training, training and more training

As Andy mentioned in his last post, we’re scheduled to stick around Arlington until March of 2011. There are a few others in my A-100 class who will be in training that long, but they’re all studying super hard languages like Arabic or Mandarin.

I’m just learning French.

French seems super hard to me, but I’m still only being given six months to learn it, like everyone else. So why are we spending 10 more months here?

Along with my flag, I received my training schedule.
  • May and June: I’ll attend a month-long public diplomacy course focused on press relations, which will be a large part of my job. A few other short courses on topics like security overseas and effective management are also sprinkled in, as are some “gap days,” which I’m responsible for filling with activities of my choosing. Research about Benin, meetings with members of the Africa Bureau and administrative tasks like getting my diplomatic passport and buying a car are all possibilities.
  • July to December: French. Also, once a week I’ll take a three-hour area studies course.
  • January and February: After I’ve passed my French exam (fingers crossed!) I’ll move on to consular training. Since there’s only one consular officer in Cotonou, I may be called upon to do some back-up consular work.
  • March: In addition to interacting with the press, my job as the Public Diplomacy Officer will involve managing cultural and educational programs, so I’ll need training for this too. No FSO currently in Cotonou has had this training, so it’s especially important that I get it.

This schedule is subject to change, and honestly, we’re kind of hoping it does. We’d love to get to post earlier than March. But then again, unless my job description changes, all of this training really is necessary. So, we’ll see…

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5 Responses to training, training and more training

  1. Bridget says:

    Glad to hear more about your training! Sounds so interesting. I hear in small posts you really get to have your hands in everything- how exciting for you. I hope Andy can join you in French training.

  2. Looks like we might be in the same PD class for Cultural Affairs stuff. Haha. Gotta love not getting to leave for post until 14 months later!

  3. It’s Friday, and it’s the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup’s Three Month Blogiversary – and you’re on it!

    Here is the link:

    (If I quoted your text or used your photo(s) and you would rather I had not, please let me know. Please also be sure to check the link(s) that I put up to you, in order to verify that they work properly. If you would rather that I had not referenced you, and/or do not want me to reference you in the future, please also contact me.)


  4. Michelle says:

    Congrats on getting Benin – and learning French! Maybe I am biased though; I am here in Paris, waiting for the results of my PNQ – PD cone. (Oh yeah, and studying as well…)

    As a hopeful FSO, thanks for all your posts and sharing what things are like for you – it’s inspiring and exciting for us to read.

    (Though my daughter is now crushed to hear New Zealand has a 6 month quarantine…she has been making up a mock bid-list for me and has now crossed that off.)

    Merci encore,


  5. Alex says:

    Michelle — Good luck to you! Also, let your daughter know that we were surprised by how few pet restrictions we came across. The main places that we found that were problematic were islands formerly part of the British Empire.

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