Today I started my time at the Foreign Service Institute. For those of you who do not read the blog (and how could you because its been awhile since we have written), I am taking French at the state department foreign language center. This is because I have to test at a high level in a language to get tenure in USAID's foreign service. Bangkok is non language designated post, which means the office operates primarily in English. Therefore, I got to chose my language. And for some reason I don't currently remember, I chose French. Ok, that's a joke. I took French because I want to work in Africa (I know, mom just started crying).

The first day was interesting. It began with a nice orientation, a video that displays how awesome FSI is. It was all about the importance of learning styles and the efforts the institute takes to adapt and help you learn. It did give me a warm and fuzzy feeling, and calmed some of my anxiety. Next we broke into our language sections.

I was concerned initially because it was clear that the French department had no information on me at all (I blame USAID, its a go to these days). However, they recovered nicely and placed me in a B block - 0 class. This means I am starting out with people whose French experience, like my own, is limited to fries, toast and the occasional kissing :) B Block indicates the times during the day I will be taking instructor led classes. B is the late shift so my instructor lead classes are from 10-12 and 2-4 (ish).

Now for those of you unfamiliar with FSI structure, no I am not "not working" the rest of the hours of the day. In fact, FSI swears you learn the most studying on your own in these working periods. Additionally, this is when I can go to the language lab and practice with my classmates. Speaking of classmates, the gentlemen in my group seem excited and just as clueless as myself. All four (though I feel one will be moved on faster than the rest of us) were enthusiastic beginners just as reluctant as me. And thankfully I had met one of them in previous trainings. He is a DLIer too :)

I did get some sad news. Unfortunetly, since thailand is not a french based country I will be unable to take area studies while at FSI. This sucks because this was my only chance to learn about Thailand. Hopefully, I can convince Tom Marr to send me back later. Fingers crossed. Though this does mean I do not have to be at work until 1:30 tomorrow. Hehehe!

From there I took the required tests. FSI asks you to take all these "tests" to determine how best you learn. These include the Myers Briggs that USAID holds so dear. This was kinda awful. It felt like there were 12 tests asking the same thing. Probably because there were.

Finally, there was an hour of an actual French class. The teacher is a Senegalese professor, who is enthusiastic to teach us. He did ask me if I was a cowboy because I was from Texas. So here is one of the many sentences I learned in French today..."Je ne suis pas un cowboy." Look it up if you haven't figured it out.

So I plan to keep you all up to date on my French language learning! Thankfully, I have Daniel at FSI to keep me company at lunch for a couple weeks and to carpool with here and there. Also, thanks everyone for the Facebook and email well wishes today. To be honest your support got me through a hard day.

**Day ended with a surprise migraine and the dogs gifting me a destroyed trash bag when I got home.

***Don't forget to vote tomorrow!


  1. good luck whitney! wish I knew how to say that in french...

  2. bon chance!

    voulez vouz couchez . . . eh you know how it goes


The Dubinskys' Travels © 2013. All Rights Reserved. Powered by Blogger