This course is designed to inform participants of the structure and characteristics of U.S. missions and overseas communities and discuss what it is like to be part of the diplomatic community overseas. Participants will leave with a better understanding of the advantages and challenges of the Foreign Service lifestyle.

Participant Feedback:

"As the title of the course implies, it was very helpful to learn about the REALITIES of Foreign Service life. The practical knowledge and the stories from the panel were extremely beneficial and made the class more interesting."

"The information about the embassy structure was very helpful--I'd heard a lot of the names and groups, but it was useful to see how they all fit together. The most helpful was just getting a better picture of how the whole process works, mostly from having those with Foreign Service experience talk about what it's really like. As we talked about, the not knowing what we don't know is one of the most unnerving parts of this right now, and hearing from those who have gone through this was very helpful."

"Powerful to have group members draw the conclusion that the very things that seem like challenges could transform into opportunities. Much better that group made these discoveries than being "told". Teaching is not telling- it's asking- and this class design draws on solid activities that promote learner discovery."

"The panel was amazingly insightful, interesting, relevant, and motivating. It was also reassuring to hear them share their experiences and what they do to maintain some level of normalcy/consistency within themselves and their family throughout all their moves. I also appreciating hearing that it's normal/expected/completely okay to have culture shock and transition anxieties."

"I really liked it when the group was divided into different sections (i.e. for those without children, with young children, etc. and those headed on their first tour, second tour, etc.). Every participant had something different and relevant to share that they'd discovered or a question that I hadn't thought of that realized I needed the answer to. This time shared knowledge was super helpful and relevant."

"As with all of the courses I leave feeling re-energized and upbeat about the challenges that I know I'll be facing in the very near future."

Course Dates and Times
18 August 2015 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
23 February 2016 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
28 April 2016 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
14 June 2016 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM
23 August 2016 9:00 AM – 4:00 PM

This is a tuition-based course.
Tuition for non-State participants: $195

Virtual Resource Table

State Department Resources

Transition Center Resources

  • Protocol and U.S. Representation – FSI/TC course and resources to gain practical knowledge of international protocol and U.S. representational responsibilities pertinent to Foreign Service life.
  • Resilience Strategies for Success Overseas – FSI/TC workshop and resources that provide a practical approach and explore the need for resiliency, the meanings and definitions of the term, and develops strategies to increase resilience to thrive in an internationally mobile lifestyle.
  • Communicating Across Cultures – FSI/TC course and resources on variations in cultural values and communication styles found in overseas work and life. Also includes resources on building strong personal/interpersonal skills and adaptability in the work place.

Overseas Briefing Center Resources

  • Foreign Service Assignment Notebook – U.S. Department of State 222-page resource guide that offers invaluable information and guidance on all aspects of preparing for an international move and Foreign Service life including but not limited to: Income Taxes, Allowances and Benefits, and Finances.
  • Post Info to Go [INTRANET LINK] – Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) resources and information on various posts and on numerous other resources on Foreign Service life.

Family Liaison Office Resources

Living and Working Overseas

Foreign Affairs Organizations

  • AAFSW – Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide
  • ADST – Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training
  • American Foreign Service Association – The American Foreign Service Association (AFSA) is the professional association and labor union of the United States Foreign Service.
  • GLIFAA – Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies
  • FSYF – Foreign Service Youth Foundation

Additional Resources

  • Foreign Service Blogs – An extensive list of blogs compiled by the American Foreign Service Association, written by Foreign Service Officers and other members of the Foreign Affairs community about their experiences and advice for new Foreign Service Officers.
  • Realities of Foreign Service Life [Patricia Linderman, iUniverse, 2002]
  • Career Diplomacy: Life and Work in the US Foreign Service [Harry W. Kopp, Georgetown University Press, 2011]
  • Inside a U.S. Embassy: Diplomacy at Work, The Essential Guide to the Foreign Service [Shawn Dorman, Potomac Books Inc., 2011]
  • America's Other Army: The U.S. Foreign Service and 21st Century Diplomacy [Nicholas Kralev, CreateSpace Independent Publishing Platform, 2012]
  • Managing Overseas Operations: Kiss Your Latte Goodbye [Ambassadors Engle & Nagy Jr., Vargas Publishing, 2012]
  • Diplomacy [Henry Kissinger, Simon & Schuster, 1995]
  • The Love Letter Every International Couple Needs to Read By Sundae Schneider- Bean.

The information provided is FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the Department of State. Links to websites outside the U.S. federal government or the use of trade, firm, or corporation names are for the convenience of the user and do not constitute an official endorsement or approval of any private sector website, product, service, or privacy policy.