Foreign Service Books


Realities of Foreign Service Life (Volumes 1 and 2)

Volume 1
Volume 2

Volume 1 edited by Patricia Linderman and Melissa Brayer-Hess. Volume 2 edited by Patricia Linderman, Melissa Brayer-Hess and Marlene Monfiletto Nice.

Writers from the U.S. Foreign Service community share their views and personal experiences through essays about all aspects of Foreign Service life. These books will be of interest to newcomers or veterans of the Foreign Service, and are particularly useful to those contemplating a Foreign Service career.

Mention a diplomatic career and most people imagine high-level meetings, formal dress and cocktail parties. Few stop to think that behind the occasional glitter of official functions are thousands of families facing all the routines and crises of life – births, deaths, childrearing, divorce – far from home, relatives, and friends, in an unfamiliar and sometimes unfriendly country and culture.

Realities of Foreign Service Life provides reflections and perspectives on the realities of Foreign Service life as experienced by members of the Foreign Service community around the world. The writers share their unvarnished views on a wide variety of topics they care about: maintaining long-distance relationships, raising teens abroad, dealing with depression, coping with evacuations, readjusting to life in the United States, and many others. These are stories from the diplomatic trenches – true experiences from those who have lived the lifestyle and want to share their hard-learned lessons with others.

This is the kind of book we all wish we could have read before joining the Foreign Service. With an abundance of charm and local color, it offers insights, encouragement, and practical tips to officers faced with their first Embassy posting, whether alone or encumbered with kids, pets, partners, and grandmother’s china. On the other hand, some of us would never have joined if we had read this volume before signing up. Its beauty is that it presents embassy life in all of its aspects-the good, the bad, and the ugly.

Marilyn Wyatt (former Foreign Service officer and current FS spouse)

About the Editors:

Co-editors Melissa Brayer-Hess, Patricia Linderman and Marlene Monfiletto Nice are longtime members of the U.S. Foreign Service community. Brayer-Hess is currently Deputy Director in the Crisis Management Training Division of the Leadership and Management School, National Foreign Affairs Training Center, Arlington, Virginia. Linderman is Editor in Chief of Tales from a Small Planet,, and Monfiletto Nice, a former newspaper reporter and editor, accompanied her husband to three overseas posts before becoming a Foreign Service officer herself in 2005.

Brayer-Hess and Linderman have also co-authored the book The Expert Expatriate: Your Guide to Successful Relocation Abroad (Nicholas Brealey Intercultural, 2002-2007).

For more first-hand accounts of life in the Foreign Service, check out “Frontline Diplomacy,” a large collection of oral histories transcribed by the Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training now available at the Library of Congress website.

Available now in paperback or Kindle e-book format from Volume One. Volume Two.


The Foreign Service Companion

Every day, somewhere in the world, Foreign Service community members are in the midst of moving. Some have moved a dozen times or more, and lived to tell about it! They tell their tales in this book, a collection of advice, stories and entertaining anecdotes to serve as your “companion” along the way.


Foreign Service CompanionTopics covered include:

  • leaving the U.S. for an overseas post
  • returning “home” to the Washington, D.C., area
  • moving to other posts in the U.S.
  • sorting and downsizing belongings before packout
  • digitizing and backing up important household records
  • creating a home inventory
  • helping children of various ages deal with a move
  • safely shipping pets
  • packing for an ordered evacuation from an overseas post
  • planning for an unaccompanied tour
  • shopping for consumables for a hardship post
  • special considerations for foreign-born spouses
  • taking care of ourselves during a transfer
  • and much more!

Whether you are a veteran of many Foreign Service moves or a brand-new officer or family member preparing for your first packout, there is surely something in this book that you can use–or at that will at least give you a laugh when you most need one!

Available now in paperback or Kindle e-book format from


Raising Kids in the Foreign Service

Raising Kids in the Foreign Service, a book recently published by AAFSW, covers a wide variety of topics important to parents living abroad. Experienced expat writers share stories, experiences, and research about pregnancy, education, travel, language, unaccompanied tours, safety, maintaining mindfulness and much more. Learn about everything from homeschooling to helping struggling kids to cleaning up that clutter while living in another country. This book is perfect for families new to the Foreign Service and looking for a sense of what life is like abroad. Families currently in the thick of expat life will recognize their own situation and find ideas and information. It is also a fun look back for those who have already successfully raised their own third culture kids. Join our conversation and read our essays about navigating this challenging, exciting, and rewarding family lifestyle.

Sample chapters:
Congratulations! You’re Raising a TCK (Third Culture Kid)!
Homeschooling in the Foreign Service: Doubly Unusual!
U.S. College Admission and the Foreign Service Teen
Gifted and Talented Children in the Foreign Service
The Art of Acquiring a Second Language
Living Overseas When Your Child has Special Needs
When Kids Struggle Overseas
Tandem Couples and Kids
The Single Parent and the Foreign Service
How to Manage Parenting and Working in the Foreign Service
Joy for a Dime and a Song: A Case for a Washington, D.C., Tour with Children
An Unaccompanied Tour
Traveling with Kids
The Ties that Remind: Maintaining a Connection to the Home You Left Behind
The Oxygen Mask – Mindfulness for Foreign Service Parents

Available now in paperback or Kindle e-book format from