What can I do to better prepare me for a career in the foreign service?
My dream is to be a foreign service officer for the State Department and I know that you can intern at certain Embassies but I'm not sure what else to do to prepare for a career in government. #internships #government #international-affairs #international-relations #foreign-affairs #foreign-service #state-department
It's a good career. My dad was a FSO for years.
To prepare: Take a bachelors' degree in something like history, economics, politics. Pay close attention to modern history and current events, and do your best to understand the news in context. It doesn't hurt to become proficient in a foreign language, both in consuming and producing it in written and spoken form.
An internship, or working experience, with a NGO involved in foreign relations can't hurt. One of the large-scale denominational orgs, like Lutheran World Relief, will give you valuable experience, both at the substance and the bureaucracy of the work.
Read some of the Wikileaks material for the part of the world you're interested in. But don't brag about it to people you talk to at State. Read Emma Sky's book about Iraq.
You'll need to take the Foreign Service exam. To prepare for this read the New York Times world news sections -- every word -- for a couple of months.
Be careful to understand you'll start out as a vice consul in some unglamorous location: probably a commercial port city somewhere. Think Oakland instead of San Francisco and you have the idea. Vice consuls issue visas, visit Peace Corps volunteers, and get drunk American sailors out of jail.
The last question asked of my dad in his oral exam was "what will you do if the Foreign Service doesn't take you." His answer was "I have a job offer as an editor at an economics journal." They took him.