U.S. Foreign Service Life: First Steps
|Flag of Washington, D.C.|
I'm getting ready to go live anywhere in the world.
My partner recently was accepted into the U.S. Foreign Service. It's a job with the State Department. He's in the political "cone" or track. A lot of people have been asking me questions about it, so I'm going to give an overview here.
Note: While I will blog about life abroad, I will not use this site to write in detail about life in the Foreign Service or the very lengthy process of getting into the Foreign Service. There are many great blogs already covering that topic, and it's not something I wish to repeat. For friends and family and curious onlookers who want to know more about our Foreign Service lives, such as our next steps and key dates, sign up for my TinyLetter newsletter. You'll receive an email every so often with more detail that you ever wanted.
The gist of it is that he's going to be a diplomat, although "foreign service officer" seems to be the preferred term. First, we'll move to Washington D.C. for his initial training, which lasts about six weeks. During that time, we'll live in temporary (furnished, sponsored) housing. But the overall lifestyle is that we will be posted to a different country every two years where we'll live and work. I'll continue to write while he works in one of the embassies.
Early in his training, we'll find out where in the world there are open positions that are appropriate for his entry-level status. We can review those possibilities and even rank them to a degree according to our preferences for region, language, and other factors, but the assignment doesn't necessary take our preferences into consideration. If it does, we'll count ourselves very lucky.
Toward the end of those six weeks, we'll find out his assignment during a ceremony called Flag Day.
It's unlikely we would move to that first post right away. Likely, we'll be in Washington, D.C. for a few more weeks at least, and possibly a whole year, so he can receive additional training specific to his post as well as language training. Bonus for me: I'm eligible to go to the language classes, too.
From time to time, we will return to New York and California to visit friends and family, and we will have occasional posts that are in the U.S., likely in D.C.
Right now, that's about all we know. It's exciting and terrifying, but we're well equipped for the challenge. The hard things in life are usually the ones worth doing, right?