Many apologies for my blogging silence over the last few weeks – j’étudie français – and it has taken over my life. At any rate, here’s a short recap of the end of Foreign Service Orientation (A-100).
On February 21, A-100 ended with a Swearing In Ceremony at the main State Department building in DC. Luckily the weather was much more cooperative than Flag Day weekend, so my parents and sister were able to attend the festivities. In another fun twist an old friend, Mark, was also able to attend the ceremony. Mark was my study abroad coordinator way back in 2004 when I studied abroad in Uganda. Later David and I reconnected with him and his wife during our year living in Kampala. It was fun to have a representative from all the time I’ve spent in Uganda, which has been influential in my journey to the Foreign Service.
The ceremony itself was short and sweet. Deputy Secretary Burns (#2 State behind Secretary Kerry) was the main speaker and the one to administer the oath. He told some hilarious stories about his debacles as a young diplomat, which went far to assuage my fears of permanently damaging my career after any junior officer missteps I might make.
The oath itself is actually made not to the United States government nor to Americans exactly, but to the Constitution itself.
I do solemnly swear that I will support and defend the Constitution of the United States against all enemies, foreign and domestic; that I will bear true faith and allegiance to the same; that I take this obligation freely, without any mental reservation or purpose of evasion; and that I will well and faithfully discharge the duties of the office on which I am about to enter: So help me God.
The ceremony marked the end of A-100 and now the members of the 175th have all gone our separate ways. Many of us are in language training, while others are in regional/cultural studies, or consular training. In a few weeks the first of our class will head out to their posts, either because they are headed to an English speaking country or they already have the necessary language skills. I’ll actually be in the last group to go since I’m learning two languages – French and Creole.