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  • Does knowing a specific foreign language increase the chances of staying in a particular region?

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    • porkchop23
      porkchop23 commented
      Editing a comment
      If you speak a language at a certain level of fluency and can hit a test score certifying that that they administer, then you are legally obligated to serve in a place that speaks it during your first overseas tour.

    • mdcudt
      mdcudt commented
      Editing a comment
      porkchop23 - what is the statute you are referring to?

    • S/A Cupcake
      S/A Cupcake commented
      Editing a comment
      You are technically legally obligated to serve any where in the world they want to send you. But no...in DS...a language score coming in will not impact where you serve as a first overseas tour. In fact it can actually sometimes ironically make it difficult if there is language training built in and you don’t need to go. I know dozens of agents who where fluent 4/4 + in a language who spent years trying but couldn’t get an assignment in a country that speaks that language.
      Last edited by S/A Cupcake; 05-03-2021, 11:06 PM.

    • porkchop23
      porkchop23 commented
      Editing a comment
      mdcudt I think it says it somewhere in their offer letter that taking a language test and hitting a score on it and receiving points for it compels you to then serve in a place that requires it.

  • The ability to stay in a specific region really depends more on bidding strategies and the nuances of the assignments process than language proficiency. Generally speaking, it is a bit more difficult for DS to regionalize than it is for an FSO, but it can be done.

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    • porkchop23
      porkchop23 commented
      Editing a comment
      Could you comment on why you say it is more difficult for them to regionalize?

    • S/A Cupcake
      S/A Cupcake commented
      Editing a comment
      “Could you comment on why you say it is more difficult for them to regionalize?”

      This gets super deep into the weeds on the generalist vs specialist bidding process. The short answer is unlike the rest of the FS, DS has two assignment panels - 1st is a DS assignment panel that gives you a “handshake” on an assignment which is only formalized when State HR - the 2nd panel - officially assigns you to that position. The bidding process for Generalists generally (that sounds funny I know) is controlled by regional (EUR, NEA, etc) bureaus that cover a specific region. So if a Generalist gets in deep with a particular region - let’s say Europe - they will pick him or her for positions over other bidders. In contrast, the DS panel is a gatekeeper and more or less does what it wants with its bidders. So even if you are an amazing Spanish speaker who has done two tours in Latin America and are loved by WHA - the State Regional Bureau that covers Latin America - because you’re awesome, DS doesn’t necessarily care and might think because you’re so awesome you should spread your awesomeness in the Middle East (NEA) or, even more
      realistically, a Headquarters assignment.
      Last edited by S/A Cupcake; 05-03-2021, 09:19 AM.

  • double post
    Last edited by porkchop23; 05-03-2021, 08:05 AM. Reason: oops

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    • Can any of the current agents speak to how much of your time in an overseas assignment is spent on investigations related to personnel, i.e., your colleagues whether they be local employed staff or direct hires? Does malfeasance and people just making overall poor decisions while overseas happen more often than one thinks? Does this ever make for awkward interpersonal/professional relationships at post?

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      • What score do you need in a language for it to help you in the hiring process? I was studying Mandarin pretty hard a couple years ago and probably got to where I could score a 1+. I’m debating on picking it back up, but if I would need a 3 or 4 to make a difference, I won’t bother.

        Comment


        • Originally posted by Jwebb514 View Post
          What score do you need in a language for it to help you in the hiring process? I was studying Mandarin pretty hard a couple years ago and probably got to where I could score a 1+. I’m debating on picking it back up, but if I would need a 3 or 4 to make a difference, I won’t bother.
          Language points are outlined in 3 FAM 3911.2 and also found here (https://careers.state.gov/faq-items/...-bonus-points/). In short, you'll need to score a 3 on the telephone test to be awarded points, with the exception of eight languages that only require a 2 (Arabic; Chinese (Mandarin); Hindi; Persian (Dari); Persian (Farsi); Pashto; Urdu; and Korean).

          Comment


          • NYC1175
            NYC1175 commented
            Editing a comment
            I'm guessing the telephone test is basically conversational to see if you can converse in that language?

        • Originally posted by NYC1175 View Post
          I'm guessing the telephone test is basically conversational to see if you can converse in that language?
          This will give you a good idea of the specific skill level descriptions for the speaking portion of the test:

          https://govtilr.org/Skills/ILRscale2.htm

          Comment


          • Just got the email. Application moved to QEP review. Looks like a few more months waiting most likely.

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            • NYC1175
              NYC1175 commented
              Editing a comment
              bondman007 I believe it was automated.

            • Anthropologist
              Anthropologist commented
              Editing a comment
              Congrats! This is definitely encouraging news. Perhaps they didn't forget about us after all...

            • NYC1175
              NYC1175 commented
              Editing a comment
              Anthropologist indeed! It just a takes a bit

            • Ceann
              Ceann commented
              Editing a comment
              Congrats, just got mine as well. Applied in December.

          • What year did you apply?

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            • Applied in November/December 2020, was notified I passed the online “assessment” and met the minimum qualifications. Haven’t heard a word since. 1) What is the next step? 2) Is it safe to assume I probably got passed on or BQA’d this go around

              Comment


              • bondman007
                bondman007 commented
                Editing a comment
                Anthropologist notifying applicants the next couple of weeks of getting to QEP, or the results of the QEP?

              • Anthropologist
                Anthropologist commented
                Editing a comment
                bondman007 The email said that they will be notifying applicants if they have moved forward to the QEP. Sorry, I should have been more clear with my response.
                Last edited by Anthropologist; 05-14-2021, 10:28 AM.

              • bondman007
                bondman007 commented
                Editing a comment
                Anthropologist Gotcha, thanks. Haven't gotten a BQA yet, but with people getting notified yesterday was hoping I was still in the running!

              • Anthropologist
                Anthropologist commented
                Editing a comment
                bondman007 Same here. I'm really hoping for a chance with DSS. Maybe we'll both find out in the next couple of weeks.

            • Anyone know the best way to get an exercise stress scheduled without getting a referral from a primary care physician first? I’d like to skip that step if at all possible.

              Comment


              • FlashTACP
                FlashTACP commented
                Editing a comment
                Honestly depends on your insurance. Luckily my city insurance lets me contact specialists such as cardiologists without a referral. But yes, it was a pain in the butt.

            • Hello everyone. I am posting my updated timeline. Hang in there it's worth it.
              (Failed the Oral Board from the 2018 application)

              Application: 15 November 19
              Moved to QEP email: 5 February 20
              Passed QEP email: 17 Sept '20
              Passed BEX/OA (D.C. location): 27 Oct 20

              Medical clearance: 22 December 20
              TS granted: 22 April 21
              Suitability Review Panel: 7 May 21
              PRT: 24 May 21

              You will get about a 2 week notice one you pass the SRP and be able to pick between two dates

              Hoping to get in July's class.

              Comment


              • Anthropologist
                Anthropologist commented
                Editing a comment
                Thanks for posting your timeline. Congratulations! It's always good to hear about someone making it through the process!

              • MohawkVet
                MohawkVet commented
                Editing a comment
                Yes on previous TS clearance from State, but it had expired.
                Thanks for the well wishes.

              • FlashTACP
                FlashTACP commented
                Editing a comment
                Nice! I’m almost there. My clearance was adjudicated in less than 2 months, so I was pretty impressed at the speed. Still have a few more things with medical to clear up.

                What’s the word on the PRT? Are they strict like FBI or DEA and you have to have crazy scores? Or is it more laid back?

              • Shadowtrain
                Shadowtrain commented
                Editing a comment
                FlashTACP - PRT is very straight forward. Have good form and do a solid effort.

            • What is the FLETC training schedule looking like right now? Twice a year? Four times per year?

              Comment


              • Here is my short time frame so far. If you're a 2020 applicant hang in there.


                Application: 06 December 20
                Moved to Min. Qual. Review: 19 January 21
                Moved to QEP email: 13 May 21
                Passed QEP email: TBD
                Passed BEX/OA (D.C. location): TBD

                Medical clearance: TBD
                TS granted: TBD
                Suitability Review Panel: TBD
                PRT: TBD

                Comment


                • Anthropologist
                  Anthropologist commented
                  Editing a comment
                  Awesome! Thanks for posting your timeline!

              • Originally posted by porkchop23 View Post
                mdcudt I think it says it somewhere in their offer letter that taking a language test and hitting a score on it and receiving points for it compels you to then serve in a place that requires it.
                I believe you're only obligated to serve in a post where the language is spoken if you meet the criteria for the eight priority or "recruitment" languages per the Foreign Service Specialist website:



                To qualify for the .17 bump-up points, Specialist candidates, who have recently passed the Oral Assessment, may take a telephone test administered by FSI in any one language listed here. Candidates who demonstrate proficiency in the eight current priority recruitment languages of Arabic; Chinese (Mandarin); Hindi; Persian (Dari); Persian (Farsi); Pashto; Urdu; and Korean may also be eligible for additional bump-up points. Candidates who receive a speaking score of 2 or higher during telephone tests on any of these eight priority languages are eligible to receive .17 bump-up points. All other listed languages require a minimum speaking score of level 3 during the telephone test in order to qualify for the .17 bump-up.

                Those who achieve a minimum score of 3 speaking and 2 reading (S3/R2) will be eligible to receive a total of .38 bump-up points. Candidates who receive a rating of at least 2 speaking and 1 reading (S2/R1) but less than 3 speaking and 2 reading (S3/R2) will be eligible to receive a total of .25 bump-up points.

                To receive bump-up points of .25 and .38, Specialist candidates whose candidacies began after November 2, 2012 must agree in writing to serve one tour of their first two overseas assignments in a Language Designated Position or in a country where the recruitment language is a primary language.

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