Friday, September 16, 2011

T-Minus 14 Days and Counting...

I've mentioned before that I've decided on what I'd like to do, long term, even if it takes years to successfully start the career. I've been studying for the Foreign Service Officer Examination to start the career path toward becoming a diplomat for the U.S. State Department. I've gotten my testing date, which is two weeks from tomorrow for my first attempt at passing the written examination. The reading list is extensive, varied in content and so long that there is little hope of me finishing even half of it before the test. I'm supplementing my cultural education by researching as many topics as I can on my own online, and trying to catch the basics. This has divided my attention a little bit, so I've struggled to get full-sized articles out five days per week for the last few weeks.

My course of study has already taught me a lot about the interaction between my country and various parts of the world as well as historic perspective on events I'd thought I understood. It makes me realize that I have a long way to go, but I'm confident that I can pass this test, if not on the first go, then within a retake or two. Here's some of what I'm currently reading: (Partial List)
  • Racial and Ethnic Relations. 7th ed.

  • Nation of Nations: A Narrative History of the American Republic, 5th ed.
  • The New Dictionary of Cultural Literacy. 3rd ed.
  • A People and a Nation: A History of the United States, 7th ed.
  • The Politics of United States Foreign Policy. 3rd ed.
  • The Heritage of World Civilizations, 7th ed.
  • Guns, Germs and Steel.
  • Modern South Asia: History, Culture and Political Economy

  • Steve Coll, Ghost Wars: The Secret History of the CIA, Afghanistan, and bin Laden, From the Soviet Invasion to September 10, 2001.
  • A Peace to End All Peace.
  • Understanding Contemporary Africa,
  • The Two Koreas.
  • Americans in Waiting, The Lost Story of Immigration and Citizenship in the United States
  • Economics and Public Policy
  • Management and Human Behavior
  • The Power of Thinking Without Thinking.

  • Fundamentals of Management: Core Concepts and Applications, 4th ed.

  • Organizational Behavior: Managing People and Organizations, 8th ed.
  • Managing Across Cultures, 2nd ed.

In addition to these books, I'm working on current events by keeping up with Time and Newsweek, trying to get a solid refresher in World Geography and browsing the Foreign Affairs and Foreign Policy journals. Luckily, I'm fairly solid on elements of formal writing (more formal that what I write in these articles,) so I don't need a crash refresher on the Elements of Style to add to the list. I expect to be confronted with a Biographic Questionairre, a test on English Expression, and a Job Knowledge Test, plus the dreaded essay test.

If I pass these tests, I'll be called back for a session for oral testing which will involve some sort of scenario-based testing both individual and in a group, and a traditional panel-style interview which will determine whether or not I am offered a position in the Foreign Service. As the test looms, I will endeavor to continue to post every week day, but shorter articles may well pop up from time to time, or even late postings, so I'll occasionally do one of these as an update on my progress in this area. I intend to do this, eventually, and as soon as they'll have me.
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Bard said...

Sounds like an amazing career path. I wish you all the best of luck with the exam.

Alpha said...

Your reading ability is astounding.

neatfit said...

Good luck on passing the tests, you should never post-pone studying if you feel like you'll need a little more than usual.

Jay said...

cool, break a leg man. :)

DWei said...

As difficult as these are at least you have some idea of what you want to do.

Best of luck, I'm still clueless about my future.

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