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Family Life in the Foreign Service

  • An Overview of the Environment of U.S. Foreign Service Children
    To Assist in the Determination of Custody of Children in Foreign Service Divorces The children of Foreign Service employees are as diverse as any other group of children. However, most of them share a global outlook that their compatriots raised in the States may lack. They are accustomed to living in other cultures, to hearing [...]
  • Mental Health Resources for Foreign Service Families
    Living and working overseas can both be stressful and present unique challenges and opportunities that are not experienced by Americans residing in the United States. I would like to describe some of the sources of help available and encourage folks to make use of these resources if needed. The State Department Office of Medical Services [...]
  • Family Member Access to Online Resources at State
    See also this commentary: It’s Reasonable To Expect EFM Access. If you are a Foreign Service family member, then you probably know the answer to this question: what is the single most important activity we engage in to support our partners’ careers? No, it’s not packing, unpacking, or even entertaining kids on transcontinental flights. It’s research. [...]
  • Enjoying Your Elderly Visitors Overseas
    Family visits—often extended ones— are a common occurrence in the Foreign Service. Home leave is one thing, but to have your loved ones visit you at post, in your own home, and to be able to show them the local sights is a special experience for both visitors and hosts. However, it can also be [...]
  • “Best Practices” for Foreign Service Bloggers
    There are three types of people in the Foreign Service: those who blog, those who don’t blog, and those who are wondering what all the fuss is about. The medium itself is relatively new. When I started my blog back in 2007, there were only a handful of Foreign Service bloggers out there. We blogged [...]
  • Privacy 101 for Bloggers
    As controversial as they may be in some State Department circles, Foreign Service blogs are here to stay. Donna Gorman has offered some excellent general advice for bloggers in her article. Building on that, here are a few tips for fine-tuning your blog. Privacy can be, and should be, a concern for all FS bloggers, [...]
  • Staying Connected by Building a Family Tree
    So, you are at a Foreign Service post, under-employed, missing your family, and feeling somewhat rootless. Have you ever wondered about your family history? If you have good internet access, now might be a good time to find out more about your ancestors, build a family tree, and enjoy some virtual “quality time” with your [...]
  • Living Worlds Apart Doesn't Mean Growing Apart
    Helping your relationships thrive with family and friends back home By Gretel Backman Patch Electronic improvements in the last few years have made it easier to keep in touch with loved ones while living abroad in the Foreign Service. What used to take weeks if not months by “snail” mail, now takes seconds thanks to [...]
  • Foreign Service Family Challenges
    By Patricia Linderman (archived from “Personal and Confidential,” an advice column that ran on this website for two years.) Dear Personal and Confidential: I’ll be joining the Foreign Service on January 12th. My wife and I are both third-culture kids (TCKs), although she spent most of her childhood in just one country, whereas I grew [...]
  • Life with a Traveling Spouse
    By Kate Goggin Many people believe business travel is glamorous. To visit exotic locales and be wined and dined on the company dime sounds like a dream come true. But ask a married traveler with a family and you’ll find that the reality can be quite a nightmare. The National Association of Business Travelers (NABT), [...]
  • Can Single Female Find Love in the Foreign Service?
    By Patricia Linderman (archived from “Personal and Confidential,” an advice column that ran on this website for two years.) Dear Personal and Confidential, I’m about to start the A-100 training class and will then be posted to who-knows-where. While I am eager to take on this rare and adventurous opportunity, I do have some concerns… [...]
  • Prospective FSO Seeks Spouse
    By Patricia Linderman (archived from “Personal and Confidential,” an advice column that ran on this website for two years.) Dear Personal and Confidential: Upon receipt of my Master’s, I plan to enter the Foreign Service. I am 22, single, and excited about the opportunity to serve abroad. My question comes from a struggle I face [...]
  • Sexual Status and Marriage Maintenance Overseas
    By Patricia Linderman (archived from “Personal and Confidential,” an advice column that ran on this website for two years.) Dear Personal and Confidential, So how do you cope with a husband caught up in the local culture? Of hitting the girlie bars because it feeds his ego to have all of these beautiful women hanging [...]
  • Keeping In Touch With Family Over the Miles
    By Patricia Linderman (archived from “Personal and Confidential” an advice column that ran on this site for two years.) Dear Personal and Confidential: How do you keep extended family ties alive while abroad? I’ve recently developed a wonderful relationship with two of my nephews (4 and 11). I’m worried that if I join the Foreign [...]
  • Domestics for Dummies
    Just arrived at your first Third World post? Have you had this conversation yet? Kindly old-timer: Do you have a maid yet? You: Well, no. Kindly Old Timer: Oh you really must get yourself one. Everyone has them here–we wouldn’t know how to get by without them! In fact I know a woman who is [...]

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