In D.C., starting orientation

I made it to D.C. this past Sunday and jumped in with orientation yesterday. I am part of the 116th Specialist Class, training concurrently with the 156th A-100 class. I haven’t had a chance to network as much as I’d like with my classmates, but they’re an interesting bunch. I’ve met a couple of former lawyers who left their jobs to join the Foreign Service (and took big pay cuts in the process), a number of people with advanced degrees, several EFMs looking to become tandem couples, quite a few transferring from other government agencies, a handful of former military personnel, even a couple of former ESL teachers like myself!

I’ve only been in orientation two days, but with everything we’re covering it feels more like two weeks! Yesterday was something called “in-processing” – basically lots of paperwork and powerpoints on government benefits. Personally I found some of the presentations kind of interesting, but then again I’m kind of a geek I suppose. However it did give me a chance to visit Main State (a.k.a. the Harry S. Truman Building), which made the whole day a bit more interesting.

Today I started orientation at FSI, where I will be for the next three weeks. The orientation class is basically a slightly shorter, more condensed version of the well-known A-100 class taken by incoming FSOs. The class is kind of information overload, an attempt to fit everything you could possibly need to know into a few short weeks. We’re also covering bid lists – I won’t comment on details yet, except to say that as I predicted, it looks like my first tour will probably be in the D.C. area. Glad I started early on the search for permanent housing.

I also need to purchase a car, furniture, household goods – pretty much everything in the next couple of weeks. I came over with two suitcases and am probably the only person in my class who didn’t use the UAB or HHE allotment on my travel orders because I just don’t own enough stuff to ship here! I am also without a doubt the only person in my class who doesn’t already own a car (although being carless in D.C. isn’t as bad as I was expecting – thank god for the Metro). Looks like the next couple of weekends are going to be all about shopping…

~ by theuncommonlife on September 14, 2010.

3 Responses to “In D.C., starting orientation”

  1. It’s Friday, and that means that the Weekly State Department Blog Roundup is up – 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 please also contact me. Thanks! 

  2. You may want to wait on purchasing a car until you find out where you’re going, unless you’re planning on buying a 2010. I bought a 2006 five weeks before I left post, only to find that Post’s rules changed midstream and got screwed in the process.

    Enjoy orientation and good luck with bidding!

  3. Actually the hiring is a bit different for my specialty – I haven’t gone through flag day yet, but everything I was offered for bidding is in D.C. so it’s pretty much a done deal that I’ll be in the D.C. area for the next two years.

    Thanks for the advice though – the import restrictions on autos are confusing to say the least! I’m thinking about buying new if I do need a car, so hopefully I’ll be less likely to run into issues if I want to take the car to post in mid-2012.

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