I’d like to piggyback (an overused State Department expression that I kind of hate myself for using) on Life After Jerusalem’s recent blog entry and welcome the newest crop of Foreign Service Officers to the team. Welcome aboard to the 176th A-100 class. I hope you enjoyed your first day today and quickly figure out how to manage the cafeteria so as to not hold up the rest of us.
The Washington Post has a great article explaining a bit about what U.S. Foreign Service Officers can do to help Americans in trouble aboard. The article focuses particularly on consular work and should be essential reading for all would-be FSOs as well as anyone considering international travel.
The United States has planted nearly 300 embassies and consulates on international soil, in destinations tropical (Suva, Fiji) and urban (Sao Paulo), peaceful (Bern, Switzerland) and volatile (Cairo), touristy (Florence) and not (Sanaa, Yemen). The embassies’ top priority is to aid Americans traveling abroad, although staff members also work on visa and immigration issues and fraud investigations. But Uncle Sam’s kids come first.
Some of you may be interested — particularly those thinking of pursuing the management career track — in also applying for the General Services Officer (GSO) specialist position. If so, you’re in luck. The Department of State is now accepting applications for this FS specialist job.
Here is how the official job announcement describes the work of a GSO:Continue
As most of my readers know, learning a foreign language is a major part of the diplomat lifestyle. In addition to the excellent instruction provided by the Foreign Service Institute, I find it important to supplement that effort with other resources. This keeps training interesting and can open you up to new types of learning that may reinforce the classroom instruction.Continue
A regular reader of the site recently asked me to address how the Foreign Service life may come with some restrictions. It’s a good topic and I thought I’d go through each of his questions individually here in case others had similar concerns.
First of all, this reader is right. It is something to think about. Although becoming an FSO doesn’t mean you give up all rights to a personal life, it is made clear in your initial orientation that you have become an “American diplomat.” This means everything you do will potentially reflect on your homeland whether you intend for that or not.Continue