: I'm thinking of a career in the Foreign Service when I get out of college (T-minus 4 years), which I am just now entering. While metafilter has had
before, but my situation is am bit different (so I'm hoping the Foreign Service mefites from those threads can chime in). The most important distinction is that I'm looking to be a
, or in some other sort of engineering related role (which falls under "Management" I believe) not a diplomat. Much more after the jump...
I'll be studying Electrical Engineering at the University of Kentucky starting next week. I'm interested in the job mainly because of the travel, cultural, linguistic, and straight out 'adventure' aspects of it. Moving around constantly in potentially dangerous places is a feature, not a bug, for me - and seemingly something hard to come by with an engineering background. From the description it sounds as though I'd be foiling nefarious foreign agents and their dastardly schemes to compromise network security and plant bugging devices in embassies. Is the job anywhere near that cool? Or will I just be an IT lacky who happens to travel? (although that would only slightly curb my enthusiasm, I'd prefer a job where I acutally dealt with "real" EE sorts of tasks).
I'm taking German in college and I can speak Dutch nearly fluently, though it seems from reading other threads that the foreign service is not particularly interested in your past lingusitic experience. I plan on studying abroad in Germany at some point - they wouldn't have any problem with that, would they? A lot of the background checking I've read about seems to allude to connections with foreign nationals being problematic, which in my case is an issue because...
I'm also a citizen of Belgium (in addition to the U.S., where I was born), through my mother, who is a resident alien (not naturalized). I currently have a Belgian passport, which I have traveled on (only in western Europe), but am completely willing to stop doing that. Would I have to relinquish my citizenship, or simply be willing to at any time? My mother currently works for the Belgian Embassy in DC. Will any of this prevent me from getting the requisite Top Secret clearance? What sorts of things should I avoid in the coming years to make the clearance process as painless as possible?
My family lives in the DC area, and would have no problem taking a summer internship position
in DC. Would this help me down the line in getting a Foreign Service job? It seems I can't do one until the summer after sophomore year.
What sorts of things should I read/study in college to be prepared for the written/oral examinations? Reading the NYT/Washington Post every day seems like the obvious place to start, but what of the reading list
is actually worthwhile? If I start now, I could probably get through a lot of it, and it seems like interesting subject matter anyway.
What sort of grades are they looking for?
Which of these books
on the lifestyle is best for my situation (they seem mostly geared toward the aspiring diplomat and his/her family).
Any and all general comments welcome.