Our swearing-in ceremony came and went in a blur. Unfortunately, John Kerry broke his leg and could not swear us in, and nothing is as exciting as Flag Day, but the ceremony itself was blissfully brief. Officially my A-100 experience came to a close on Friday, June 12th. I slept 13 hours that Friday night, exhausted from the intense schedule and the sheer extroversion I needed throughout that last week. Not seeing my A-100 classmates will be sad, but I was more than ready not to wear a business suit every day! I’ll be casual (more or less) for the next 10 months!
After a week of random smaller trainings (one which informed me of all the ways I could die abroad), I am currently in Basic Consular training, aka “ConGen”. So far I’ve found the class fascinating and fun. I was a little worried I’d be bored to tears going through the Immigration and Nationality Act and other various legalese documents, but the instructors have this class down to an art. I’m happy to go to class each day and also happy I am sharing the class with a few of my A-100 friends.
I’m also looking forward to the week after ConGen, where I will be spending a week in “Crash Bang” (less excitingly known as “FACT – Foreign Affairs Counter Threat”). “Participants will learn how to conduct surveillance detection, aspects of Personnel Recovery, provide emergency medical care, demonstrate improvised explosive device (IED) awareness, participate in firearms familiarization, and perform defensive/counterterrorist driving maneuvers.” Sounds terrifying and exciting, all at the same time.
A few weeks after that I start learning Bangla (aka Bengali). I’m really excited to learn a new language, as this is one of the components that excites me the most about this job. Don’t know where Dhaka, Bangladesh is? Here’s a lil map to help you out.
It’s small, but one of the most densely populated countries in the world. Dhaka itself is crazy busy with people, cars and all that comes with that. I’ve still got many months until I arrive, but I keep a map with my Flag Day flag on my refrigerator to remind me of the end goal of all this training. I’m sure it will fly by, and there’s plenty to accomplish between now and then.