The Foreign Service Journal, November 2006

ing our own culture. What are American values and how are those values seen overseas? What are the good things that have come from those values? How has our history shaped our current attitudes and trends? You will need to explain these things overseas and know how people in your country view them so you can best frame your ideas and message. People want to know about policy as well as people, and you must explain both. There are a few topics people the world over seem to find especially interesting. So learn all you can about the following: the Electoral College, the U.S. Constitution, and the history and current situation of Native Ameri- cans/American Indians. Also, people always want to know about Thanks- giving, so brush up on your Pilgrim- and-turkey-tradition knowledge. Above all, enjoy your time in the Service. It’s a unique, sometimes diffi- cult, often frustrating career you are embarking upon. But it can also lead to a rewarding and insightful life. I’ve met many senior officers who said if they had it to do over again, they would join the Foreign Service. Again. Now go catch your airport taxi — and be sure to save the receipt. Robin Holzhauer joined the Foreign Service in 1998 as part of the United States Information Agency and moved to the State Department in 1999. In addition to postings in Kosovo and Russia, she has worked at the Foreign Service Institute and attended the Naval War College. She is in language training for a summer 2007 assignment in Caracas. N O V E M B E R 2 0 0 6 / F O R E I G N S E R V I C E J O U R N A L 21 F S K N O W - H O W