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U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Spouse/Partner Orientation

The Transition Center's Foreign Service Life Skills training division offers U.S. Government employees and their families newly assigned to an overseas post the opportunity to learn about living conditions abroad and the foreign affairs lifestyle.

The Spouse/Partner Orientation is offered to eligible family members and members of household of Foreign Service employees as an introduction to Department of State resources and services. The orientation is offered on-site and is held separately for family members while the employees are in their own orientation program.

Spouses/partners of incoming Foreign Service employees who are placed in the next Foreign Service generalist or specialist class are eligible for the spouse/partner orientation. New spouses/partners of current Foreign Service employees may also enroll in the Spouse/Partner Orientation (MQ120).

Registration Instructions
Confirmed incoming employees will receive instructions on registration in their welcome packets. Please register at least one week before the orientation. To register, send the information listed below to with "Spouse Orientation" in the subject line and include:

  1. Choice of on-site or online Spouse/Partner Orientation registration
  2. Employee’s name, A-100/Specialist class number
  3. Spouse/partner name and personal email address

For any questions about the Orientation program, please contact All registrants are added to the Transition Center eNewsletter and distribution list for announcements of upcoming classes.

For general questions about the Spouse/Partner Orientation Program, contact

Sample Schedule for Generalist Spouses/Partners
One-day program: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Sample Schedule for Specialist Spouses/Partners
One-day program: 8:00 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.

Generalist Spouse/Partner Orientation
September 10, 2015
January 14, 2016
April 7, 2016
June 30, 2016
September 8, 2016

Specialist Spouse/Partner Orientation
September 22, 2015
January 26, 2016
April 19, 2016
July 12, 2016
September 20, 2016

Background reading materials:


The Transition Center is a family-friendly environment. But the fact that the full day Orientation is conducted in an office setting and there are many other people attending the session limits our ability to welcome children to our programs. In consideration of others, please make your own child care arrangements. The Overseas Briefing Center has Childcare Listings and Referrals. If infants cannot be left in anyone's care, you may ask us for an exception. However, it is your responsibility to make sure others are not disturbed. You may have to step outside the class to attend to the child. You may also wish to sign up for the online Orientation session that you can take at your own convenience.

FSI Transition Center Training Division
George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center
Foreign Service Institute (FSI)
4000 Arlington Boulevard
Arlington, VA 22204
Directions, facilities, and parking information.

Shuttle Bus Services:
There are two shuttle bus services:

  1. Oakwood Shuttle – If you are staying at Oakwood Apartments, a shuttle bus is provided between FSI and the apartment complex. As a resident of Oakwood, you and your spouse/partner will have access to that shuttle.
  2. Department of State (DoS) Shuttle – This shuttle system transports employees between FSI, Main State and, other U.S. Department of State annex buildings. In order to utilize the shuttle service, passengers must present one of the following: State/USAID ID badge, U.S. Diplomatic passport, other federal agency photo ID, DOS Shuttle guest pass, FSI Training Documentation (w/ photo ID).


FSI Access for Spouse/Partner Orientation
After registration for Spouse/Partner Orientation has been confirmed, the spouse/partner’s name is submitted to the Visitor's Center for the day of the Orientation. On the day of Orientation, arrive early and have spouse/partner bring a government-issued photo ID, i.e., passport or driver’s license to facilitate the entry process. For more information, contact


Virtual Resource Table

The following links and documents represent materials made available at the resource table during the class.

Department of State Careers

U.S. Department of State Foreign Service Institute (FSI)

  • Transition Center (TC) – The Transition Center serves U.S. Government employees and family members of all foreign affairs agencies assigned to diplomatic posts abroad, providing training, referrals and information, as well as retirement planning workshops.
  • Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) – provides U.S. Government employees and their family members with information on overseas and U.S. posts and the foreign affairs lifestyle.
    • Foreign Service Assignment Notebook – U.S. Department of State 222-page resource guide that offers invaluable information and guidance on all aspects of preparing for an international move and Foreign Service life.
    • Post Info to Go  [Intranet Link] – Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) resources and information on various posts and on numerous other resources pertaining to Foreign Service life.

Family Liaison Office (FLO)

  • FLO serves U.S. Government direct-hire employees, their family members, and Members of Household (MOH) who are serving, have served, or will be serving at our Missions overseas. FLO's mission is to improve the quality of life of all demographics they serve by identifying issues and advocating for programs and solutions, providing a variety of client services, and extending services to overseas communities through the management of the worldwide Community Liaison Office (CLO) program

Office of Overseas Schools

Office of Medical Services (MED)

  • MED provides healthcare to U.S. Government employees and their families who are assigned to our embassies and consulates worldwide. We also advise our embassy and State Department management about health issues throughout the world.

Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST)

  • The Association for Diplomatic Studies and Training (ADST) is an independent nonprofit organization founded in 1986. ADST advances understanding of American diplomacy and supports training of foreign affairs personnel at the NFATC's Foreign Service Institute (FSI) through a variety of programs and activities.


The information provided is FOR INFORMATIONAL PURPOSES ONLY and in no way constitutes an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the Department of State. Links to websites outside the U.S. Federal Government or the use of trade, firm, or corporation names are for the convenience of the user and do not constitute an official endorsement or approval of any private sector website, product, service, or privacy policy.


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