Monday, July 11, 2011

ConGen, Baby!

Today was my first day of Basic Consular (a.k.a. ConGen) training at FSI (the Foreign Service Institute), where US diplomats learn their craft.

No, I did not become a FSO (Foreign Service Officer) overnight. My candidacy is still in the works and will probably take another year and a half but as the spouse of an FSO, I am eligible to take classes at FSI, if there is space available. I have been trying to get into ConGen since March.

In order to qualify for ConGen, I had to take a 75 minute pre-test, which was not a problem. Then I was placed on a waiting list. Getting into ConGen as a spouse is especially hard in the summer because that’s transfer season and that’s when most FSO’s need training. FSOs, understandably, get priority for training classes at FSI, so I was waiting and waiting but nothing was happening.

I had been checking in with the powers that be to see if there’s any room at all in any of the ConGen classes. Up until the middle of last week, I was told that, unfortunately, there was no ConGen for me. Boo!

So, I had lost hope and was warming up to the idea of spending the summer at home with the kids and my Mom. Then last Thursday I got a call. Someone had to cancel and all of a sudden there was a seat in one of the classes starting on Monday (today). Would I be willing to take it?

Would I? Would I? Are you kidding? I had been waiting for something like that to happen since March and now that I had my chance, I wasn’t going to miss it. I immediately accepted. So, now the kids are home on vacation and it’s back to school for Mommy (and very soon Daddy).

But that’s OK because I think I may actually like it. I can’t write about any of the material covered in class but so far it seems fascinating, especially for someone who has been on the receiving end of consular services both as an immigrant and a US Citizen. Of course, it’s only been one day. Ask me again in a couple of weeks when I am buried in reading materials and case studies and have to prepare for my exams. Yes, there are four exams too, though in all honesty they are open book but still, I am bracing myself for a lot of work.

So, I’ll be in ConGen till 8/22. After that I get to relax for a couple of weeks. Then, on 9/6, I am tentatively enrolled to start Hindi at FSI, if there’s space available again. If I get in, I’ll be studying Hindi until I am blue in the face 3/31/2012.

Paul is starting his training next week. First, he has a couple of days of security training, then ConGen (in a different section) and then Hindi from 9/6 to 3/31/2012 as well.

So, that’s that. Now I need to go catch some fitful Zs in between baby feedings because I gotta go to class in the morning…


  1. That sounds like the schedule of a very motivated woman!

  2. Congrats on getting in! And how fun that you'll be a few weeks ahead of Paul. He'll be coming to you for homework help. =)

  3. Sounds exciting! Congrats for gettting in!

  4. Congrats! How do you like it so far?

  5. Oooh, congrats. I took it way back when and it was really kind of fun.

  6. I hear getting into congen is quite difficult - you go! Good luck with everything :)


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