Well, folks, we’ve arrived to the point that I was the most
scared nervous excited about – the Bid List!
The bid list is a list of openings available for Foreign Service Officers (FSOs). Somewhere on this list is where SB and I will be living for two years, and that’s crazy! This can change – some posts will be added while others are removed, but I’m excited about the possibilities.
This list includes countries from every area of the world, and now it is up to SB and I to rank where we would like to go. We rank all of the positions either “High,” “Medium,” or “Low.” While there are places we definitely would not like to live, we are “Worldwide Available” and can technically be sent anywhere – even a Low post. They take our preferences into consideration, but at the end of the day it comes down to the “needs of the service.”
Meanwhile, it’s up to us to determine what we want out of his first tour. SB is a Political officer, but all FSOs are required to do one years of consular work. If his first tour isn’t consular his next tour will be. Some questions we’re pondering
- Do we want to get his consular work done now, or is there a political post available where he can get some good experience?
- Do we want to live in a yuuuge metropolis, or a smaller city?
- What language do we want to learn? SB and I both want to learn Spanish and French to teach to potential children, but I also have a big interest in learning Korean (because, duh) and I’m not opposed to
After we decide what we think we want, we need to do some research. Starting off with “Where the hell is this place?” In addition to
- What language is required?
- What’s the quality of life there?
- What kind of housing is available?
- Will we be able to bring Sebastian and Squeaks? Is there a quarantine?
- Are there good hospitals around if we need them?
- Will I be able to explore on my own?
There are many resources available at State, including detailed reports and videos for almost every posting. Those, however, are not the only place to look stuff up. After scouring the interwebs and other blogs, I’ve found Real Post Reports from Tales from a Small Planet. They have expats from all over review foreign posts, helpfully when you want to know what a post is really like. There’s also FSBiddingTools, which has more review and allows you to compare posts. I’m working on a detailed spreadsheet that compares all post with with the answers to some questions above (quarantine, languages, medical care) and a pro/con list for every high post.
Later, we have a meeting with SB’s Career Development Officer (CDO) where we’ll get a change to discuss our preferences for post and where we would like to go. The list is due in a week, then we have 3 more weeks to wait until Flag Day, when we find out where he’s been assigned. I’m not looking forward to the wait for this one.
If you’ve ever lived overseas, is there anything you wish you looked up before you moved? What questions should we be asking ourselves?