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Welcome from the Transition Center

This month, we are reminded that safety and security are crucial parts of preparation for any assignment overseas, as recent events in Brussels once again demonstrate. Our hearts go out to those affected and we thank our colleagues across all government agencies who work to keep us safe. Make sure you, your clients, and your family members are all taking advantage of overseas security awareness training, including our Security Overseas Seminar and online Overseas Crisis Readiness resource. The unfortunate reality of today's world is that we can't always prevent bad things from happening, which makes advanced preparation all the more important.

Ray Leki, Director
Rondalyn Kane, 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 Algiers – or any other post – in your future? Here are a few things you should know about this post:

Algiers, Algeria has a population of over 3 million and is located along the Mediterranean Sea. Founded in approximately 944 A.D., the city has passed through many different historical periods of outside rule, including the Ottoman empire as well as the French. Algeria achieved independence in 1962, but colonial rule has left a lasting historical legacy. The official languages of Algeria are French and Berber.

Algiers is a consumables post, so it is recommended to take full advantage of your consumables allowance. Be sure to stock up on any specialty brands or products that you use often. Many people choose to put the bulk of their allowance towards liquids, as Algiers is a pouch-only post, restricting the shipment of any liquid items once you've arrived at post. Other dry food items may be shipped through the pouch.

Many people choose to bring a car to Algiers that can withstand the wear and tear of heavy traffic. Smaller vehicles can be useful to fit into tight parking spaces. Public transportation is generally not permitted, but some taxi options are available. Transportation via the motorpool can also be arranged.

The security situation in Algeria is constantly changing, and it is best to speak directly with the Regional Security Office to get the most current information. Some areas of the country are off-limits, however the capital city of Algiers is considered generally safe and the areas near the embassy and housing are well-protected. Advance approval is required for travel outside of Algiers.

To get more information on Algiers or any other post, email the Overseas Briefing Center.


FREE Webinar Series – Personal Finances and Investments in the Foreign Service (MQ852)

A life in the Foreign Service offers some financial advantages and difficult challenges in today's world.

Part 1: Personal Finances in the Foreign Service will cover avoiding the most common financial pitfalls in the foreign service, planning for a successful retirement, and investing in the TSP.
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
8:00am–9:00am ET and again at 6:00pm–7:00pm ET

Part 2: Financial Investments in the Foreign Service will explain what works in modern investing, how to stay informed while overseas, how and when to use a good financial adviser, how to plan for children's education, and more.
Friday, April 29, 2016
8:00am–9:00am ET and again at 6:00pm–7:00pm ET

FREE Evening Seminar – Encouraging Resilience in the Foreign Service Child (MQ500)

May 4, 2016, 6:00pm–8:30pm | This evening seminar is a valued added resource for all parents in the foreign affairs community. Participants will hear from both 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 Evening Seminar – Legal Considerations in the Foreign Service (MQ854)

May 18, 2016, 6:00pm–8:30pm | The mobile foreign affairs lifestyle gives rise to unique legal implications for foreign affairs agency employees and their family members. This seminar includes a panel of experts provided by the American Foreign Service Protective Association to discuss contingency planning. Participants will learn steps in creating wills, trusts and powers of attorney; as well as identify legal responsibilities in owning real estate.

Career Transition Center

Upcoming Courses...

Early/Mid-Career Retirement Planning Seminar (RV 105)

Note new name: take this course early in your career!

Are you in the early-to-mid stages of your career and more than ten years away from retirement eligibility? This two-day future-oriented seminar is for you; it covers TSP, annuities, financial management, estate planning and more!

Course Dates
May 3–4, 2016
June 8–9, 2016
November 7-8, 2016 (FY 2017)

Retirement Planning Seminar (RV 101)

Do you have between one and ten years until you leave federal employment? Don't wait; prepare by attending the four-day seminar as soon as possible.

Course Dates
April 11 – 14, 2016
June 20 – 23, 2016
July 25 – 28, 2016
September 26 – 29, 2016
November 28 – December 1, 2016 (FY 2017)

Job Search (Transition) Program (RV 102)

Leaving full-time CS or FS U.S. Government work? Focus on all aspects of your transition and plan for the next phase of your life by enrolling in JSP!

Course Dates
August 1 – September 23, 2016
October 3 – November 25, 2016 (FY 2017)

*NEW COURSE!* Financial Planning/TSP and FSPS Annuity Benefits (RV 106)—Distance Learning/Live Webinar

This one day distance learning seminar offers a condensed retirement planning alternative for overseas staff unable to attend the two-day RV105 Early/Mid-Career Retirement Planning Seminar or the four-day RV101 Retirement Planning Seminar. This course provides critical information on financial planning, including TSP options, investing and estate planning and the Foreign Service Pension System (FSPS) annuity program, including health benefits, which any Foreign Service employee at any age will find beneficial to their retirement planning. The seminar is delivered live via Adobe connect and is comprised of two three-hour sessions during Washington, DC, business hours. The first session will cover Financial Planning and TSP and the second session will cover the FSPS Annuity Benefits Program.

Course Dates
April 8, 2016
June 1, 2016
July 21, 2016
September 22, 2016

Overseas Briefing Center

How to Get Started when Researching your Next Post

Planning for your next assignment is an involved process, to put it mildly. When thinking about the best way to get started it helps to know where you are!

Where are you (geographically)?

You can access the post-specific information resources from the Overseas Briefing Center on the State Department intranet or stop by the OBC on FSI's campus. If you don't happen to have access to the State Department intranet, you can send an email request for post-specific information to and a member of the OBC team will respond with an array of information that has been collected directly from posts worldwide. If you are in Washington DC this makes it easy to connect with OBC during regular business hours. If you are currently overseas, your email will be processed (typically in one business day or less) so that your requested information will be waiting for you when you wake up.

Where are you (with your planning?)

Think about what you will need and then work backwards from any deadlines that are already part of your relocation. It might help to think about the process in terms of phases:

  • Bidding - you are not sure where you will be going but you have a list!
  • Pre-arrival - now you know where you are going and need to plan for it.
  • Travel - the details and specifics of getting to post.
  • Arrival and Adaptation - getting settled at post both professionally and personally.
  • Living At Post - how to make the most of your time in your new home locale.
Each phase can be broken out into specific activity areas (e.g., packing, logistics, transportation, schooling, etc.) so you can be sure to track and handle all of their details.

What do you need?

The variety of choices can be a bit overwhelming but it often helps to start with a list of your 'critical' needs. Many issues are typically handled by post management (e.g., housing options) so you can focus more on what is essential for your household such as: schooling options for your children, employment options for your spouse/partner, accommodations for your pet(s), insurance coverage, financial planning for your move, and covering your local transportation (Personally Owned Vehicle) details. Take time to create and manage your "critical needs" list to increase the chances of your relocation going smoothly.

For more information along with checklists and resource guides, visit the OBC online at or get started with Post Info To Go on the State Department's intranet at http://tc.fsi.state.sbu/PITG


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