Welcome to the September issue of the Transition Center's newsletter. If you are re-patriating from an overseas assignment – or are helping others to do so – remember that coming back can be much harder than expected. You may feel not quite as important or like the center of things as you did as an official American overseas. This is also true for family members and children. Many spouses and partners will need to "recreate" themselves yet one more time to find employment and a lifestyle to integrate back into. Children – particularly teenagers – can have a rough time fitting back into the larger, more impersonal primary and secondary schools. They may also find their classmates' lack of interest in their travels to be frustrating and bewildering. In the face of these challenges, remember to use us as a resource – we've been helping families repatriate for decades and look forward to doing the same for yours.
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 Pretoria – or any other post – in your future? Here are a few things you should know about this post:
Pretoria is the capital and center of government in South Africa. With a population of approximately one million, Pretoria sits in a long valley in the northeast region of the country, at an elevation of about 4,400 feet. The climate is warm and humid, with a short, moderately cool winter. Many languages are spoken in the city, including Afrikaans and English.
South Africa is situated very conveniently for regional travel and there are many opportunities for trips both within and outside of the country. Kruger National Park within South Africa and Victoria Falls in nearby Zimbabwe and Zambia are popular destinations. There are plenty of entertainment options locally in Pretoria as well, including many restaurants, movie theaters, classes, and extracurricular activities.
Importing a pet to South Africa can be tricky due to the complex entrance requirements and lengthy quarantine stay. However, once these regulations have been met, the quality of life for pets at post is excellent. There is good availability of veterinary clinics, high quality pet food and medicines are readily available, and there is green space for walking pets, although it is advised to finish walking pets before dark. Additionally, not all housing allows pets. If you are planning on bring a pet to South Africa, it is recommended to start the import process as soon as possible, many months in advance of heading to post.
Security and crime can be an issue. It is important to take precautions for personal security and use common sense when moving about the city. Housing is outfitted with security measures. Being aware of your surroundings and taking precautions to protect your valuables can help mitigate the concern.
To get more information on Pretoria or any other post, email the Overseas Briefing Center.
September 12, 9:00am–4:00pm | Gain confidence in attending diplomatic receptions, make introductions, plan seating arrangements and practice formal dining etiquette in accordance with international protocol and U.S. representational responsibilities. This class is on a Saturday.
September 15, 9:00am–4:00pm | Explore the various ways in which family members of mission employee Americans are hired. Also identify the USG resources and training opportunities for working inside or outside the mission.
September 17, 9:00am–4:00pm | Get hands-on experience adjusting to variations in cultural values and communication found overseas from a noted expert in cross-cultural communication.
September 23, 6:00pm–8:30pm | Join us for an evening of insight from experts and Foreign Service peers concerning raising bilingual children. A highlight of the evening will be hearing from a panel of bilingual Foreign Service young adults. This is an evening class from 6-8.30 pm.
Overseas Briefing Center
Do you enjoy making videos about places you visit? Perhaps you have even produced a video that is now part of the Overseas Briefing Center's Post Video collection? The OBC is seeking input from the foreign affairs community about ideas and 'best practices' to keep in mind for making videos about overseas posts and international locations. If you have ideas and advice you would like to share you can submit them anonymously through our simple online survey at http://goo.gl/forms/di2lOes6wz.
Are you bidding on your next overseas assignment? Do you have a temporary duty (TDY) trip coming up? The Overseas Briefing Center's Post Info To Go database provides simple access to details about housing, allowances, educational options, pet shipping guidance, community newsletters, and logistics information. If you are planning to travel to a post on TDY, Post Info To Go makes it easier to confirm local contact details and offers community advice on things to do. When you check out the Post Overview page on Post Info To Go you can quickly find useful links to official websites and social media feeds to get up to date on local events and post announcements.
You can access Post Info To Go through the Department of State's intranet at http://tc.fsi.state.gov/PITG from from OpenNet or using your GO access. If you don't have access to the State Intranet you can request information from the Overseas Briefing Center staff by sending an email to FSIOBCInfoCenter@state.gov. Be sure to include the following details in your email request: your name, name and email of your connection to the foreign affairs community (e.g., your spouse's or partner's name and .gov email address), and the names of the posts you would like information about. Have a question about researching a post or want to talk to someone in the Overseas Briefing Center? Contact us at 703-302-7277 during normal business hours in Washington, DC.
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
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 9–10, 2015
January 12–13, 2016
May 3–4, 2016
June 8–9, 2016
Do you have fewer than ten years until retirement? Don't wait; prepare by attending the four-day seminar as soon as possible.
September 28 – October 1, 2015
November 30 – December 3, 2015
March 1 – 4, 2016
April 11 – 14, 2016
June 20 – 23, 2016
July 25 – 28, 2016
September 26 – 29, 2016
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!
October 5 – 30, 2015
March 7 – April 29, 2016
August 8 – September 30, 2016