What jobs can I get with an International Affairs BA?
There are MANY options for you to consider, and yes, many do consider diplomacy to be the the ultimate career goal. However, with an undergraduate degree in IR, you can still pursue a number of other fields and industries to gain experience to make you much more competitive for a diplomatic post.
Think about the skills you can develop and enhance while still in college; skills that will make you competitive on the job market:
Teamwork, negotiation/influencing, writing, communication (including foreign language), analysis, reporting, etc. These can be honed via leadership/involvement activities, as well as in the classroom, and in internships or study abroad.
As you progress through college, keep your resume up to date to reflect your experience developing these skills and competencies. Seek out internships that appeal to your interests and allow you to build and develop new skills. This can be in nonprofit/ngo industry, in consulting, in media/communications, in education, public health/environment, security/intelligence, global development, government (local, state, national) and a host of other fields.
Talk with alumni and other professionals in the fields/industries you are interested in. Have more than a few informational interviews to gain insight. Consider joining local associations (get the young professionals or student rate) to network and meet other people. These are all methods of learning more and should help you decide on a path to begin your career.
There's a popular, well-known text called Careers in International Affairs, edited by Maria Pinto Carland, that provides a great overview of the many options to consider with background and training in IR.
Don't assume that you can't get a job in international al affairs with "just" a BA. The Foreign Service does not require an advanced degree andirons for s certainly possible to d well done n the exam with"just" a BA.
Lindsey - there are many options in the US and overseas for someone interested in International Affairs in addition to the diplomatic services. Some people enjoy working with international humanitarian groups like International Rescue Committee (IRC) where the focus is serving vulnerable groups (rather than the political agenda of the US Government) or with the United Nations and its many areas of humanitarian and international administration responsibilities. Others enjoy working on the policy side for think tanks, for example, and still others like to apply international skills to working with large corporations developing projects in emerging markets. Enjoy exploring your many options!