United States Foreign Service Diplomat, Kali Jones, visited MSMS on Thursday, September 30th to talk with students about the opportunities and careers available in the foreign service. The event was organized by MSMS language instructor, Lori Pierce.
The foreign service aims to educate America on foreign policy and to recruit students to join the foreign service. Foreign service officers live and work abroad. When officers are hired, they can request where they are stationed, and that is taken into consideration, but is not an ultimate decider of where they are stationed. An officer will be restationed every two to three years. In order to work with different countries, officers have six months to a year and a half to learn the language of the country to which they are assigned. Jones says that learning a language does not necessarily have to be one of your strong suits to be an officer. She also mentioned that Foreign Service officers do not have to major in a language or political science in college.
“Find something that interests you, do well at it, all the while learning how to solve problems and build relationships,” she said.
The foreign service wants and looks for officers who can easily adapt to different cultures and communicate with a variety of people. Jones suggests studying abroad in college to gain experience with interacting with people from other countries. To get a job in the foreign service, applicants have to take an entrance exam, a written exam, complete a personal narrative, and an undergo an oral assessment. These exams are offered four times a year and can be taken more than once.