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Transition Center eNewsletter


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Spring is upon us and in the Transition Center, we are using new means to bring you the same great resources and information for which you rely on us. We will host an live information session with our colleagues in Ho Chi Minh City (our Post of the Month) to connect incoming personnel with those already at post to answer critical questions about schooling, shipping logistics, housing information, and more. We understand how valuable it can be for transitioning personnel to get burning questions answered straight from the source and are excited to assist in making this possible.

Count on us to provide you with a wide range of resources to facilitate transitions overseas as smooth and as well-informed as possible. We invite you to reach out to us if we can help your post connect with others through Adobe Connect and look forward to seeing you in a session soon!

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

The largest city in Vietnam, Ho Chi Minh City is located on the Saigon River in the south of the country and is home to around 9 million inhabitants. The city's wide boulevards and colonial-style buildings are a reflection of the French colonial era. Ho Chi Minh City has a humid, tropical climate with a rainy season from May through October and a dry season from November to April. Temperatures average around 85 degrees Fahrenheit year-round.

There are a wide variety of great food options in Ho Chi Minh City reflecting many different cuisine styles in addition to traditional Vietnamese food. Movie theaters in the city show current Hollywood hits and there are many cultural activities including museums and art galleries. Centrally located in Asia, it is easy to travel from Vietnam to countries all over the region.

Personnel are generally pleased with the housing options in Ho Chi Minh City. Those without kids tend to live in downtown apartments a short walk from the embassy and in close proximity to city amenities. Larger houses are located 15-30 minutes away in a quiet area with good outdoor space for children and pets. Household help tends to be relatively affordable.

It is fairly easy to get around the city with taxis, which are cheap and usually reliable. Buses are an option for those with proficient Vietnamese to navigate the somewhat confusing transit routes. Many people get along easily without a car, but for those who want to bring one, it is a good idea to check what kinds are being sold in the city in order to have a higher chance of being able to get it serviced. Check with GSO if you are planning on bringing a car to post to make sure that you can meet the import requirements.

To get more information on Ho Chi Minh City or any other post, email the Overseas Briefing Center.



International Development and NGOs: Employment Options
April 14, 2015 Eligible Family Members (EFMs) looking for employment opportunities in the field of international development and non-governmental organizations (NGOs) should consider various critical factors to improve chances of employment. This one-day seminar includes presentations and panels tasked with explaining the structure, function, and network of international development organizations, local NGOs and for-profit companies; as well as realistic avenues for internationally mobile spouse/partners to "break into" this sector.

Free Seminar - Traveling with Pets
April 15, 2015
Traveling with pets can be traumatic for both pets and their owners. Participants in this evening course will hear from experts in animal care experienced with shipping pets internationally. The panel of experts will include an airline representative, private veterinarian, professional pet shipper, USDA-APHIS veterinarian, AFSA representative, and DOS Office of Transportation representative.​ Interested in attending? Register here. ​

Protocol and U.S. Representation
April 18, 2015
This hands-on course helps participants gain practical knowledge of diplomatic protocol and U.S. representational responsibilities pertinent to Foreign Service life. Upon completion participants will have gained confidence to attend receptions, make introductions, plan seating arrangements for a formal dinner, and adhere to formal dining etiquette. This course is offered 10 times a year and is well worth your Saturday!

Overseas Briefing Center


Checklist for Moving Overseas
If you are facing an international relocation in the near future, you might be asking yourself "what do I do first?" There are a numerous tasks to plan for and handle and no shortage of items to add to a to-do list. Fortunately, the OBC has a downloadable checklist that provides recommended actions starting at 120 days prior to depature. You can download the checklist at

Researching Education Options at Overseas Posts
If you know your next overseas post assignment and you have school-aged children, a primary concern is coordinating a smooth transition to a new school. There are multiple resources available to personnel in the foreign affairs community including: the Office of Overseas Schools, the education liaison at the Family Liaison Office, and post-specific resources found in the Overseas Briefing Center. Read more suggested tips for education planning on OBC's school planning page.

Writing to Your Post of Assignment
For recently assigned Foreign Service personnel, the Overseas Briefing Center provides advice and examples of how to contact your new post to express your pleasure with the assignment. Downloadable resources on formatting and letter examples can be found on the OBC's internet site at​.

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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