gap days galore

I finished public diplomacy training. I haven’t started French. So what am I doing now?

Well, aside from a one-day class here and there, I have what are called gap days.

If you have more than two weeks of free time between classes you’re given a bridge assignment, or a temporary job at Main State. I don’t have a stretch of two weeks in a row, so I’m free to spend the down time as I wish. Actually, not totally as I wish; gap days aren’t vacation days, after all. But I can fill them with work-related activities of my choosing.

Pretty cool, right? It is, except after the first or second gap day it gets sort of exhausting brainstorming and coordinating what to do.

Questioningly work-related: kayaking, also known as practicing getting to work during Cotonou's rainy season. (Okay, okay. I'll save it for the weekends.)

Some things I’ve done with my gap days so far:

  • Rosetta Stone (official verdict: worthless)
  • Online FSI classes (about topics like managing Fulbright programs and monitoring the media)
  • Meetings (ahem, “consultations“) with various people at Main State who I’ll be working with once I’m in Benin

I have a full week of gap days ahead of me, and I’m not sure yet how I’ll spend all the time. In addition to more Rosetta Stone (ugh) and a few more online classes, here are some possibilities:

  • Getting my diplomatic passport
  • Africa-related documentaries at Silverdocs
  • Lectures at think tanks and museums
  • Reading official info about Benin
  • Reading official info about parts of the world that may interest Beninois, like Afghanistan and Sudan

Does that sound like 40 hours worth of work to you? Me neither.

Send any more gap day activity ideas my way!

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2 Responses to gap days galore

  1. rich kolker says:

    Bring the kayak!

    It never hurts to get your dip passport. That’s one thing out of the way, but it won’t take too long. Stop by HST and get a few sets of visa photos, you can never have too many. Create a Google News trigger on terms like “Cotonou” and “Benin” and read what pops up each day. Get familiar with HTML and if you can, the State Department’s content management system for web sites. Start making your consumables list.

    Relax a bit, French will start soon enough!

  2. Nathan says:

    I actually like Rosetta Stone. But it works best in combination with living with a fluent French speaker so you can make other sentences and ask grammatical questions.

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