Sunday, January 3, 2010

The World as Seen from State

As I mentioned in a June post: Kolkata is State Magazine's Post of the Month, State puts out a great internal magazine for employees. One of the best features is the regular cartoon in the back that really speaks to the foreign service life.

See more at This is one of my favorites.


Digger said...

I am not much of a fann of the magazine in is a bit too "ra-ra" for me...but I LOVE the cartoons. I also like that you can tell which posts NOT to bid on if you read between the lines in the post of the month the ones that tell you a lot about travelling away from post!

Natalie Buda Smith said...

LOL! Thanks for posting the tip.

Mom said...

I've been perusing the magazine tonight trying to find information on various posts. I'm having a hard time finding out why certain locations are listed as 'hardship posts.'

If you could direct me at all to the location where that particular information can be found, I would be SO grateful.

I did finally locate the individual post listings and what each hardship and danger percentage was considered to be.

I have so many questions and thoughts. Reading through your posts has answered many of my questions. Thank you so much for taking the time to write about your experience. My husband just registered for the FSOT and will likely take it in February. I have no doubt that he will pass. It's exciting and scary all at the same time...

Things I still want to know if you happen to have time to give me some direction:
- How can I find out if certain locations have government provided housing or will require LQA?
- How can I find out WHY a post has been given a certain hardship listing?
- We have 2 adults and 2 children. If we are at a post that has government housing, will we have a separate room for each child or will they be expected to share?
- What is allowed to be taken in the UAB and HHE shipments and what is the weight limit given for each?
- How many pets do they allow you to take with you and are there certain types of animals that will not be allowed? (we have cats and a turtle)

I know I'm sort of bombarding you with all this. I hope you will forgive me for the intrusion. If you wish to email me ---

Natalie Buda Smith said...

I just wrote a post called The Differences Between the Hardship, Danger, Service-Needs Differential and Hard-to-Fill Designationsthat I hope you will find useful on top of what you have already found.

As the Living Quarters Allowance question, some posts require all of their officers to find housing with a Living Quarters Allowance; while some have officers living in government-owned, government-leased and/or with a Living Quarters Allowance. My first thought is to look at the information provided by the Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) or through their intranet site, Post Info to Go. I haven’t seen a list on the internet as of yet, so that will be something to research once you get the bid list and access to State’s intranet. The OBC’s resources are also good to answer the why a post has a certain hardship.

For the number bedrooms question, it depends on the post. If the housing is typically small, like some large cities in Europe, they may not have separate bedrooms. If the housing is spacious, as in Kolkata, they most likely will. Another factor is what is available in the pool of housing, but in general I have heard much more positive feedback about housing than negative. The General Services Office and Housing Board really tries to accommodate your needs.

I may have answered your shipment questions in Making Our Lists. If not let me know.

For the pet question, the only limitations I have seen on pets have been a country’s import regulations and landlord restrictions, if you are in leased housing. Otherwise, I haven’t seen official limitations from State to-date.

Please keep on asking questions. It is great feedback for me and others.