas R. Pickering Foreign Affairs Fellow and will be joining the State Department as a Foreign Service Officer after graduation. I will be working as a US diplomat in embassies overseas or at the main State Department in DC.

I applied to the Pickering fellowship because I want to combine my scientific background with international experiences to advance US interest abroad. As one of 30 Pickering Fellows selected each year who will join the US Foreign Service after graduation, I receive professional development opportunities and will participate in two summer internships with the Department of State (one abroad and one in DC), which work in tandem with GHD requirements.

Where is your favorite place abroad and why?
It is difficult to pick because I have enjoyed almost every place I visited abroad. Italy (specifically Tuscany) and Uganda have a special place in my heart. After my freshman year in undergrad, I went on a study abroad seminar called Sustainable Food Systems in Italy, where I stayed in Florence and discovered authentic Tuscany cuisine for the first time, which was a dream for someone who likes to cook. I was a Peace Corps Volunteer in Uganda and the Pearl of Africa will always be like another home to me. Uganda was also where I first became inspired to work in the continent.