Wednesday, March 1, 2017

What's A-100?

I am about to start A-100. What is that? It's basically an orientation class for my cohort of Foreign Service Officers. We refer to ourselves as the 190th class, meaning we are in A-100 #190. A-100 is specifically for Foreign Service Generalists (one of the 5 career tracks I discuss here), so it doesn't include Specialists or other Foreign Service personnel even if they're starting around the same time.

During A-100, we get to know our classmates, undergo training that's relevant for all regardless of career track, test in languages (if applicable), and hear from a lot of higher-ups in the Department of State (someone described it to me as "everyone wanting to see the cute, new puppy" where the puppy is us). I'm already scheduled to test for Arabic, even though I haven't started yet. Fingers crossed!

We'll also get our first bid list during A-100. The bid list has a list of possible jobs we could fill - and every one of us will be assigned one of them at our Flag Day! Everyone gets to sit down with their families and rank posts high, medium, or low (not numerically). Our preferences are taken into account, but ultimately we've all agreed to be worldwide available and to go wherever the Department sends us. Bidding is one of the most exciting (and probably stressful) parts of being in the Foreign Service, but (as with most things) an open mind always helps. We're very excited!

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