I am a sailor, an artist, a student, a teacher, a traveler, a foodie, an adventurer-er, a blogger, and if I’m very, very lucky: a diplomat.
Skills & Hidden Talents:
- COOKING: Homemade pizza, midnight pancakes, turkey in a toaster oven.
- ART: I paint, I draw, I sculpt.
- SPORTS: Fencing, archery, martial arts.
- SAILING: Big Boats, Small Boats, and everything in between.(~17 years).
- SCHOOL: BA in Political Science (GO DUCKS) and MS in Project Management.
My hometown is Eugene, Oregon, USA, but I’ve lived in New York, L.A., Yangju, and PyeongChang, South Korea. I’ve had a lot of odd jobs: Sailing Instructor, Archery Rangemaster, Parks & Rec Intern, and (most recently) as a foreign English teacher.
I loved teaching so much, that this September, I up and married another English Teacher. He’s from Texas. Jarrod and I now live in eastern Korea (PyeongChang) where he works. At the moment, I’m working from home and studying for a test called the FSOT.
In fact, that’s the reason why I’m creating this blog.
FSOT: Foreign Service Officer Test
The Foreign Service Officer Test is the first step in becoming a Foreign Service Officer for the US State Department. Most people know this as being a “diplomat.” When you work as a FSO, you are assigned to an embassy or consulate, usually overseas, where you work as one of the following:
- Consular Officer
- Economic Officer
- Management Officer
- Political Officer <—- That’s Me!
- Public Diplomacy Officer
Each of these tracks has a unique purpose in the consulate. The purpose of the political officer (the track I have chosen) is to “analyze host country political events […] negotiate and communicate effectively with all levels of foreign government officials.” According the the State Department’s website activities include:
- Developing foreign contacts in and out of politics and government to advance U.S. political interests.
- Assessing the impact of political developments on the U.S. and making recommendations on action by our government.
- Supporting high-level visits and advising policymakers on how to communicate with foreign governments.
- Monitoring activities in international organizations of which we are not a member, e.g., European Union, and engaging with such groups.
No, I’m not becoming a spy. No, I’m not becoming an ambassador. Think pencil-pusher at the embassy who writes reports like this, and this. For an idea of “a day in the life” check out this blog-post by a current FSO.
After a lot of deliberation, Jarrod and I have decided that I’ll be applying to become an FSO starting in late January with the Foreign Service Officer Test. This is the first step (in many that I’ll detail later) to getting a posting somewhere in the world.
Why the Foreign Service?
It just seems to fit our goals of living abroad, teaching, traveling, and immersing ourselves in new cultures. Being a Pol Officer is basically Political Science meets Project Management: it’s right up my alley. Plus, it pays pretty well.
Why the Blog?
Over the last few weeks as I’ve been preparing my own path for studying and (God willing) passing the exam, I have scoured the internet for resources. I hope that this blog can be another resource for anyone else who is interested in taking the FSOT, traveling, or living abroad in general. It is also a great way for me to practice my writing (See: FSOT Essay Section) and keep accountable to the process.
Expect posts with info about the Foreign Service, study tips, life updates, occasional rants, and current events. I hope this blog is useful, or at the very least, entertaining.
Till next time!