of The Few to Pass Foreign Service Exams on the First Try, May Graduate
Awaits Call That Will Take Her Overseas
9, 2000 -- When University of Virginia 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 master's and Ph.D. degrees.
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 of graduating from U.Va. on May 21, depending on
job availability, Boiler could be overseas representing the United
States and its foreign policies.
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 graduated in 1996 from Courtland
High School. Beginning this summer, she will work in a Northern
Virginia consulting firm. She plans eventually to get a master's
degree in business and international relations to combine her interests.
U.Va., Boiler majored in foreign
affairs with a concentration in Southeast Asia and minored in
Spanish. She feels her classes prepared her for the foreign service
be eligible to take the exam, 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.
The oral exam is devised 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 or family."
the next two years while Boiler works in Northern Virginia, she
will wait for the call that could send her across the world to represent
the United States.
more information, contact Christina Boiler at (804) 244-4019 or
Jill Johnson, (804) 924-7116