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Transition Center eNewsletter


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Though it's hard to believe with all the snow still on the ground here in Arlington, we are only three months away from the beginning of the summer transfer season. Starting early with your preparations can make all the difference. No matter how well you plan, there will always be surprises, but staying organized, taking care of tasks well in advance, and facing logistical challenges head on will help you stay on top of the unexpected.

We in the Transition Center want to help you with your planning and preparations. Our Preparing to Go Overseas page has a fantastic checklist that organizes tasks in a timeline starting 4 months out, which makes now the perfect time to get started. Make it easier on yourself and your family by checking off the first simple step:

[  ] Print the OBC's Checklist for Moving Overseas

Keep us in mind during all of your transition preparations, and please feel welcome to reach out to us at any time.

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

Colombo is situated on the western shore of the island of Sri Lanka. The city itself is home to 550,000 inhabitants, with 4.6 million in the greater metropolitan area. Sri Lanka features great beaches, historical temples and ruins, and direct flights to nearby destinations in Asia and the Middle East.

The beaches in Sri Lanka are beautiful and offer plenty of opportunities for snorkeling, surfing, swimming, or simply enjoying the sun. Local cuisine is affordable, though it runs on the spicy side, and there is an abundance of tropical fruit. Game parks on the island give visitors a chance to view some of the more exotic wildlife, including elephants and leopards. Some families posted to Sri Lanka at times find it difficult to entertain children, but there are sports and extra-curricular activities offered at the schools, and some family playgroups exist.

Dengue can be a serious concern in Sri Lanka and it is important to take precautions, including using a good bug repellent, so bring plenty with you to post. Colombo is hot and humid, so those with respiratory issues should take this into account. Most major health problems require a medevac.

Colombo is a consumables post, and some products that Americans might be used to may not be available on the local economy, although the selection and quality of items is starting to increase. The American Embassy Recreation Association of Colombo (AERAC) has a commissary that carries many staples and is available to Embassy community members with a membership. In many cases, only one brand of an item may be available, so if you have a strong preference, it is best to bring these items with you. For a full list of what may or may not be available, email the Overseas Briefing Center.



Special Education Needs Overseas Seminar (MQ118)
April 10, 9:00am–4:00pm
Are you wondering how to navigate the your foreign affairs career, agency resources, and the world with a special needs child? If so, please join us for this free day-long seminar dedicated to answering the many questions of FS families with special needs children. Participants will hear from all DOS offices that provide support and services to these families, and have the opportunity to speak privately with these specialists about schooling, allowances, medical clearances, etc.

International Development and NGOs: Employment Options (MQ705)
April 14, 9:00am–4:00pm
This course is dedicated to informing eligible family members of the critical factors to consider when looking for employment opportunities in the field of international development and non-governmental organizations. The seminar includes presentations and panels tasked with explaining the structure, function, and network of international development organizations, NGOs and companies; as well as realistic avenues for internationally mobile spouse/partners to "break into" this sector. This course is only offered twice a year. Register today!

Traveling with Pets (MQ855)
April 15, 6:00pm–8:30pm
Traveling with pets can be traumatic for both pets and their owners. Be prepared! Join for this free annual seminar to hear from experts in animal care experienced in shipping pets internationally. This class will fill quickly. Be sure to register soon.

Basic Personal Defense (MQ930)
April 8, 6:00pm–8:30pm
In today's world, personal security is paramount. This 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. Monthly offerings fill quickly, register today.

Overseas Briefing Center


March 14 (Pi Day) Extended Hours at OBC
The Overseas Briefing Center will be open on Saturday, March 14 from 9 AM - 1 PM for foreign affairs personnel and their family member who wish to research posts using Post Info To Go data and explore videos and related resources. If you are a family member and do not have a Department of State badge and would like to visit the OBC, contact the OBC by no later than 12 noon on March 13 to have your name added to the visitor list for Saturday.

The Family Liaison Office (FLO) will also be conducting one-on-one consultations for questions about family member employment. Sign up for a FLO consultation appointment by contacting the OBC by email or at 703-302-7276/7277.

Post Info To Go Updates Continue Throughout March
The updates to Post Info To Go continue in full force throughout March 2015. We have already seen extensive updates of posts in the WHA and EAP regions and document submissions continued through the end of February from posts in AF and NEA. As the new documents are submitted the OBC team reviews each post and conducts an extensive quality assurance check before publishing the updated post profiles. For anyone who will be researching their next post rest assured that the new information is being added to Post Info To Go as quickly as possible!

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.

Contact OBC
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
May 5–6, 2015
June 10–11, 2015
November 9–10, 2015 (not yet in FSI catalog)
January 12–13, 2016 (not yet in FSI catalog)

Retirement Planning Seminar
Do you have fewer than ten years until retirement? Prepare now by attending the four-day seminar.

Course Dates
April 6–9, 2015 | June 22–25, 2015
July 27–30, 2015 | September 28–October 1, 2015
November 30–December 3, 2015 (not yet in FSI catalog)

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!

Course Dates
March 2–April 24, 2014
August 3–September 25, 2015
October 5–30, 2015 (not yet in FSI catalog)


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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