A new fiscal year brings in new hope, new challenges, and a renewed commitment to preparing our colleagues with the very best information, counseling and training to ensure an effective whole of government approach to the challenges facing our country in the international arena.
We are delighted to introduce Sean McKee as the new Division Director of the Overseas Briefing Center. Sean comes to us with a wealth of overseas experience, information and technology management skills, and a dedication to serving the Foreign Affairs community. He looks forward to getting to know all of our clients from our partner federal agencies. As we welcome new colleagues from our office and from yours, thank you for your continued partnership and support entering fiscal year 2015!
Ray Leki, Director
Sharon Hardy, Deputy Director
Post-It of the Month
Whether you're bidding on your next post or getting ready to sail, all foreign affairs personnel and their families can access our Post Info To Go database. Email the OBC with the posts you'd like more information about!
Is Beijing – or any other post – in your future? Here are a few things you should know about this post:
Embassy Beijing is the workplace of over 400 USG direct hire employees, although the full staff of the embassy numbers over 1000, putting the embassy in the top ten largest posts worldwide. Having good command over Mandarin can be very helpful for a posting in Beijing. It is common for many locals to have little knowledge of English. There are many opportunities for learning the language at post, and it can greatly increase the enjoyment of an assignment.
Health issues are a real concern in Beijing. Air quality is often problematic, and daily outdoor activities can be dictated by pollution levels. The embassy provides air filters, and it is encouraged to stay indoors on high pollution days. In addition, food safety can be an issue, and it is important that food, vegetables, dairy, and meat products come from a reliable source.
Public transportation, including taxis and the subway, is highly affordable. The subway, however, is often overly crowded and is not quickly accessible from some embassy housing locations. Taxis may be difficult to locate during peak traffic hours. Despite this, depending on your housing location, a car may not be necessary for a tour in China. For those who prefer having a car, small to mid-size models are generally more convenient for parking and navigating the hectic traffic.
Cultural and entertainment options are almost endless. The CLO office frequently arranges outings. Popular in-country destinations include famous sites such as the Great Wall and the Terracotta Warriors, as well as China's other major metropolitan areas outside of Beijing. Regional travel around Asia is relatively easy, though flights may be more affordable if you plan strategically with timing and by searching for deals.
NEW COURSE OFFERING - Basic Personal Defense (MQ930)
October 22, 6:00 pm – 8:30 pm (Offered Monthly)
Transition Center is proud to announce the launch of Basic Personal Defense as a new half day course offered monthly to all members of the foreign affairs community. The course is designed to assist one in recognizing physical threats and defending oneself if the threat escalates to a physical confrontation. The course empowers USG employees and family members in the foreign affairs if physically confronted. Instructors will demonstrate sound personal defense tactics, supervise participant practice and explain the distinct difference between personal-defense and being seen as an attacker. This new course is very popular. Register today to guarantee a spot on your preferred date.
FREE – Encouraging Resilience in the Foreign Service Child (MQ500)
October 22, 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm
This evening seminar is a valued added resource for all parents in the foreign affairs community. Participants will hear both from parents of children who were raised overseas and the Third Culture Kids themselves. Discussions will address the characteristics of an internationally mobile childhood; influences on cultural identity; characteristics of families living overseas; and strategies for raising resilient children.
FREE – Special Education Needs Overseas (MQ118)
November 18, 9:00 am - 4:00 pm
Join us for this specialized course offering designed specifically for Foreign Service families that need to understand and navigate Department of State services available overseas to children with special needs. Participants will hear from all DOS offices that provide support and services to these families, and will also have the opportunity to speak privately with these specialists about schooling, allowances, medical clearances, etc.
Overseas Briefing Center
Resource Sheets for the Foreign Service Lifestyle
The Overseas Briefing Center's resource sheets provide tips and references for a variety topics related to living and moving around the world. Some of the recent updates include: Tech Tools to Manage Household Effects, Preparation Checklist for Going Overseas with a timeline and key action ideas, and What My Parents, Extended Family and Friends Need to Know about the Foreign Affairs Lifestyle. There is also a 'top ten' list of topics that include downloadable resources from the OBC's Internet pages.
Education and Kids Resources at OBC
Families and children are welcome at the Overseas Briefing Center! Our children's activity workbook, Where in the World Are You Going, is available both online and in-center to help children ages 3-8 deal with the idea of an international move. The OBC also offers numerous books for children as well as adults on the topic of a family move overseas.
U.S. Domestic Posts
Are you and your family posted to a domestic assignment in the United States? Visit the OBC's resources for domestic posts! Find information on local schools, housing resources, transportation, recreation, and more.
The OBC also has a robust collection of information on the Transition to Washington, D.C., including information on short-term housing, childcare, and helpful Washington D.C. resources and links.
View OBC's Extended Hours
Foreign Service Institute | Room E-2126
Email Us | 703.302.7276 | Weekdays 8:15 AM – 5:00 PM
Career Transition Center
Mid-Career Retirement Planning Seminar
Are you more than ten years away from retirement eligibility and in the early-to-mid stages of your career? This two-day future oriented financial and legal seminar is for you!
November 12–13, 2014| January 13–14, 2015
May 5–6, 2015 | June 10–11, 2015
Retirement Planning Seminar
Do you have fewer than ten years until retirement? Prepare now by attending the four-day seminar.
December 1–4, 2014| February 24–27, 2015
April 6–9, 2015 | June 22–25, 2015
Job Search (Transition) Program
Leaving full-time U.S. Government work? Focus on your transition and plan the next phase of your professional and personal lives in JSP!
March 2–April 24, 2014
August 3–September 25, 2015