December is a time for reflection and growth for all of as we prepare to enter the near year. During 2014, the Transition Center welcomed over ten new faces to our team, all of whom are committed to easing the transitions of the international lifestyle. Milestones for this year include a redesigned intranet site with new features to simplify the bidding process, while our Internet site has seen over 1.2 million visits. We continue to develop new initiatives and programming for a happier, healthier, and more resilient workforce. Our Training division has added new courses including Basics of Personal Defense to meet the needs of the community. The Overseas Briefing Center assisted more than 18,000 clients in the past year, 6,500 of them remotely. The Career Transition Center has served unprecedented numbers of students in the Mid-Career Retirement Planning Seminar, leaving people better prepared at an earlier age.
As we move ahead into the new year, we look forward to new initiatives to come and hope that 2015 is a successful one for you and your family. We wish you all Happy Holidays and a Happy New Year!
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 Sao Paulo – or any other post – in your future? Here are a few things you should know about this post:
Sao Paulo, Brazil is the most populous city in South America, home to almost 12 million inhabitants. The city is located near the coast and features warm, temperate weather. Nicknamed the Land of Drizzle in Portuguese, Sao Paulo can be rainy, affecting traffic and driving conditions.
Due to its size and regional influence, Sao Paulo is a significant cultural and entertainment spot in Brazil. There is an active nightlife, with a wide variety of options including restaurants, movie theaters, malls, bars, and nightclubs. The city is also full of museums, monuments, and parks. Travel within Brazil to locations such as the Amazon rainforest, Iguazu Falls, and nearby Brazilian cities is a popular weekend option.
Same-sex marriage is legal in Brazil, and Sao Paulo is host to the world's largest annual LGBT pride parade. Sao Paulo is an open and welcoming city for LGBT+ singles and couples.
The quality of life for pets at post is generally good. There is high quality veterinary care, with some vets staying open 24 hours. Many personnel are assigned to apartments, which can pose a challenge for larger dogs or pets that need to spend a lot of time outdoors. Walking dogs in the neighborhood can be difficult, but many pet owners bring their dogs to a popular park on the weekend.
Personal Finances and Investments for Foreign Affairs Personnel (MQ852)
December 10, 6:00pm–8:30pm
Financial issues are complex and get more so when you are living overseas. Learn about the current market climate and strategies for investing in stocks, bonds and funds in this class for foreign affairs personnel. It will walk you through the steps of making sound financial decision and set you up for a secure financial future. The presenter, a Foreign Service family member and a financial adviser who owns a financial planning firm, will join us by DVC from Tokyo. To register please email the name of participant(s), agency affiliation, and preferred email contact to FSITCTraining@state.gov.
Regulations, Allowances, and Finances in the Foreign Service (MQ104)
December 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 each class is $420.
Basics for Overseas Employment (MQ703)
January 29, 9:00am–4:00pm
Adult eligible family members (EFMs) of all agencies are invited to attend this employment course designed specifically for foreign affairs spouse/partners navigating a career while living a mobile lifestyle. It covers the rules and regulations of overseas employment inside and outside the mission, in addition to FSI's online training resources and the ins and outs of security clearances. The tuition for this class is $210.
Overseas Briefing Center
New Children's Language Learning Videos
The OBC received a generous donation that included several language learning videos for toddlers for French, Spanish, German, and Chinese. These can provide a useful introduction to these languages and a fun way to involve a child in preparing for an overseas move. If you are going to a post where these languages are spoken and have a chance to visit the OBC, stop by and check them out! Parents may also be interested in the Transition Center course Raising Bilingual Children, next offered in March.
Sign into OBC with iPad Kiosks
Visitors to OBC can now sign in using the new iPad kiosks. With the new system, visitors can share when they were at the OBC and what topics they needed information about. This will make it easier for OBC personnel to note the most important issues for OBC users to help guide future updates for information and resources.
Post Videos are Always Welcome!
Many of our visitors find the Post Videos to be an invaluable way to learn about the realities of life and culture at overseas posts. However, this video collection relies upon contributions from our overseas community. If you are an aspiring videographer and happen to be posted overseas you can help your friends and colleagues in the foreign affairs community by making a post video. The OBC has put together a guide (available on the State intranet) to help you get started. If you do not currently have access to the intranet and want to request a copy of the guide, send an email with your name, current post and the subject line "Request for Post Video Guide" to FSIOBCInfoCenter@state.gov.
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
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!
January 13–14, 2015 | May 5–6, 2015
June 10–11, 2015
Retirement Planning Seminar
Do you have fewer than ten years until retirement? Prepare now by attending the four-day seminar.
February 24–27, 2015 | April 6–9, 2015
June 22–25, 2015 | July 27–30, 2015
September 28–October 1, 2015
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!
March 2–April 24, 2014
August 3–September 25, 2015
October 5–30, 2015 (not yet in FSI catalog)