International Affairs Reflection #2

For my second category of events for the International Affairs scholars program, I attended the U.S. State Department Information Session on Tuesday, October 30th from 3:00-4:30 PM in Cockins Hall. This event fulfilled the non-IA requirement. The topic was discussed by Dale Giovengo, diplomat in residence of the North Central region.

This event impacted my view on government jobs and future options for my personal career. Before listening to the speaker, I had a preconceived notion that government jobs were boring and a waste of time and resources. However, it seems very interesting to be able to travel to a variety of countries and serve as a diplomat. I was impressed by the sheer number of opportunities available to college students. There were four main categories of work described at the U.S. Department of State level including student programs, civil service, foreign service specialists, and foreign service officers. I am probably most likely to do the unpaid internship program at this point in my college After hearing about the differences between jobs I  had a different perspective on solving conflict with other countries. This relates to International Affairs because it is vital to maintain peace and negotiate with other world powers to benefit all parties.

I gained academic knowledge about specific details regarding the national government and programs currently in place. I learned that national security has a 70 billion dollar budget. I also found it interesting that a majority of the 71000 employees in the state department are foreign service nationals/locals that solve issues in the area. Dale Giovengo spoke about his personal experience before becoming involved with embassy operations in Albania, Pakistan, Switzerland, Iraq, and other countries. It was very beneficial to hear first-hand experience of working for the government. The amount of travel required could be fulfilling, but also rough on family life.

As a finance major, I did not think there were many professional opportunities with the U.S. Department of State. Before listening to Dale, I thought government jobs were mainly for people in public affairs or international studies. However, I was pleased to discover that there isn’t a specific major required to obtain a job in this category. Personally, I am interested in international business and believe this would be a good way to get involved in global interactions. Although I haven’t specifically discussed this kind of topic in any recent coursework, I am sure that I will learn more in my classes focused on international business.

After attending this event I am interested in learning more about the first steps I should take to get into programs and which ones I should apply for initially. I wonder if I have a good personality to succeed in these jobs or what I should do to improve my chances. I think I am still more interested in corporate finance but going down the government track could be an educational experience. Although it might not be my specific path, I was still glad to have learned about other options available.