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International Wonders

Zoe – future foreign service officer

I became curious about working in foreign service when the recent presidential debates highlighted the topic of international relations. Foreign service also interests me because I was adopted from China when I was one. I wondered how two governments worked together in an international adoption and how ambassadors represented their country in other countries. After taking an interest in this career, I researched the process of becoming a foreign service officer to learn about what skills are required. I found myself looking at newspapers for the latest international news.

Diplomats need language skills to discuss important topics like avoiding war. Since age five, I have been going to Chinese school on Saturdays and I attended a Spanish immersion school from kindergarten to first grade. I continued taking Spanish in middle school.

Foreign service involves serving at embassies and other diplomatic missions around the world. Some foreign service officers have opportunities to create alliances and contribute to avoiding conflicts that could later lead to wars. In certain "missions", officers are required to travel to dangerous places, though the benefits outweigh the risks. Not everyone could say they meet presidents and celebrities to make a living!

Unlike many other jobs, being a diplomat does not require a particular degree; the minimum requirements are a bachelor's degree related to international relations and to pass a two-part test that assesses my skills and knowledge of history, government, economics, and cultures. As one of the jobs with uncertain outcomes, this job is suited for those who are poised under stress and have negotiation and planning skills. As a teen juggling various assignments and activities, stress is my constant companion. Whether it's meeting the President of Canada, or facing world crisis, I believe I have the skills necessary to represent my country.

Zoe's essay appears here as written, to preserve the young author’s unique voice and individual writing style. However, we have deleted personally identifiable information to protect the student’s privacy.