Have you ever wondered how diplomats become diplomats? What training and skills does it take to work as an international Foreign Service officer? These are just some of the questions many people think about when looking at a career as a Foreign Service officer, or working internationally.

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Source: Masterstudies.com


So, you want to be a diplomat?

Good public speaking skills, dedication, conscientiousness, and a good understanding of laws and policies are just some of the skills required to become a diplomat. Although language learning is not a requirement, this may change with the globalisation of the world and the increased push for students and professionals to learn another language. That is why that although language learning is not mandatory, the aptitude or ability to learn languages it is a very highly regarded skill and may be the make or break point to that job as a Foreign Service officer.

Why are language skills highly regarded? Communication with people from all around the world is at the core of what diplomats do every day, which is why foreign languages are highly sought after as it allows us to better communicate with people. For businesses, the ability to communicate in another language is immensely helpful when taking your business overseas. The changing attitude and the globalisation of business has made learning foreign languages a highly sought after skill, so while it is not a strict requirement for joining the foreign service, many global companies view it as advantageous should diplomats or international workers come in with foreign language skills.

What to learn to become a diplomat

If you’re a student or a professional wanting to change career paths, besides taking classes on international law and business, history and politics, you can prepare by learning a foreign language and putting it to use in a job in a foreign country.

Those on track to work as a Foreign Service officer do receive language training. For example, the U.S. Department of State has a training centre where Foreign Service officers study languages, culture, and international affairs. Many current and former diplomats do supplement their language learning with self-study or additional training, either beforehand or during their course as a way to improve their proficiency and get ahead of other potential service officers.

What languages do Foreign Service officers recommend?

Some obvious choices for foreign language learning include English, Spanish, and French because of their widespread use in many countries. However, many Foreign Service officers recite that the United Nations (UN) and governments often actively look for candidates who show impressive skills in the considered “difficult languages” such as Chinese, Arabic and Russian.

Learn foreign languages like a diplomat

One of the key tips many current and former diplomats have is that total immersion is the key to mastering a foreign language quickly. The more you immerse yourself in the language, culture and environment – reading, writing and speaking to people, the more rapid your progress will be.

Take training into your own hands. Look for programs and materials that incorporate a wide range of specific content and terminology that will benefit you through practical application. Classes that focus on conversation, interview techniques, reading, presenting and public speaking are the types of language schools to look for.

Language schools such as Berlitz use the total immersion method, where instruction is given by native speakers who teach the culture as well as teaching their language. Get started on the path to becoming a diplomat with Berlitz Jordan, where classrooms are filled with students speaking French, German, Portuguese, Arabic, English and countless other languages that are a veritable United Nations of speech.