1. The Foreign Service seeks a diverse workforce with broad job skills and a depth of experienceto represent the US overseas. Briefly describe why you chose the career track you selected. Thisis the prompt from the personal narrative phase of the FSOT. You are only allowed 1300characters in your answer so I have expanded my original essay.2. The audience for this is the selection review committee for potential foreign service officers.All members of the committee are foreign service officers themselves, with each service conerepresented.3. Throughout my life I was taught by my parents that honesty, kindness, respect,compassion, leadership, drive, and excellence were virtues of the highest order. And so they gotme involved in groups and organizations that endorsed those values. Youth sports and cub scoutsevolved into the Boy Scouts, competitive athletics, and student government. I came to knowwhat those values truly meant and how to apply them in my daily life. In high school I wasselected to participate in the 2005 California Boys’ State. It was there as I gave a speech in frontof hundreds of bright, talented, ambitious young men that I felt the first spark of desire for publicservice. I entered San Diego State University and pursued a bachelors in international securityand conflict resolution with an emphasis in environment and security and a minor in Arabic andIslamic studies. I studied a broad array of subjects including political science, history and theeconomics of natural resources. I was also fortunate enough to study abroad at New College,Oxford University where I received lectures from world renown scholars on internationalrelations. This broad swath of subjects and educational experiences fueled my interests ininternational politics and relations. I was able to secure an internship as a research associate at the World Trade Center SanDiego where I worked on market research projects for water technology companies hoping tobegin exporting to the Middle East. I was made a team leader and put in charge of a team toprepare several presentations and workshops under the Resiliency and Resumption Initiative, aproject which outlined steps regional businesses would need to take to continue business in theevent of a major catastrophe. This internship gave me firsthand experience in dealing withinternational trade issues and lent substance to the way I view trade from my class lectures. Theinterconnectedness that a globalized economy brings doesn’t quite jump off the textbook page asquickly as fielding calls from five separate nations in as many minutes. I would be thrilled toexpand on my experience at the World Trade Center San Diego to work to shape and implementthe trade policies that bring different parts of the world closer to the United States. I chose the economic career track of the foreign service because of the breadth of subjectsthat the job entails. I am particularly interested in trade, technology, the environment and inparticular how in the globalized economy that we live in today the economic policies of onenation can have far reaching and unintended effects on nations from the other side of the globe. Ifind it fascinating how closely the economic factors of a decision will have a political, social, andenvironmental impact. I would be honored to be selected to serve as a foreign service officer anduse my education and talents to help further the economic aims of the United States.
1. The job that I am most interested in is the position of Foreign Service Officer for the U.S.Department of State. The Foreign Service consists of approximately 12,000 professional whowork in over 250 diplomatic missions around the world in embassies, consulates, and otherfacilities. The mission statement of the State Department is to, "Shape and sustain a peaceful,prosperous, just, and democratic world and foster conditions for stability and progress for thebenefit of the American people and people everywhere." The Foreign Service takes this missionstatement and pushes its message abroad while advancing the interests of the United States. TheForeign Service is the first line in the diplomacy effort and was created in 1924 by the RogersAct which combined all consular and diplomatic duties into a single administrative unit. Sincethen the Foreign Service has undergone many changes with the Foreign Service act of 1946 and1980. These acts further refined and defined the scope of the Foreign Service. Foreign ServiceOfficers are expected to have worldwide availability, should expect to serve two thirds of theircareer overseas, and must gain superior proficiency in either two languages or one super-hard/super-critical language such as Mandarin or Arabic. The Foreign Service has a very long and tough selection process. The first step is to pickone of five career cones of the Foreign Service: Political, Economic, Consular, Management, andPublic Diplomacy. One can not change their career cone later in the process and rarely can youchange cones during your career so one must be sure of what they would like to do. It isrecommended that applicants speak with a diplomat-in-residence before applying to find outmore about the career. The next step in the selection process is to take the Foreign ServiceOfficer Test which has four parts: a job knowledge, an english expression and grammar, abiographic, and a timed essay. The essay is only graded if the previous three sections received apassing score. The test is scored using a t-score system and thus there is not a hard and fast passscore. Applicants compete against each other. If a passing score is given, each applicant mustanswer six personal narrative questions which show the thirteen characteristics dimensions thatthe State Department looks for. The next step is the Oral interviews which consist of a structuredgroup exercise, a panel interview, and a case management exercise. Should an applicant receive apassing score they will go on to complete a security clearance check and a medical clearance.Once completed a final review panel will rank applicants among the five cones and place themon the register. Job offers proceed by ranking on the register and if no job offer is given within ayear you are taken off. If a job is offered, the next step is to take the A-100 orientation class inWashington D.C. and once graduated go on to either language study or ones first post abroad. The salary of a new hire depends on a variety of factors, such as education and releventexperience, but the midpoint base salary for an entry level Foreign Service Officer is $50,000.Base pay is also adjusted for locality which can add 24% for service in Washington D.C., andabout 9% abroad. When abroad at what is called a hardship post, pay is also adjusted up to 35%.There are also many allowances such as: a moving allowance, furnished housing or a stipend,education for any children while overseas, danger pay, a home leave which pays your travel fromyour duty post back to the U.S., and paid leave that equates to six weeks for every two yearsabroad. There is also government health and life insurance available at low cost. Retirement cancome as early as fifty with twenty years service and there is also a voluntary thrift savings plan.In addition to these, this career offers the chance to travel the world, meet interesting people,visit exotic locales, and help shape U.S. interests abroad.
2. The Monterey Institute of International Studies is a world renowned institution. Thisinstitution is committed to preparing its students to become innovative professionals capable ofleadership in cross-cultural and multilingual enviornments. Nearly half of the student body areinternational students. The Monterey Institute has a unique “Monterey Way” learning model thatensures students learn through firsthand experiences in more than one language. The MAInternational Policy has two tracks: Trade, Investment & Development or Human Security &Development. This program offers a wide combination of learning formats from the traditionalrigorous courses and seminars to immersive learning and in-country experiences. Admission to the International Policy programs are based on a candidates prior academicrecord, professional experience and applicants must show some level of language proficiency.The level of proficiency depends on the language of study. International Policy students arerequired to complete twelve credits of advanced foreign language study as part of their degreeprogram, and all twelve units must be dedicated to a single language of study. For Arabic,students must be ready to start at the second year college level. Past successful applicants havehad at least one academic year of beginning language instruction. Irregardless of their pastinstruction, all candidates must pass a language placement test. While it is not required, it isstrongly recommended that students complete their economics prerequisite by either showingthey have passed introductory micro and macro economics in the last three years with a B orbetter, or by passing the intensive preparatory course offered at the Monterey Institute. Whilestandardized scores are not required for consideration, applicants may submit them to positivelyinfluence merit scholarship awards as well as to boost undergraduate applicants with less than a3.0 GPA. The Trade, Investment, and Development Track requires 60 credit hours. Four coreclasses are Policy Analysis, Global Politics, Data Analysis for Public Policy and eitherIntroduction to Trade Policy and International Economics or Development Economics andDevelopment Theory and Practice. Twelve credits from an approved seminar list on various tradeand development topics, another fourteen credits from electives, and a six to twelve unitculminating experience which can be fulfilled through research assistantships, internationalinternships, or an interesting program called the International Professional Service Semesterwhere students are immersed in a work experience as a junior professional staff member of aninternational organization. There are also many study abroad programs and opportunitiesavailable both through the Monterey Institute or through affiliated Middlebury schools abroad Student expenses for this program are estimated at $51,571 per year or $25,785 asemester. Tuition is $1,615 per unit and full time students may take between twelve and sixteenunits per semester. There are numerous merit based scholarships available that can range from$4,000-$16,000 per academic year.
3. My third report is for a gap year dive internship in Pattaya, Thailand. The internship isput on by the Mermaids Career Development Center located in Pattaya, Thailand. Mermaids divecenter has been training PADI Instructors to work in the dive industry since 1991. There are lessthan 100 platinum PADI course directors in the world and the Mermaid center is home to twoplatinum PADI course directors. The center is the most active and experience PADI CareerDevelopment Center From Bangkok to Cambodia. Mermaids is the only dive center to offer aplethora of dive and learning opportunities such as: National Geographic Diver certification, fullface mask training, ASSET dry diver programs, and many more. There are a variety of internships available to choose from, but the most extensive is the“Zero to Hero” internship. This seven month internship is designed for someone who has neverSCUBA dived before and takes them through to the rank of PADI Dive Instructor. The onlyrequirement to take this internship is to be eighteen and be in good health. The internshipincludes all PADI and DAN membership fees, PADI required dive courses, PADI coursematerials and fees, unlimited dives, your own set of dive equipment to keep after your internship,and accommodation for up to seven months. The Mermaid center also provides transfer fromBangkok airport, visa assistance during your training, and membership to their exclusive diverjob assistance program to help find your first job after your internship. In addition to the requireddive courses, there are elective dive courses that you may take that are included in your trainingsuch as: Night diver, deep diver, search and recovery, dry suit diver, enriched air, underwater filmand photography, and many others. As soon as the student intern has qualified as a rescue diver, which will be in the firstmonth of the internship they are classified as a divemaster trainee and will be helping in the shopand with dive trips. Once the two week divemaster course is completed the intern will get to leaddives, take tours, give boat and dive briefings, assist instructors and generally get the feel ofworking in a busy dive shop while you continue to study and gain dive experience for theinstructor tests. The remaining months are spent on speciality courses and getting your divecount and experience up. The seven month “Zero to Hero” internship costs 354,800 Thai baht or about $11,200.While this may seem like a lot of money it does cover accommodations for seven months, yourown dive equipment, all the course materials and fees, unlimited dives, food when you are out onthe boat diving, and an amazing international work experience. The program can be madecheaper by not attaining the level of instructor. One could do a three month internship to becomea Master SCUBA Diver which is the highest non-professional level for only 165,000 baht or$5,200.