Posted by Sandra Longcrier on Nov 07, 2017

This week we heard from Kristin M. Stewart, a Foreign Service Officer and recruiter currently based in Norman with her family.
She talked about careers in diplomacy and her recruiting efforts of all university majors, as well as more experienced professionals up to age 55.    
The average age for a new foreign affairs officer is in their 30s, and testing is required of all candidates.  Foreign language proficiency is helpful, but not required. The State Department offers language training. She listed four ways to work in state diplomacy: 1) Foreign Service, 2) Civil Service, 3) Consular Fellows Program, and 4) Intern (summer, fall and spring)
Kristin said in addition to US citizens working in US embassies and consulates, it’s important to recognize the tens of thousands of citizens of other countries who support US embassies. She said there are 265 consulates, embassies and missions around the globe. The U.S. has its greatest presence in Mexico with nine consulates. Mexico has 48 consulates in the U.S.
The traditional career for a new hire is two-four years of consular work outside of the country. This often includes helping Americans traveling abroad with passport losses, etc. Some of Kristin’s previous longer-term assignments were “accompanied” which means they included her family. She describes this as “a great opportunity to internationalize your kids.” Others have been “unaccompanied” to areas of the world that were considered less secure. 
Kristin encouraged everyone who visits Washington D.C. to visit the U.S. Diplomacy Center. More information about foreign service opportunities is at