I have worked in the foreign service and I have taught about foreign policy and international relations/conflict management……recently a young man asked me if I could help him prepare to take the Foreign Service Exam (FSOT)….I agreed to do so.
First thing I needed to do is let the young man know that the exam has many parts…written, oral, medical, security clearance and if at first he does not succeed he may take the test again.
To be employed in foreign service you will have to understand….geography, economics, political science…..the candidate will go before the QEP, Qualifications Evaluations Panel…..such skills will be needed such as…..communication skills, management skills, intellectual skills, an understanding of US history/government/culture.
I try to emphasize that the tests are not for the faint at heart….to pass these tests it will take hard work/hard study……but if and when one makes it through the process then the whole world opens up to them.
The study of international relations is a subject that has many aspects……I studied the political history of the Middle East but I could have studied many other subjects….a short intro to international relations…..
The jobs that you can expect to be offered….(below)…..
A career in international relations can be very rewarding and fascinating work…..foreign service is just one of the careers that are open to grads in international relations.
My advice was to get an advanced degree and then decide which field is to one’s liking……then decide if foreign service is to their liking….it is not for everyone.
I told the young man to let me know if I can be of any help in their pursuit of the degree and to keep his head up and an eye to the news.