passes a special test
By Jill Johnson
U.Va. student Christina Boiler took the foreign service exam in
November, she never expected to pass. After all, the national
pass rate is low, and she was taking the test with ex-Peace Corps
volunteers, lawyers, business professionals and people with advanced
at age 22, Boiler defied the odds by passing both the written
and oral parts of the exam. If she passes the security clearance,
she will be eligible for a much-coveted foreign service officer
job. Within two years, depending on job availability, Boiler could
be overseas representing the United States and its foreign policies.
She is excited about such a possibility. "I would like to
learn another language and culture while furthering U.S. interests
abroad. What better way to do that than to work for the U.S. in
an international setting?" she said.
native of Spotsylvania County, Boiler will work in a Northern
Virginia consulting firm starting this summer. She eventually
plans to get a master's degree in business and international relations
to combine her interests. At U.Va., Boiler majored in foreign
affairs with a concentration in Southeast Asia, and minored
She feels her classes prepared her well for the foreign service
be eligible, a person has to be a U.S. citizen between the ages
of 20 and 59. The first exam is written, consisting of English
usage, general knowledge and personality-related questions.
the approximately 10,000 people who took this portion in November,
the foreign service only offered the oral exam to 3,000 people.
Its purpose is to see how potential officers would react in real-life,
diplomatic situations. Test-takers engage in role-playing and
writing activities to assess their communication skills.
than half of the applicants pass the written and oral components
of the foreign service exam on the first try, said an official
with the department's board of examiners.
tests were hard, but fair," Boiler said. "They test
you for your ability, not your education, experience, friends
graduating, Boiler will enter the workforce like many others,
but she'll also be waiting -- waiting for the call that could
send her across the world to represent her country.
press release on One
of The Few to Pass Foreign Service Exams on the First Try, May
Graduate Awaits Call That Will Take Her Overseas