Welcome to our unaccompanied tours (UT) blog, Foggy Bottom Rambles! We can share information, programs, and resources quickly with you and since blogs are a two way street, we (and the other readers) can hear from you. What's in a name you say? This blog reflects how we (back here in DC, Foggy Bottom area) provide information (rambles) to you. Find tips from the field, websites and information, home is where the hooch is suggestions, upcoming programs and events and follow our book club. Let us know what you think: contribute to the blog or email us at FLOaskUT@state.gov.

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

Attention FSFRC Members!

The Office of Overseas Employment at the Department of State recently released an urgent message for all members of the Foreign Service Family Reserve Corps (FSFRC). FSFRC members who have accepted or who may be considering accepting employment on a Personal Services Agreement (PSA) or a Civil Service position should read the message carefully on the FSFRC webpage.

Key Points

A temporary personnel software and payroll system incompatibility issue prevents FSFRC members in non-pay Reserve Status from being paid correctly for work performed on a PSA or in Civil Service position. A new payroll system, which is being implemented in 2017, will resolve this issue.

FSFRC members who accept employment on a PSA or a Civil Service position must first resign from the FSFRC before starting work.

These individuals may then reapply to join the FSFRC during open enrollment.

FSFRC Members who are currently working on a PSA should immediately contact PayIntakeExecutiveCo@state.gov.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

If you are preparing to transition to Washington, DC and are starting your job search, you may want to sign up for the following FLO programs. 

The Network

Email subscription service for registered family members.

Receive emails with Non-Competitive Eligibility (NCE) and Washington area job vacancy announcements and other employment-related information including upcoming programs, workshops, job fairs and FLO services.

How does it work?

Email FLONetwork@state.gov with your personal email address, employee sponsor’s name and agency.

Wednesday, November 16, 2016

2017 FSYF / GEICO - Academic Merit Award

The Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF) is committed to supporting Foreign Service youth by providing them with opportunities to challenge themselves, reflect upon their Foreign Service childhoods, and to be celebrated for their achievements. Since 2010, FSYF has been recognizing Foreign Service high school seniors and gap-year dependents for their outstanding achievements through the FSYF / GEICO College Scholarship. This year, FSYF is offering a one-time only competitive merit-based award with a first-place prize of $4,000 and a second-place prize of $2,000. High school seniors and gap-year dependents whose families are members of the Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF) are eligible to apply. For more information on the award, how to apply, and how to join FSYF, go to www.fsyf.org. Deadline to apply is February 6, 2017.

Tuesday, November 15, 2016

FLO Website Feature: Eldercare

You can find information and resources on eldercare issues for Foreign Service employees and family members caring for elderly parents on FLO’s Eldercare webpage. This page includes specific information about long-distance caregiving, communicating with an elderly parent, paying for long-term care, housing options, putting parents on your orders, and more. Email FLOAskSupportServices@state.gov with questions. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2016

Employment Opportunity in FLO: UT Specialist

Family members returning to or in the Washington, DC area may be interested in applying for the Unaccompanied Tour Support Specialist (GS-9) position in FLO. The incumbent of this position is responsible for providing information and support to employees and family members separated by service before, during and after these experiences, including providing assistance for reunion and reentry into life in the U.S. Duties will include working in person in front of groups as well as with individuals and via virtual platforms and printed media. The position is located in Washington, DC, and requires some travel. The application deadline for this position is 11:59 p.m. EST, November 16. See the vacancy announcement for details.

Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Managing the Stress of Change  
Wednesday, November 2, 2016
10:00—11:00 A.M. ET

Stress comes to all of us in one form or another. However , one of the greatest sources of stress is change! Change of location, change of routine, change of lifestyle, changes in   relationships due to separation, and the list goes on.

We hope you will join us to discuss effective management in dealing with change and the stress that comes along with it at our next webinar.

Participants will need a computer with a high-speed internet connection and computer speakers. The chat function will allow participants to post questions or comments during the presentation. 

To participate in the webinar visit:
Department of State Webinar.  enter as a guest and type your first name and your current or future post. 

Our partners from the Bureau of Medical Services Deployment Stress Management Program (DSMP) will facilitate the webinar and be available for a question and answer session.

Please request a copy of the digital participant workbook in advance of the webinar. We will refer to it throughout the session. Email FLOAskUT@state.gov to request a copy.

Please direct questions to FLO's Unaccompanied Tours office at 202-647-1076.

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

Employment Opportunity in FLO:  Employment specialist

Family members returning to Washington, DC may be interested in applying for the Employment specialist (GS-12) position in FLO.  The incumbent of this position is responsible for supporting a wide variety of family member employment programs and initiatives related to inside- and outside-the-mission employment overseas, professional development opportunities, and employment opportunities when returning to Washington.  The position is located in Washington, D.C., and may require some travel.  The application deadline for this position is 11:59 p.m.  EDT, October 28, 2016.  Visit FLO’s website for details and application instructions.

Monday, October 17, 2016

Try WorkLife4You Emergency Backup Care

When your child care plans fall through, try the Emergency Backup Care program. WorkLife4You (formally Information Quest) provides this service to help you secure—and pay for—reliable backup care.

Posted Overseas? You can use any of the backup care options for a family member in the U.S. For family members who are with you overseas, Emergency Backup Care will reimburse you for the cost of care (up to $100) if you use friends, family members, or a child care center.

WorkLife4You is the Department of State's free, comprehensive resource and referral program. For questions and log-in information, call (866) 552-4748 or email Specialist@LifeCare.com.
Please note, this service is for Department of State employees; others should contact their agency to inquire about the availability of similar programs.

Tuesday, October 11, 2016

FSYF Annual College Workshop for Parents and Teens (Grades 9 - 12)

Date:                     Saturday, October 15, 2016
Time:                     10 am - 2 pm
Location:             Oakwood Falls Church: State Room
Address:              501 Roosevelt Blvd, Falls Church 22044     
Fee:                        (fee includes lunch; pricing is per- person)
                                FSYF Members:  $15 per person
                                Non-Members:  $30 per person 

Rebecca Grappo, International Educational Consultant, Veteran of Foreign Service Life and founder of RNG International. 

Find out more about Becky at www.rnginternational.com 


The annual workshop is for parents and teens in grades 9 - 12. This workshop addresses the essay writing process, issues that arise from experiencing an international childhood, and how students can incorporate their overseas experiences as they prepare for the college search & application process.  This is a rare opportunity to speak with Becky Grappo and have your questions answered in person!

Topics to include:

How to incorporate Foreign Service experiences into an effective essay 
        What are admissions officers looking for 
How important is the essay?  
Can a student use an essay for multiple applications? 
Interrupted curriculum & extra-curriculars 
Teacher recommendations 
Essay topics 
IB vs AP
Planning college visits from overseas 
When to apply early decision
State residency 
Planning a gap year, and more....
Come with Questions and Leave with Answers!


Event is very popular and will fill quickly – Register Now!

Tuesday, September 27, 2016

FLO is on Facebook!

We look forward to sharing and connecting with our Foreign Service community on Facebook. Like our pageand turn on notifications to stay up to date with FLO news in the areas of family member employment, education and youth, crisis management, foreign service life, unaccompanied tour     support, and more.  

Monday, September 26, 2016

The GEI Program Expands

Over the course of the last 12 months, FLO’s Global Employment Initiative (GEI) has expanded to 20 GEAs worldwide. There are new Regional Global Employment Advisors (GEAs) in the EAP, WHA, EUR, and AF regions. GEI has also extended regional GEA services to the United Kingdom, Israel, and Mexico and now supports all Eligible Family Members (EFMs) and Members of Household (MOHs) under Chief of Mission Authority at 228 posts in 167 countries. GEAs support family members in their job search by providing resources, guidance, and facilitating skills development. GEI creates a worldwide network of job search and career transition professionals who understand the challenges EFMS and MOHs face when working overseas and when returning to the United States. For more information, visit the GEI webpage or to contact the GEA covering a specific post, email GEI@state.gov.


Tuesday, September 20, 2016

FLO Awards 2016-2017 Professional Development Fellowships

Every spring since 2004, FLO has enabled EFMs and MOHs to apply for fellowships through its Professional Development Fellowship (PDF). Fellowships of $1,000 to $2,500 are awarded each year. The purpose of the program is to assist EFMs and MOHs in maintaining, enhancing, and/or developing their professional skills while overseas.

The 2016-2017 season was particularly competitive--FLO received over 220 applications. Applications were reviewed by a selection committee and FLO is pleased to award 108 fellowships, surpassing previous years. Projects approved this season include renewing/maintaining state licensures and national board certification in accounting, medical, and legal occupations and attending local and/or online universities to maintain or complete a degree. Areas of study are varied and include global health policy, information technology, management, strategic communication, and foreign language.

Since its inception, the PDF program has supported more than 1,200 family members for a total of approximately $2,000,000 in fellowships. For more information on the program, visit FLO’s PDF webpage and look for announcements about the next open season in spring 2017.

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

For young people, going to college involves making some of their first major life decisions. Here are some tips for Foreign Service high schoolers on how to get it right.                          
The college application process is like the ultimate dating game. Every year a new batch of students puts themselves through the possibility of crushing rejection with hopes of finding acceptance with “the one.”

It’s an emotional and opaque process in which the student must also learn to live with the fact that the rules of the game are constantly changing. This year alone has seen the introduction of the new SAT, a rising interest in doing away with standardized
test scores and even the creation of a new application process—the coalition application.

With the stakes so high, the Family Liaison Office interviewed two college counseling experts—Judy Bracken and Rebecca Grappo—in search of best practices for applying to college and a heads-up on the biggest mistakes Foreign Service kids make.

Judy Bracken has 17 years of experience in Falls Church and Fairfax County, Virginia, public schools as a college and career counselor, and currently works as a counselor for private clients. Rebecca Grappo is the founder of RNG International Consultants and specializes in helping parents make the right educational choices for their Third Culture Kids. She has also worked as a teacher internationally and domestically.

Both Grappo and Bracken are parents of Foreign Service kids, so they have been through the process themselves and understand the unique challenges FS kids face while attempting to untangle the college application process. Our discussion is the basis for the pointers to Foreign Service students heading into the college application process offered here. 
To read the full article by Claire Wedderien follows this link:

Thursday, September 8, 2016

Employment Opportunity in FLO: CLO Program Specialist  

Family members returning to the Washington, DC area may be interested in applying for the CLO Program Specialist (GS-11) position in FLO. The incumbent of this position is responsible for providing a wide range of program assistance to the Community Liaison Office (CLO) Program through training, programmatic outreach, administrative and technical support, and development and maintenance of resources to guide and support CLO staff at more than 200 missions overseas. The incumbent reports to the Division Chief with day-to-day oversight from FLO’s CLO Program Officer. This position is located in Washington, DC, and requires some travel. The application deadline for this position is 11:59 p.m. ET, September 19, 2016. Visit FLO’s website for details and application instructions.  

Visit FLO’s website for details and application instructions.

Tuesday, September 6, 2016


Health Benefits of Sleep
from the Office of Medical Services

Use this infographic to remind yourself and your colleagues of four big health benefits of getting enough high-quality sleep.

The brain uses a quarter of the body's entire energy supply, yet only accounts for about two percent of the body's mass. So how does this unique organ receive and, perhaps more importantly, rid itself of vital nutrients? New research suggests it has to do with sleep. 
Jeff Lliff, a neuroscientist explores the unique functions of the brain.

Watch his Ted Talk:  One more reason to get a good night’s sleep

Tuesday, August 30, 2016

FLO Employment Resources

The Family Liaison Office (FLO) has many family member employment resources on its website. Below are just some of the resources available for family members.

Visit the FLO employment website for more great resources and email FLOAskEmployment@state.gov with employment questions.

 Frequently Asked Questions: Check out the FAQs for answers to questions about inside and outside the mission employment, returning to Washington, DC, FLO programs including the Expanded Professional Associates Program (EPAP) and the Professional Development Fellowship, and more.

 Functional Training: FLO manages enrollment in functional training courses offered at the Foreign Service Institute for EFMs in anticipation of employment at post. Available courses include Consular, General Services Operations, Facility Management, Human Resource Management, and Financial Management. Trainings are offered on a space available basis.

The Network: An email subscription service for EFMs seeking employment in the Washington, DC area. It is designed to connect family members with U.S. Department of State hiring managers, NGOs and private sector employers, as well as other employment resources.

The NCE Registry: The registry was created for EFMs returning from overseas who have earned NCE or who have Civil Service reinstatement eligibility. It is a tool to connect U.S. Department of State hiring managers to potential job applicants who are enrolled in the registry.

 Global Employment Initiative: In-country or regional Global Employment Advisors (GEAs) deliver workshops and will help with resumes, interviewing skills, employment strategies, and networking.

 Employment Publications and Resources: Includes publications about general employment topics, overseas, and returning to Washington, DC resources.

Monday, August 22, 2016

FSYF 2016 Fall and Summer Programs 

If you are in the Washington, DC area in the next few months, you and your children may be interested in the upcoming Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF) activities. For full details, visit FSYF’s website at www.fsyf.org

Welcome Back Picnic and 5k Fun Run on September 18
The picnic, which also features a 5K run, is an opportunity for families to gather, network, reconnect, meet newcomers, and welcome back others returning from overseas. RSVP on the FSYF website.
College Workshop on October 15
College admissions expert and Foreign Service family member Rebecca Grappo will present a workshop on college application issues specific to Third Culture Kids.

Thursday, August 18, 2016

Did you know?  

That an average of 15 percent family members work outside the mission? Eligible Family Members (EFMs) are permitted to work in countries with which the U.S. has a bilateral work agreement or de facto work arrangement. Before accepting a position outside the mission, EFMs must secure approval from the Chief of Mission. Family members can use the Chief of Mission Approval Memo template on FLO’s website, or check with post to learn if they have their own post-specific template. For any family member employment related questions, email FLOAskEmployment@state.gov.

Friday, July 29, 2016

EFM Job Opportunities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan

The Near Eastern Affairs and South and Central Asian Affairs Executive Office (NEA-SCA/EX) is pleased to announce the opening of currently available and Summer 2017 Eligible Family Member (EFM) job opportunities in Afghanistan, Iraq and Pakistan (Islamabad and Karachi) – Priority Staffing Posts (PSP). Currently, there are no EFM positions in Libya, Yemen, Peshawar, and Lahore. The Department of State and the Missions in PSPs are eager to hear from all EFMs considering employment in some of the highest priority Foreign Service environments.

You can find more information and a list of positions online. If you are unable to access the links with the lists of available EFM jobs or have questions contact Honeylee Temblador at TembladorHY@state.gov or Karen Foulks at FoulksKR1@State.gov. Applications must be received by September 26, 2016, for early consideration, interviews and offers.

Visit FLO on the Internet at: www.state.gov/flo or email: FLO@state.gov; or call (800) 440-0397 or (202) 647-1076.

To subscribe, email: FLOPublications@state.gov