Foreign Service Update

Remember that Foreign Service Officer Test I took back in February? And how I passed and moved on to the next stage, the Personal Narrative Questions? Well, I heard from the people who evaluate all the aspirants’ questions.

And I didn’t pass.

This may sound like a strange statement to make, but I’m not really sad about it. The main emotion I feel actually is relief. I personally think the worst part of the entire process is all the waiting. You wait for three long weeks after taking the test. If you pass that, you wait six to eight weeks for the results of the narratives. And if you pass that, you have to wait to interview in person, but at least you find out your interview result at the end of the day. Though if you make it through the interview, there’s even more waiting while you’re on the register. (If you want a detailed explanation of the whole process, check out my post here.)

Basically, if I want to put in an application again, I have to wait a year. It doesn’t mean 365 calendar days; I just can’t sign up to take the test again until the first session next year since I took it during the first session this year. I’m not sure if I’ll sign up again or not. I probably will, though it depends on what I’m doing next year.

To be honest, I actually go back and forth on whether I want to join the Foreign Service or not. It’s one of those jobs that has a ton of good things (you get paid to learn languages and live abroad and work in a cool environment)… and a ton of bad things (one of those languages you learn could be Chinese or Arabic or Hindi, and one of those places you go abroad could be Sudan or Saudi Arabia or India). My point here isn’t that Chinese, Arabic, and Hindi are terrible languages—if you like them and learn them, that’s great. The point is they’re not languages I’ve ever had a desire to learn. Same with the countries I listed: I know some people might love to have the chance to live in India or Saudi Arabia or Sudan. I personally don’t.

When one applies to join the Foreign Service, one commits to worldwide assignment. That means that however unlikely it is that I will go to Sudan, the possibility still exists. Though I’m okay with being sent to most places (South America and Europe, bring it on!), there are certain places that I really hope to never visit, much less live in. A part of me thinks I should just stay here and keep working and writing and see what happens. Of course, the other part of me says one word over and over: RUSSIA RUSSIA RUSSIA. Because I think working in an embassy or consulate over in Russia would be the most amazing thing ever.

It’s all very confusing. At least I have the rest of this year to think about it, though. And if I am still confused by the time signing up rolls around, I’ll probably sign up anyway just to see how it goes—like I did this time.


5 thoughts on “Foreign Service Update

  1. I thought about the Foreign Service at one point but now I’m not sure I would have liked it, for some of the reasons you mentioned. You are clearly passionate about Russia, so instead of rolling the dice and seeing if they’ll send you there, why don’t you find a job there in the private sector? My boss did something like that after college. Maybe you’ve already looked into this, but it seems like you’d have more control over your destiny and be able to be exactly where you want to be, doing what you want to do. My two cents.

    P.S. I like your blog and the quirky combination of language, politics, and music. I am fluent in Spanish and starting to learn Russian so maybe we can be language buddies. 🙂


    1. I have tried in the past, without success, to find a job there with an international company. My search may have eventually been successful—except all this Ukraine stuff happened! With all the instability, I’m actually wary of going there now and I definitely wouldn’t want a job paying a salary in rubles (the exchange rate is terrible right now). That’s one advantage of the foreign service: your job is paid in dollars. 😀 But maybe will improve and something will work out.

      Yes, we should be language buddies! I’d love to help you with Russian and I really ought to work in Spanish more. (I want to learn it but I have been so lazy with learning new languages recently, haha.)


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