Did any other MeFites take the State Department's Foreign Service Exam today? April 23, 2005 7:58 PM   Subscribe

Did any other MeFites take the State Department's Foreign Service Exam today? What career track did you choose? Did you find the test to be easy or hard? Did you realize that if it wasn't for metafilter, you'd be hopelessly ignorant? Discuss!
posted by BuddhaInABucket to MetaFilter-Related at 7:58 PM (9 comments total)

i'm going to be the next ambassador to texas.
posted by quonsar at 8:50 PM on April 23, 2005

Just wanted to say that the first time I heard about this exam about a year ago I was simply fascinated. If there isn't a FPP in the blue about it, there should be.
posted by fatllama at 11:08 PM on April 23, 2005

#1 hit for "foreign service exam" is the Canadian Foreign Service recruitment section.
Which is something I would like to take someday.

Details on the U.S. version would be interesting to read.
posted by blacklite at 2:05 AM on April 24, 2005

Took it in Boston. Management track. Three friends who took it were all on the Public Diplomacy Track. It's funny--the "test" material wasn't too difficult. But everyone I talked to at the exam felt the biographical section was the hardest. The questions were just pure drivel, and you had to give examples for many of the answers. I'll put together an FPP on the exam today or tomorrow...
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 9:28 AM on April 24, 2005

Having grown up an embassy brat, I never had the slightest interest in going into the Foreign Service. Check your heart, soul, and politics at the door, and you know that foreign language you're so proud of knowing? They won't send you anywhere you can use it. And once you start getting a handle on the country you've spent a couple of years in, they'll send you halfway around the world to somewhere you haven't a clue about. But if your life's ambition is to work your way up the GS ladder in a reasonably undemanding way, go for it.
posted by languagehat at 11:36 AM on April 24, 2005

But if your life's ambition is to work your way up the GS ladder in a reasonably undemanding way, go for it.

That is my life's ambition, and I never have to leave home. The General Schedule is on its was out, to be replaced by the National Security Personnel System for some of us Gov't types.
posted by fixedgear at 1:33 PM on April 24, 2005

I interned for DOS in Russia a couple summers, and I'll second what languagehat says. Fun experience, but as a first career not so much. I'd definitely consider taking it up as a second career / retirement option though.

From my experience at the consulate, the higherarchy of respect goes like this:

Econ / Public Diplomacy
GSO / Admin

for no exceptional reason, but if it's a concern for you, go with Political, Econ, or PD above others. You can always go through "conal rectification" later of course, but I've never liked the sound of that phrase.

PD seems interesting because you interact with the community a lot more, econ is reasearch-intense, and pol is research and contact with politicos (though there was overlap between pol and econ at the consulate. More strict higherarchy you'll find at large embassies).

I had a great experience at the consulate (okay, it was St. Petersburg) and I'd encourage you to go to smaller locations where you won't be pigeonholed and will be able to take on a range of assignments. Big plus for if those locations are important, too, since you'll have interesting visitors and events.

I worked in Pol/econ and found it somewhat boring, Consular was depressing because a lot of my job was denying visas, but GSO was great because I had a lot of responsibility and, well, my job was to get things done, which I like much more than research that is sent into the gaping cable maw, never to be thought of again.

Anyway, that's what I've got on career tracks from my two-summer viewpoint. I wonder if you did the oral portion as well as the written yet? Oral is tougher, and they value interpersonal skills a ton from what I understand (I heard stories that they sit you in a group and ask you to accomplish a task or something like that...). Good luck!
posted by lorrer at 11:06 AM on April 25, 2005

Great info, lorrer, thanks!

Oral isn't until this fall. We won't have the results of the written until late July.
posted by NotMyselfRightNow at 11:48 AM on April 25, 2005

This is ripe for a callout in the green.
posted by grateful at 5:38 PM on April 25, 2005

« Older AskMe indexing?   |   Readability of MeFi as compared to other popular... Newer »

You are not logged in, either login or create an account to post comments