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Foreign Service Cultural Affairs Officer

Build friendly connections between the US and other countries.

What does a Foreign Service Cultural Affairs Officer do?

Being a Foreign Service Officer means advocating for the interests of the United States while also creating connections with foreign countries. When you decide to become a Foreign Service Cultural Affairs Officer, your entire job becomes focused on cultivating friendships and understanding between the US and other nations.

Within the Foreign Service, there are five different career paths that you can choose from when you initially join. One of those paths is public diplomacy, and it’s under that broad heading that you can find the office where Foreign Service Cultural Affairs Officers are employed. Every country with a US embassy has a cultural affairs office, so you can find yourself stationed pretty much anywhere in the world.

As a Foreign Service Cultural Affairs Officer, you can think of yourself as a mix between a Professor and an Event Planner. Like a Professor, you educate, the subject being the United States and its culture. Rather than simply giving lectures, though, you arrange events.

You do things like hosting American dance troupes, planning musical performances, or facilitating student visits to your host country. You also arrange for native English speakers to work abroad in schools, help college students find positions as Fulbright scholars, or answer general questions about US policies.

Though much of your work is focused on improving international views of the US and its policies, you also do quite a bit of work at home. Much of this job centers on writing and researching, and you create reports to update the State Department and other officials on your host country. You might also explain confusing cultural norms or how social media is being used to shape the youth culture abroad.