[Andrew, Foreign Service Officer]
[Public Diplomacy Career Track]
ANDREW: My name is Andrew and I am a Foreign Service Officer on the Public Diplomacy career track. And I’m working right now
in the Operations Center, the communication center
for the State Department. Before this job, I went to
Japan to teach English for a while. I was there for three years. Really
got the bug for living abroad. Really enjoyed that. Wanted to find
a way to stay in the international arena. Find a job that gave me a chance to travel.
Didn’t actually do that immediately. I was actually one of the Americans at
the Japanese Consulate in San Francisco doing a similar kind of thing, helping
them run one of their exchange programs to send people to go teach abroad
in Japan like I had done. Some friends were taking
the Foreign Service exam. They suggested, “Hey,
why don’t you come along?” I had thought about it a long
time before back in college and never really given
it that much thought. But then when the opportunity came
up and my friends mentioned it, it suddenly started get-
finding myself getting more and more interested
all over again. My wife also just gave
me that extra push. And she had been working as
a teacher in San Francisco, but the timing just felt right and she said, “Why don’t you go for it?” Wound up taking the
test and here I am now. For any Foreign Service couple,
family, I think you’ll find out you really can’t do this job alone. I certainly couldn’t do
this job without my wife. She- her support is absolutely
essential and in a lot of ways her job is harder than mine. When we go overseas,
I have a job. I can go to the embassy, do
my job throughout the day, whether it’s processing visas,
or scheduling press conferences. But for spouses who are
in the Foreign Service, their partner is in the Foreign
Service, they’re still at home. They have to find a way to figure
out how to find a place for themselves in the new culture, what to
do at home throughout the day. There is definitely support from
the State Department. My first tour in the Foreign
Service was as a Press Officer at our Embassy in Tokyo. So as a Press Officer, often I would
help with different press interviews for VIPs or if our ambassador
went somewhere in the country, we might arrange press interviews,
press gaggles, things like that, all of the different press
opportunities for them abroad. So, I got to follow the Ambassador, meet the parents of this abducted girl, and then actually arrange
for them to be able to walk that same path, coordinate the press all
the way as they talked, as they saw the house
they used to live in, the school she used to go to. But most importantly, I was struck
by meeting the parents themselves. In this job, more than just
the places that I’ve been to, the people that I’ve met
have been absolutely incredible.