Thursday, May 28, 2009

How I Came to the Foreign Service – 2

Motivation is a major factor in joining the Foreign Service. You must possess it to subject yourself to the application and exam, maintain it during months of waiting, and finally express it (both in writing and verbally) during the Oral Assessment.

I scrutinized my motivation from every angle and determined unequivocally that a career in the Foreign Service was what I wanted.

I found my primary motivation was to serve my country—a desire born from my father’s example of military service. I had considered the armed forces in the past but was more interested in other areas of public service.

A secondary motivation was for my family to have broad cultural experience. I’ve always felt that early and often foreign exposure taught me to relate with humility to other cultures, instilled a love of learning, and built a respect for history. I want the same and more for my children.

I also discovered many more-personal motivating factors. Diplomats enjoy generous compensation, daily challenges, variety of work, and opportunities to learn new languages, experience other cultures, and make a real difference in people’s lives.

My final motivation was my belief in the power of diplomacy. I know that diplomacy can’t solve everything—that’s not what I’m espousing. But I know from experience that people separated by vast geographical and cultural gulfs can find common ground in an afternoon of conversation. I know that diplomacy happens every time two people interact.

So I’m committed to a lifestyle of personal diplomacy that, while it may never directly influence world leaders or policy makers, will hopefully impact the hearts and minds of individuals I meet on a daily basis. And who knows, maybe those individuals will go on to preach against terrorism, treat their wives and children better, or change a repressive regime.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

How I Came to the Foreign Service - 1

I am often asked how I found out about a career as a U.S. diplomat and why I decided to pursue it.

I first learned of the Foreign Service about 10 years ago while on a trip to China as part of a cultural exchange program. One of the other participants mentioned looking into working at an embassy, living overseas, learning languages, etc. and the job instantly intrigued me. I must have looked into it at the time, because I remember realizing that I was a bit too young (minimum age is 20).

me (center) in China, circa 1999

I didn’t seriously revisit the idea until about two years ago. My undergraduate work was wrapping up, and I had the urge to continue studying. I found myself steering toward graduate programs in International Affairs. I didn’t know where it would end up (international business, law, teaching abroad, etc.) but knew I wanted to see the world.

I started visiting the Department of State’s website with some regularity, reading through the information and familiarizing myself with the selection process. I found some Foreign Service Officer’s (FSO) blogs and read about their lives. By the end of 2007 I was committed to a course of study (International Affairs at the Bush School of Government – Texas A&M) and eventually a Foreign Service career.

Next post…what motivated me to join the Foreign Service…

Monday, May 25, 2009

Inaugural Post


This is the first post of our brand new Teamroy Adventures blog. We are a young family embarking on a great adventure: a career in the United States Foreign Service.

Training (A-100) begins in Washington D.C. on June 22, so we have about 3 ½ weeks to wrap up our life in Texas before heading across the country. Around the middle of July we will find out where our first overseas assignment will be.

I will write more about joining the Foreign Service (the process in general as well as my personal experience) in future posts.

This blog will serve to keep our friends and family aware of the latest and greatest in our lives, and give readers a taste of what Foreign Service life is like.