…where you’re going yet?
That’s the first question from most people when I tell them I’ve joined the Foreign Service.
The answer is no.
Your (or now my) Foreign Service career starts with a seven week class called A-100 (the room number where they taught it when they first started the class decades ago). Some time in the first few days, we get a list of available posts for members of our class. We’re given a few days (and resources) to rank which ones we’d like to be posted to and turn them in.
About six weeks later comes “Flag Day”. Friends and relatives are invited, and all of us soon-to-be-A-100-graduates are called, one at a time, to the front of the room and given the flag of the country in which we will first serve. According to those who’ve been through this, most people get one of their top half dozen choices or so, but it’s really up to State.
Where would I like to go?
Absent any list, right now I kinda have two criteria. I’d like a small to medium post, where I think I’d be able to do a greater variety of things. And I think, long term, I’d like to specialize in the former Soviet Union and Eastern Europe. It’s an area that interests me, and I think a critical area of the world in the coming years.