Request for advice re International Affairs career

Discussion in 'Politics & Diplomacy' started by Mongo, Sep 6, 2016.

  1. Mongo

    Mongo Senior Member

    Apr 23, 2007
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    My friend's son, a recent graduate of Carleton University with a Bachelor's degree in Political Science, would like to enter a career in foreign service with the federal government. I have a few questions about what he should do to make this happen, and would very much appreciate any replies I get here.

    1. Is a Bachelor's degree enough? If he wants to go for a Master's degree, is it possible to work towards one while still working out of country, for example through correspondence / online courses? Does the federal government offer programs to do so while working for them?

    2. Does the federal government have programs set up to recruit and guide new people into their international affairs career tracks?

    3. If he is sent out of country, can provision be made for his long-time girlfriend to accompany him?

    I welcome advice from career international affairs people about how to start a career in foreign relations for the government, and advice about what to expect during his career.

  2. DSC

    DSC Senior Member

    Jan 13, 2008
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    St Lawrence Market Area
    Look at:
  3. Admiral Beez

    Admiral Beez Senior Member

    Apr 28, 2007
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    This reminds me of myself. In 1994 I graduated from Carleton U. with PolySci majored in International Relations. At the time I was working as a part time customs officer at Pearson in the summers, as part of the gov't student employement program. I wrote the LSAT and gov't and foreign service exams, considered applying to CSIS like some of my mates, and applied to be a full time customs officer. As a Brit-born Canuck I considered going to London to do my MA at the LSE. However I needed to get to work, so the MA was out, and I couldn't get a government job, besides customs, which is a career of monotonous shiftwork I didn't want. So, I ended up doing a Post Diploma in Int'l Biz at GBC, and through my co-op placement ended up in freight forwarding (first job paid $26K in 1996, I though I was rich, lol!), then onto international sales, where I got to work with trade commissioners across the world, including joining Paul Martin on a Team Canada mission to China in 2005. During my career I realized I dodged bullet, since those gov't jobs were not the right fit for me at all, low pay, tons of slow bureaucracy - though the DB pension would have been nice now that I'm 45 and 20 years into my career.

    One path I almost explored after grad from Carleton was RMC, or direct recruitment right then, as BA guarantees you a commission via the Direct Entry Program. I had been involved in both Navy and Army Cadets through my teens, and often considered joining the forces, likely the navy. Had I not been in a longterm relationship which led to my marriage and family, I would have likely have gone that route. An education in international relations would be useful in the military, and it would be much more exciting than a foreign trade desk or taking minutes in Brussels, etc.
    Last edited: Nov 6, 2016
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