aaronmartz.com and annamartz.com

at your service in the diplomatic corps of the United States of America

Saturday, April 29, 2006

First Impressions of Consular Training

Consular Training Materials
I started consular training (also known as "con gen") last week on Monday. As a family member, I can take con gen if there is a position available at post as a consular associate - an assistant to the vice consuls and the consular section in general at an embassy or consulate in general. This is the exact same class that FSOs doing consular tours have to take with the exception of some days when a top secret clearance is required. On those days, I don't accompany the rest of the class and get a day off.

(Fake) Consulate General of the United States
The class has been very interesting so far. In my last job, I was in charge of the federal and private student loan programs at a small private university. It was Department of Education regulations day in and day out - work that many found boring, but I loved it. I've had a job before with a tax lawyer doing research on tax regulations, so I read through a lot of IRS publications. I don't know why I do, but I enjoy stuff like this a lot. Maybe I would have been a good lawyer if I had chosen that path. It's just really interesting to see how this stuff all really works.

Visa Interview Windows 1 and 2
The class is divided up into four different sections: Passports and Nationality, Immigrant Visas, Nonimmigrant Visas, and American Citizen Services. We just took our PPT/NAT exam last week and started IV. It's all so fascinating, and the consular training division really gets into it. There's a jail and a fake consulate complete with interview windows and fingerprint scanners in two of the classrooms.

Consular Class Jail Cell
I recently started carrying my camera everywhere so that I could do a better job of documenting things. I was so excited about the jail and the visa windows that I snuck a couple of pictures after the tour of our area was over. The jail cell has a twin bed and a toilet and even comes with three rats, a bat, and some spiders for effect. No, the toilet doesn't work. You can see a fuzzy brown mouse on the pillow and another on top of the toilet. I took a picture of the third one, but it's a yucky black rubber one, so I didn't bother posting it here.


  • At 1:35 AM , Anonymous sister-in-law said...

    Good thing you have your new roomy Coach to accomodate your camera everywhere you go :c) I'm enjoying the increase in pictures on your site. Make sure you have a way to charge your camera battery on the appropriate wattage before you go over if possible---the pics you will want the most are the first ones! :c) (yes, I fried my then fiance's camera charger overseas)


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