A-100 Here I Come!
Updated: Apr 14, 2021
And so the journey ends! It’s been two years and two months since I applied for the Foreign Service, and last week the process finally concluded. I’m officially joining the Foreign Service!
I’ve sat on this news for a few days because there was a tragedy at work. A dear colleague passed away, which was a terrible shock. In fact, I haven’t even told my supervisor yet because now I’ll have to depart Armenia early, leaving him with even more work and stress than he already had before the unexpected death of someone in our team. I’d better make sure I tell him before I hit “post message.”
But even though everything during the past four days has been overshadowed by sadness, I’m psyched. I feel so grateful for the opportunity to serve the United States as a diplomat, because the work is meaningful irrespective of how you view recent history or politics or whatever crazy stuff you see on the news. For me, working for the government and trying to make things better for everyone is all about understanding different sides to an issue and working together with others, instead of turning away in disappointment or disgust.
Contrary to what many people think, it’s not that hard to separate politics from real life, polarizing propaganda from thoughtful discussion, or even politicized ideas from someone’s true character. I work on foreign policies I question (internally) all the time, and I have friends who vote for things I find ludicrous. Everyone is different but we all have to get along. To me, that’s pretty damn interesting.
My next step is moving to DC in June, by myself initially, to start orientation at the Foreign Service Institute (FSI) for 5-6 weeks. After that, almost anything can happen. I already have most of the required training and I won’t be on language probation (since I already speak a foreign language) so I could be sent abroad almost right away. On the other hand, I could be in language training for a year and—as my husband fervently hopes—be sent to Prague, which was our original assignment.
On a personal level, this is going to be a turbulent time if ever there was one. Dealing with the crisis at work, organizing pack-outs and preparing to leave my family behind, and—believe it or not—three personal trips abroad in the next six weeks! We’re going on a family cruise to Italy and Greece for ten days; a week later we’ll fly to the Netherlands for my sister’s wedding; and before I fly to DC I need to be at another wedding in the Netherlands.
Let's do this!
Want to know more about a career with the State Department? Check out careers.state.gov or check it out on social media @DOSCareers
Read more! About my experience with the Foreign Service in the section How To Become a Diplomat; different Foreign Service career tracks in Diplomacy 101; my experience working as a FSO in What Diplomats Do.
For career advice from people with great international jobs check out:
Career advice with journalist Aisha Chowdhry
Career Advice with Entrepreneur Gertje Vanhoutte
Other posts on international careers on this blog:
17 Cool international affairs jobs I didn't even know existed
The art of networking in the field of IR — and why it always pays off
What resumes in international relations (should) look like: do’s and don’ts
How to go abroad, and then stay abroad, to start your international career
Internship Do's & Don'ts for Careers in International Relations