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.

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Career Transition Center

Are you more than ten years away from retirement eligibility and in the early-to-mid stages of your career? This two-day future-oriented financial and legal seminar is for you!

Course Dates
November 9 – 10, 2015
January 12 – 13, 2016
May 3 - 4, 2016
June 8 – 9, 2016

Do you have fewer than ten years until retirement? Don't wait! Prepare by attending the four-day seminar as soon as possible.

Course Dates
July 27 – 30, 2015 (space is available!)
September 28 – October 1, 2015
November 30 – December 3, 2015
March 1 – 4, 2016
April 11 – 14, 2016
June 20 – 23, 2016
July 25 – 28, 2016
September 26 – 29, 2016

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Overseas Briefing Center

Get Your Post Info to Go!

Are you looking for your next post? Do you need more details about life at post? Post Info To Go from the Overseas Briefing Center (FSI/TC/OBC) offers you a wide array of insights and knowledge from posts worldwide. Don't have access to the State intranet? 

Email the OBC for assistance and additional information about using Post Info To Go no matter where you are.

There are also a variety of supplemental resources that have been compiled on our publicly accessible site at

Allowances at each post (TIP! This information is available in a compiled format in Post Info To Go and you can compare up to three countries side-by-side!)

Travel warnings and consular information sheets

Links to Foreign Service Life Skills Training information

List of Foreign Affairs Offices and organizations

Don't know where to start? Contact the Overseas Briefing Center to discuss your questions and find answers for your next move to post!

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Resources For Children To Help Cope With Separation

Children's Resources for Unaccompanied Tours families:

Children's age appropriate workbooks designed to help your children cope with separation.  To request one for your child, email us at FLOaskUT@state.gov.

Monday, July 6, 2015

Brown bag lunch with the Career Development

 Resource center team

The Bureau of Human Resources

Career Development Resource Center


Brown bag lunch with the
Career Development Resource center team

Wednesday, July 8, 2015
Noon to 1 p.m.
CDRC Library; SA-1, Room L-321
  •   To eat – bring your own lunch
  •   To network and discuss engaging career topics with one of the topnotch career counselors of the CDRC – Mary Santulli.  Come prepared with questions on topics including resumes, networking, interviewing, success on the job, career branding, etc.

This workshop is open to all employees of the Department of State:  Civil Service, Foreign Service, Interns, Fellows, and Eligible Family Members. Reservations are not required.

The Career Development Resource Center (CDRC) is located in Columbia Plaza (SA-1) in room L-321. Civil Service employees, Foreign Service employees, fellows and Foreign Service Eligible Family Members of the U.S. Department of State may call 202-663-3042 to schedule an appointment with a Senior Career Counselor to discuss individual career development needs including resume review, Individual Development Plans, long-term career planning and goals, accomplishment statements, and networking. All Department of State employees may visit the CDRC to pick up handouts or borrow career development resources from the library.

Tuesday, June 30, 2015

Don’t Forget to Join the FLO Telework Connection LinkedIn Group

The FLO Telework Connection LinkedIn group is a first step in a pilot project to connect talented family members with potential employers.

We currently have 175 members and are starting to invite employers to join and begin posting opportunities. Don’t forget to join this new group to make sure that interested employers see what you have to offer.

For more information, email FLOAskEmployment@state.gov.

Thursday, June 25, 2015

The Family Liaison Office 
The Foreign Service Youth Foundation
cordially invite you to the 

2015 Youth Awards Ceremony

as we honor our
 FSYF Contest and Award Winners,
AAFSW Scholarship Merit Award Winners, 
 Children with Parents Serving at Unaccompanied Posts

Friday, July 10th, 2015
10:00am - 12:00pm

Location of Event
Department of State's George C. Marshall Center
2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520
Use East Entrance on 21st Street


Wednesday, June 24, 2015

5K Run and GORUCK Light Challenge with Veterans@State

The Department of State Veterans group invites you to join us in some physical team building challenges. Summer 2015 we are getting out and active. Join us and experience the camaraderie that accompanies the completion of team based physical events. Details for the two events are listed below. We encourage interested parties to sign up individually to secure your place. A Veterans@state forum will be provided to coordinate pre-race and post-race activities.
Non-Veterans, families and friends welcome to join!

Start Point: Bull Run Park
7700 Bull Run Dr., Centreville, VA 20121
Participants or “Ruckers” of all ages and abilities are welcome. Ruck as fast as you can or as slow as you want, this isn’t about personal records – it’s about getting active and having fun with family and friends.
Most 5K’s start too early in the morning and you don’t meet anyone new. GORUCK 5K’s start in the afternoon where you and your friends ruck with some of the best people you can meet.
** Rucking is a walking or jogging exercise while wearing a backpack or other “rucksack” to carry supplies/weight for a set distance.

Start Point: TBA at least one week from event
4-5 hours, 7-10 miles
GORUCK Light Challenge = Fun Rucking while tackling team challenges. Average completion rate: 100%
Maybe you’re still not sure about GORUCK, but you want to do something. GORUCK Light is an easy to accomplish team relay. It’s a lighter vibe, lighter loads and less time commitment, which means more time to socialize with your class after you’re done.
The average completion rate of those who show up is 100%. If you can do a 5K, you can do a GORUCK Light Challenge.
For any questions on the events, please feel free to contact the Veterans@state Special Events Coordinator, Jared Sarkis, at sarkisjs@state.gov. If you are interested in joining the Veterans at State EAG or would like more information, please visit our SharePoint site: Veterans@State

Friday, June 19, 2015

Looking for College Options? UMUC Offers 25% Discount

In 2014, the U.S. Office of Personnel Management (OPM) and the University of Maryland University College (UMUC) signed a first-of-its-kind agreement to provide a 25 percent discount on out-of-state tuition rates on courses, certificates, and degree programs to all current Federal employees, spouses, and their legal dependents.

Those who are eligible can take individual courses or enroll in any of UMUC’s 95 undergraduate and graduate degree or certificate programs, most of which are available fully online. Visit UMUC’s website for more information and to enroll.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Free 2-Day Summer Youth Program for Children Grades 2-12

Foreign affairs agency children in grades 2–12 are invited for two days of exploration into the world of diplomacy and realities of living overseas as an American. The young diplomat participants will also explore safety and security threats they might face overseas and identify resources to protect themselves. This course is highly interactive. Children are divided by age and all information is shared using age appropriate activities and details.

**Session attendance is limited. Register now to guarantee your preferred session**

Who May Attend: Open to all Foreign Affairs agency children in rising grades 2-12 (no exceptions)

PLEASE NOTE: A parent or guardian is required to be on campus. This youth course runs simultaneously to MQ911 Security Overseas Seminar. Parents are encouraged to register for MQ911.

Where and When: At the Foreign Service Institute, George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, Arlington, VA from 9:00am-4:00pm on July 13-14, July 20-21, July 27-28, August 3-4, and August 10-11.

How to Register: To register please email FSITCTraining@state.gov with all of the following information: which course offering you are interested in enrolling your children, the name of youth participant(s), rising grade levels, agency affiliation, and a preferred email contact.

Questions: For questions about this seminar please contact coordinators at FSITCTraining@state.gov.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015

Transfer Season = More Employment Opportunities in FLO

You may have noticed several employment opportunities in FLO in recent weeks. FLO goes through transition season along with the rest of the Foreign Service community. We are all family members and many of us are moving on to our next adventure. We hope that those of you moving back to the DC area this season will consider applying for one of the positions below.

 Education and Youth Program Specialist (GS-09) - See vacancy announcement for details.

 Unaccompanied Tours Specialist (GS-09) - See vacancy announcement for details.

 Crisis Management and Support Program Specialist (GS-09) - See vacancy announcement for details.

All positions are located in Washington, DC and may require some travel. The positions are full time, two-year limited appointments, with potential to be extended up to a maximum of five years. The appointments are not in the Competitive Service. The application deadline for all three positions is 11:59 p.m. ET, June 24th, 2015.

Monday, June 15, 2015

IQ Quest - Summer Care: We’re here to help!

Summer is here but don’t worry if your summer care plans are still pending!  Information Quest (IQ) offers personalized guidance, targeted information and customized resources and referrals to meet your family’s unique summer care needs, including:

Personalized Referrals

Specialists are standing by 24/7 to refer you to summer camps and programs and child care providers that are the right fit for you and your family, including:
·         Day and residential programs
·         Specialized programs (sports, academic, art, special needs, etc.)
·         Child care centers
·         Family day care
·         In-home care (nannies, au pairs, babysitters)
·         And more!

Plus, you have access to Emergency Backup Dependent Care, a program designed to help you secure—and pay for—backup care when your care plans are disrupted. Emergency Backup Care provides:
·         Ample coverage — 5 days per year for each eligible family member
·         An extensive network of credentialed child care centers or in-home care providers which only require a $10 co-pay for up to a full day of care
·         Reserve care up to 30 days in advance or request for last-minute emergencies

Access Interactive Tools

Log on to the WorkLife4You website to access tips, checklists and in-depth articles to help your whole family plan for summer on topics such as:
·         How to find and evaluate summer camps
·         Discover summer options for teens
·         How to prepare your child for residential summer camp
·         Summer camp health & safety tips
·         Summer fun with the whole family
·         How to keep kids learning to avoid summer brain drain
·         And more!

Get Summer Savings

Visit the online Discount Center for helpful savings on millions of brand-name products and services nationwide for all of your needs this summer!

For additional information and/or to request the services please call 1-866-552-IQ4U (4748) or TTY: 1-800-873-1322.   

Tuesday, June 9, 2015

The Family Liaison Office 
The Foreign Service

 Youth Foundation
cordially invite you to the 

2015 Youth Awards


as we honor our
 FSYF Contest and Award Winners,
AAFSW Scholarship Merit Award Winners, 
 Children with Parents Serving

at Unaccompanied Posts

Friday, July 10th, 2015
10:00am - 12:00pm
Location of Event
Department of State's George C. Marshall Center
2201 C Street NW, Washington, DC 20520
Use East Entrance on 21st Street


Friday, June 5, 2015

It can be challenging at times to balance the demands of work and life. We may feel the need to do more in less time at work – or to be available at all times in today's connected world.
We may also feel pressure to shine in all the other areas of our life – as a parent, as a spouse or partner, as a friend. These demands can make us feel burned out, stressed, unproductive, and unwell.
This month's Member Pulse digest features tips for finding the work-life balance that's best for you. Just click on the titles below to go directly to the articles.
·         Work-life balance: tips to reclaim control
Do you feel overwhelmed when you think of your to-do list at work? Do you often work long hours or work on your days off? Juggling work and life demands isn't easy, but these tips can help you keep a healthier balance.
·         Stress relief: when and how to say no
At some point, most of us have said "yes" to taking on a task that we simply didn't have time to do. It's harder to say "no," but doing so can be much better for our stress level. Read more for tips on why, when and how to say "no."
·         Job burnout: how to spot it and take action
Are you irritable around your co-workers or clients? Feeling cynical or critical at work? Suffering from unexplained backaches or headaches or a lack of energy? You could be experiencing job burnout. Job burnout can hurt your health, career and relationships. Find out if you're at risk of burnout and what to do if you are experiencing it.
·         Your EAP: daily living services
Not enough hours in the day to finish everything on your "to-do" list? Your EAP can help you find the right business or service to meet your needs – from a pet-friendly hotel for your next trip to a reliable plumber. Services we can find for you include:
    • Hotel accommodations
    • Repair and maintenance for your home or car
    • Transportation services
    • Pet services
    • Relocation assistance

Tuesday, June 2, 2015

The Ralph Bunche Library Speaker Series Presents: Understanding Violence - Lessons from Una Chapman Cox Fellow Sherry Zalika Sykes and three Virtual Student Interns
Amy Chang, Yale University; William Che Nembhard, Howard University; Melissa Pavlik, University of Chicago; and Amy Sereday, Columbia University.

Ralph Bunche Library

Thursday, June 4, 2015 @ Noon

 Room 3239, HST

Friday, May 29, 2015

Summer is on its way and and transfer season is in full bloom.
Stress can become a factor during this transition time, especially in children.         For those who missed our webinar on Stress Resilience for Kids, the link to the recorded webinar is now available by emailing your request to: FLOaskUT@state.gov.  

Tuesday, May 26, 2015

FSYF Summer 'Meet-Up' Events Return! During the summer months, FSYF hosts meet-up events at fun, local area venues for FSYF families. These casual events do not require a reservation or registration! For more information contact FSYF at fsyf@fsyf.org 
"The Army Blues" at Lubber Run Amphitheater, Friday, June 19, 8pm: The U.S. Army Blues, part of the United States Army Band "Pershing's Own", is a premier jazz ensemble.  Join other FSYF families at this free performance under the stars in beautiful Lubber Run Park in central Arlington (two blocks north of Route 50/Arlington Blvd.) at North Columbus St. & 2nd St. North.

About the Foreign Service Youth Foundation: Since 1989, FSYF has helped Foreign Service youth embrace the adventure of an internationally-mobile childhood by encouraging resilience and fostering camaraderie.  Global programs include: a Foreign Service youth-written newsletter, a parent newsletter, five annual contests,and two scholarships for college-bound seniors.  D.C.-area events include: re-entry seminars for high school and middle school students, a college admissions workshop, teen/tween game nights at Oakwood Apartments, and a FAll welcome back picnic.  FSYF also assists FLO and AAFSW in providing emergency support to families evacuated from overseas.  For more information, visit www.fsyf.org. CFC code 39436.

Friday, May 22, 2015

FSI - Transition Center is offering a free seminar:

May 30 Morning & Afternoon | Our Going Overseas SuperSaturday includes four FREE non-tuition courses for adults and children addressing both the psychological and the logistical preparations necessary when planning an overseas move. The highly interactive presentations in each course introduce all ages to the impact and logistics of an impending international move and help families and couples plan together. See below for which of the courses best meet your family's needs. See the course page for registration instructions.

Morning Options: 9:00am–12:00pm
  • Going Overseas for Families: This workshop designed for families addresses the concerns and excitement around the coming international move and makes them think about how they plan to prepare for it. Specific sessions focus on making transitions and dealing with stress. Children in grades 2-12 attend this class along with their parents.
  • Going Overseas for Singles and Couples without Children: In this interactive workshop, individuals and couples discuss the four stages of moving and brainstorm methods to manage stress and communicate effectively through the transition.
Afternoon Options: 1:00pm–3:30pm
  • Going Overseas: Logistics for Adults: For the afternoon session, adult participants attend this session to receive invaluable information on the logistics of moving overseas and learn the "nuts and bolts" of making this move.
  • Going Overseas: Logistics for Children: Children in grades 2-12 will be introduced to the logistics planning necessary for their international move. The children engage in thinking about the impending packout and prioritize what they would like to take with them.

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

New Course for High Stress Assignments!!

FSI Announces: Pre-Deployment Preparation for 
High Stress Assignments (MQ940)

June 3, 2015 ~ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm
July 8, 2015 ~ 6:00 pm – 9:00 pm

This course has the simple goal of empowering employees and/or couples to be better personally prepared for an extended assignment to a high stress post. You will learn and examine the successful strategies of Foreign Service employees and couples who managed to find a way to survive a high threat assignment.
Course Objectives:
1.      Understand, predict, and plan for the underlying dynamics of decision making, separation, deployment and repatriation from a high stress assignment.
2.      Become familiar with the full range of resources available to both employees and family members related to an unaccompanied tour.
3.      Develop productive communication and dialogue patterns that are mutually sustaining for all phases of a high stress assignment.
4.      Understand the unique stresses on family members as well as employees during an unaccompanied tour and develop a mutual plan to protect the relationships involved.

Who should attend: 
Open to Foreign Affairs agency employees and couples with an onward assignment to a High Treat Post.

At the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, Foreign Service Institute, Arlington, VA in room E2118.

How to Register:
·         State Department Employees may follow this link -http://reg.fsi.state.gov/CourseCatalog.aspx?EventId=MQ940
·         EFMs register through the employee’s CDO/Training Officer
·         All other USG employees and EFMs must submit an SF-182

For questions about this seminar please contact Laura Miller at MillerLE@state.gov.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

How to make stress your friend

Kelly McGonigal: How to make stress your friend- 
Stress. It makes your heart pound, your breathing quicken and your forehead sweat. But while stress has been made into a public health enemy, new research suggests that stress may only be bad for you if you believe that to be the case. Psychologist Kelly McGonigal urges us to see stress as a positive, and introduces us to an unsung mechanism for stress reduction: reaching out to others.

Click on the link below to find out how to make stress your friend.

Revolutionary way to look at stress

Friday, May 15, 2015

Ops Center FAQs

                                 Click on State Magazine for full article