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Career Story: Foreign Service Officer

Foreign Service Officer

Job Title: Foreign Service Officer

Type of Company: I work for the US State Dept

Education: BS, Aerospace Engineering, United States Military Academy •• MA, Political Science, University of Hawaii

Previous Experience: I was an officer in the US Army where I served as a helicopter pilot. Now I am a foreign service officer for the US State Department.

Job Tasks: As a foreign service officer (FSO), I am normally posted to US embassies overseas where I represent the US government. As an FSO, I work with the host government so they know where the US stands on certain foreign policy decisions. They relay their positions on certain international issues to and we forward their views back to Washington. This back and forth dialogue helps smooth over any differences that the two countries may have and help prevent miscommunication and misunderstanding. As an FSO, I also work with certain host government ministries on specific bilateral issues that hopefully benefit both countries.

Best and Worst Parts of the Job: The best part of the job is being able to live overseas and visit the neighboring countries. This has given me a global outlook on our own domestic issues and has also allowed me to better appreciate what we have in the U.S. The worst part of the job is being so far away from family. While I can take my immediate family with me overseas, I do not get to see my siblings, parents or grandparents very often - only about once a year. However, the internet and improved telephone service has helped make this a bit easier.

Job Tips:
1. Major in political science, international relations or law in your undergraduate studies.

2. If you can, pursue a masters degree in a similar field.

3. Spend some time overseas (semester abroad) prior to or during college so you know that you will enjoy life overseas.

Additional Thoughts: I would recommend this career if you are interested in current event in the world. If you really want to make a difference in the world, show people overseas why we live in a such a great country and if you want to travel the world, then this career might be for you. The headquarters for this job is in Washington, DC but you will spend over half of your career living overseas.

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