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Transition Center eNewsletter

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Thank you to everyone who was able to join us at our recent Super Saturday! Transition Center staff hosted four weekend classes on May 31 to help singles, couples, and families alike prepare for the challenges and logistics of an overseas move.

On Saturday, adults had their questions answered about the many daunting logistics of an overseas move while children learned about what to expect in the weeks and months ahead. Families designed a family crest representing their family values and identity. Parents reported that children were feeling more excited and reassured about the move ahead, and one child even asked if the move could come sooner.

It is these types of tangible outcomes that we see every day in the Transition Center that remind us why the work we do is so important. We are here to serve you and your family as you prepare for the changes ahead and will support you every step of the way.

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 Bogota – or any other post – in your future? Here are a few things you should know about this post:

Bogota, Colombia is a city of approximately 8 million inhabitants sitting at an altitude of 8,700 feet in the northern Andes mountains. The climate is cool and moderate, with frequent rain and year-round temperatures averaging in the 50s and 60s degrees Fahrenheit. Spanish is the official language of Colombia, and many older structures still feature Spanish colonial-style architecture.

Bogota is a regional cultural center with many different museums, theaters, monuments, and attractions to visit. There are many annual festivals and carnivals throughout Colombia that feature dancing, parades, and musicians. There are a wide variety of regional cuisines in Colombia, and it is easy to find many different kinds of fruits and vegetables. Bogota has an abundance of excellent restaurants, as well as many American chains.

There are many school options in Bogota with varying curriculums and extracurricular offerings. Unlike some other posts, schools in Bogota do not guarantee admission to children under Chief of Mission status, making it very important to plan in advance. There are some schools in Bogota that are able to accommodate children with special needs; however, space is limited and schools may not be able to meet all types of needs. Check with the CLO to get the most up-to-date information on schools.

The Embassy has a health unit with staff who can provide routine care and vaccinations and immunizations. Health care in Bogota is generally good; however, it is recommended to complete some procedures in the United States. The high altitude can cause minor to moderate health issues upon arrival for many people, but these symptoms generally disappear.

For more information about this or any other post, email the Overseas Briefing Center.



Regulations, Allowances, and Finances

June 11–12, 9:00am–4:00pm | Do not let the complexity of allowances add to your list of challenges. Attend this two day course and hear directly from subject matter experts on the newest department policies related to general allowances as well as leave, travel, overseas education, crises, and medical allowances got foreign affairs families. Furthermore, general aspects of retirement, estate planning, savings plans and insurance will be presented. This course is designed to meet the needs of participants eager for up to date information, an introduction to the topics, or those looking for a refresher. Open to all Foreign Affairs agency employees and adult eligible family members (EFMs). The tuition for the class is $420.

Realities of Foreign Service Life

June 16, 9:0am–4:00pm | New to the Foreign Service? Do you have a list of question to which you want real answers not bureaucratic mumbo-jumbo? Join us for class and hear directly from Foreign Service veterans.

During this one-day course participants will receive information on the structure and characteristics of U.S. missions and overseas communities; discuss what it is like to be part of the diplomatic community overseas; and hear about housing, security, arrival in country, packing, employment and more from a panel of foreign service veterans.

��� Communicating Across Cultures

June 26, 9:00am–4:00pm | Whether you are a veteran global nomad or new to the lifestyle, this course is a must for all employees and adult family members headed overseas.

Join American University professor Dr. Gary Weaver for this hands-on experience in adjusting to variations in cultural values and communication styles found in overseas work and life. Participants will identify key cultural values, identify personal reactions to cultural differences, and explore effective strategies for living with cultural diversity.

Overseas Briefing Center


Introduce Colleagues to Your Post

What you know about living and thriving at your current overseas post can be invaluable for your 'future friends' in the foreign affairs community. One of the most common interest areas when people visit OBC is to learn more about what currently assigned personnel are saying about a post and the realities of living there. Personal Post Insights are an easy (and anonymous) way to share your wisdom with your colleagues. When you complete the online survey, your responses are anonymized and added to the Post Info To Go system so they can be referenced by on-site and virtual visitors to OBC.

Posting comments on social media can be one way to share but the real value is being able to offer comments about topics unique to the foreign affairs community. You can submit your Personal Post Insight from the Internet (no State Department intranet access required).

Tell Us What You Need

��� When you think about your next overseas assignment do you know what information you need but are unable to find it? Tell us! The Overseas Briefing Center wants to hear your ideas about the information you want and how to make it easier for you to use. Examples of questions we have heard so far:
  • What should I include in my letter to post?
  • How soon should I start planning to ship my pet to my next post?
  • How can I get copies of information about post from OBC?
Submit your questions and suggestions to us at And, in case you were curious, the answers to the above questions are:
  • OBC has a detailed handout with suggested topics, style and formatting tips. Stop by the OBC in Room E2126 on FSI's campus or visit
  • It is never too soon to start planning your pet shipping! In some cases, overseas posts may have vaccination requirements that begin 8-12 months before arrival. Visit or contact the OBC to learn more about your next post's pet shipping requirements and restrictions.
  • Copies of information in the Post Info To Go system at OBC can be requested for delivery by email when you send your name and affiliated government email address to Spouses and family members can have information sent to their personal addresses when they provide their spouse's official .gov or .mil address for reference.
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

Upcoming Courses...

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!

Course Dates
June 10–11, 2015
November 9–10, 2015
January 12–13, 2016
June 8–9, 2016

Retirement Planning Seminar

Do you have fewer than ten years until retirement? Don't wait; prepare by attending the four-day seminar as soon as possible.

Course Dates
June 22–25, 2015
July 27–30, 2015
September 28–October 1, 2015
November 30–December 3, 2015
March 1–4, 2016
April 11 – 14, 2016
June 20 – 23, 2015

Job Search (Transition) Program

Leaving full-time U.S. Government work? Focus on your transition and get help with planning the next phase of your personal/professional life by enrolling in JSP!

Course Dates
August 3–September 25, 2015
October 5–30, 2015
March 7–April 29, 2016



Transition Center Links                             Partner Offices and Organizations
  » Transition Center                                    » Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide
  » Career Transition Center                      » American Foreign Service Association
  » Overseas Briefing Center                     » Family Liaison Office
  » Foreign Service Life Skills Training    » Foreign Service Youth Foundation
  » Foreign Service Institute                       » Office of Allowances
  » Security Training                                     » Office of Medical Services
  » High Stress Assignment Outbrief       » Overseas Schools
  » Overseas Crisis Readiness                  » Retirement Network
  » Contact Us


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