Amsterdam’s United States Consul

Interview with British born John Wilcock

You are British and studied at Reading University. When and why did you make the move to the US?
Yes, I grew up in the UK and moved to the US in the mid-90s a few years after meeting my future wife, Karen, at Reading University while she was over in the UK for a few months of study. Her dad warned her that she’d meet some British guy and never come back. He was eventually wrong on the second count,
because after a few years in the UK we moved to the United States.

It wasn’t a difficult move for me. Like thousands of others I’d spent a summer during University working as a camp counsellor on the US summer work and travel program. I loved the experience, and I loved the country too. So, it wasn’t difficult for Karen to convince me to move there.

I thought only US citizens could work for the US Foreign Service. So how did you
land a job there?

Yes, you do have to be a US citizen, but you don’t have to have be a citizen at birth. I naturalised a few years after moving there. As for how I began my diplomatic career, I thought I had experience and perspective that was useful, and I really wanted to serve my adopted country, and I’ve always been interested in foreign affairs. So I took the test, it was that simple. The only qualifications required are that you be a US citizen and that you are capable of passing the test, which is free to take. That alone speaks volumes about the United States. It’s a country of immigrants, and it rewards ability above all else. I like the fact that I personify US values in that way.

Read the full interview