Thursday, December 14, 2017 | ePaper

Four steps to becoming a diplomat

  • Print
Elizabeth Koprowski :
Diplomats or foreign service officers (FSOs) work in countries across the globe to assist citizens and further their countries interests and policies abroad. Depending on the career track, diplomats may work in consular services, economic interests, management, politics, or public diplomacy. Foreign service offices employ individuals with all different backgrounds and expertise because they need FSOs who are flexible, creative, and adaptable. Foreign service positions are generally short-term, with assignments ranging from months to several years, but the one constant in diplomatic work is that FSOs must be able to adapt quickly and assess the priorities of a situation or project. While the job may not be as glamorous as it's made out to be in movies and TV, FSOs have the opportunities to live abroad in a variety of countries and situations and get hands-on experience with new cultures, people, and societies. Foreign service isn't for everyone, but for hard-working, motivated individuals with a desire to live and travel abroad, diplomatic employment is an exciting option. If you think that a career as a foreign service officer is right for you, here's how to prepare for a job in foreign service.
1. It depends on your homeland
The track to diplomatic careers differs depending on where you call home, but in most countries, foreign service officers, or their equivalent, are subject to similar requirements. Many countries require FSOs to be citizens of the country they will be representing. In the US, FSOs must be between the ages of 20 and 59 to qualify for service. But in general, countries are looking for FSOs with diverse skills, qualifications, and personal aptitude because each position is unique and presents its own challenges.
2. Some degrees give you an upper hand
In the US, diplomats hold a variety of education levels ranging from high school diplomas to PhDs, and in the US, the UK, and other countries the first step to qualifying for a diplomatic career is passing a general aptitude test. These exams normally assess a candidate's overall knowledge, so it's important that prospective FSOs brush up on things like mathematics, reading comprehension, and logic. But a solid foundation from a degree in history, politics, law, or human rights will be a plus. Most foreign service offices also recommend that applicants be well-read and informed on current events, government, and international politics - essentially, if you're serious about a diplomatic career, you should be reading a lot of newspapers.
3. Brush up your language skills
In the US, foreign language proficiency is not required for a diplomatic position because all successful applicants receive language training before their first post. However, fluency in a second or third language, as well as international experiences, will help your application stand out. Languages like Chinese, Arabic, Farsi, and Urdu are in high demand, but it's more important to have strong written and spoken communication skills in your own language.
4. Prepare for challenges...and competition
Foreign service is a challenging career. FSOs are always moving, which means that staying in touch with loved ones can be tricky, and for officers with families, the position can be taxing. But that doesn't mean that foreign service is an unpopular career, and most foreign service offices have a large pool of new FSOs waiting for deployment as well as an established rank of officers, all of whom are competing for the choice assignments around the world. Placements are often given out based on rank, and new recruits should expect their first assignments to be in areas or regions that are more challenging than others. Successful FSOs learn to make the best out of tricky situations, know when to ask for favors, and work hard to succeed.

(Elizabeth Koprowski is an American writer and travel historian. She has worked in the higher education system with international students both in Europe and in the USA).

More News For this Category

The role of teachers and school heads in improving vocational education and training

The role of teachers and school heads in improving vocational education and training

ETUCE :The European Trade Union Committee for Education (ETUCE) is pleased to announce the forthcoming public hearing on "The role of teachers and school heads in improving the status

Prepare for multiple careers

Prepare for multiple careers

Alyssa Walker :Welcome to the new normal.It's no secret that millennials are job hoppers. Over 42 percent of millennials change jobs every one- to three-years.What does this mean? Employee

Participatory teaching-learning in Bangladesh

Participatory teaching-learning in Bangladesh

Touhid Ebrahim :Bangladesh is determined to be a middle-income country by 2021. To achieve this status, quality education has been identified as one of the issues and lack of

HRIS: An emerging issue of learning and implementing

HRIS: An emerging issue of learning and implementing

The journey of Human Resource Information System (HRIS) can be traced back in 1950's and 1960's when the first automated payroll system was introduced (Martinsons, 1997). Back then, with

DIU refutes pvt univ rankings, claims top position

DIU refutes pvt univ rankings, claims top position

Campus Report :The authority of the Daffodil International University (DIU) refuted the recently announced 'Private University Rankings 2017' published by Bangla Tribune and Dhaka Tribune. Though DIU praised it as

Book reading competition at GUB

Book reading competition at GUB

Campus Report :The Language Center of Green University Bangladesh (GUB) organized a Prize Giving Ceremony of British Council Book Reading Competition on Thursday at Green Garden of the University. Kirsty

ACM-ICPC Asia Dhaka regional contest concludes

ACM-ICPC Asia Dhaka regional contest concludes

A twoday "ACM-International Collegiate Programming Contest (ACM-ICPC)-2017" was concluded at the city campus of University of Asia Pacific (UAP) recently.UAP Computer Science and Engineering (CSE) Department organised the final round

BSMRMU holds Freight Forwarding Certificate Course

Campus Report :The Certificate Awarding Ceremony of a certificate course on "Freight Forwarding" was held recently at the University Auditorium, Pallabi, Dhaka, organized by the Faculty of Maritime Governance and

Orientation on admission test of BRU held

Orientation on admission test of BRU held

Jannatun Lucky, BRU :An orientation on '1st year admission test of 2017-18 session' was held at Begum Rokeya University (BRU), Rangpur early on Wednesday where the examiner's instructions were discussed

RUET launches computer networking course

BSS, Rajshahi :The Rajshahi University of Engineering and Technology (RUET) has recently launched an advance level training course on computer networking in order to make its teachers, officers and employees