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    I ask a few questions a few months back about the FO and was thankful to get some great advice!

    I'd love to work for the foreign office as a diplomat but I understand that the Civil Service Fast Stream is incredibly hard to get into. So assuming I don't get in in my first attempt, second attempt, third...or never, what alternatives do I have which offer a similar job role?

    What I like about the FO:

    >The opportunity to live abroad and learn new languages
    >Work can be quite general, practical and varied
    >Working for the country and not shareholders

    I once did some work exp at a small charity which had projects abroad. A few of the project leaders went abroad to 'audit' the projects. If i'm honest, this didn't quite do it for me.

    A bit about me

    23 yo first class physics grad. Currently undertaking an accountancy qualification (ACA) which I'll be leaving half way through as I'm finding it dull and I don't want to work in finance. Saying that, i'll be a part qualified accountant and have passed most of the exams by the time I leave.
    I'm looking to do an International Relations Masters abroad with a language which will be either Spanish or Mandarin. I'm open if necessary, though reluctant, to develop my language ability by doing a TEFL afterwards as it's fluency or nothing for me really. I'm interested in Chinese culture but would prefer to holiday/live in S America in the long term future. Add in that mandarin is very hard to attain fluency, then i'm considering learning spanish while doing MA in China. If that's ridiculous then let me know!

    Any responses will be very much appreciated!

    European Fast Stream? UN Young Professionals Programme? DfID graduate scheme?

    Still competitive but no harm in trying alongside applying for FS. With languages, it's definitely a good idea to get a mixture of official EU/UN languages and 'rarer' ones (regional ones are good though if you're interested in building a career around a particular region). You could also consider volunteering for ICS (it doesn't cost you anything as it's funded by the govt) - good experience when applying for jobs in the sector. Many INGOs have certain roles which require a fair bit of travel. Keep an eye on reliefweb.int, devex, idealist.org, etc. for some jobs - you're unlikely to be qualified for the majority of them at this stage but at the very least you can get a better idea of what they look for and build up your experience around that.

    Depending on interests, have a look at a lot of the NGOs out there - the UN has a lot of subgroups like the IMO in London which often need staff. I'd also focus on a lot of the big multi-national companies - some, like the Defence sector like BAE, Rolls Royce, MBDA etc have global offices and need staff with languages and a willingness to work overseas. Also in HMG, try MOD, UKTI, DFID and other departments - many of them have overseas posts, often as part of the Embassy.
    You will find that as your career progresses, overseas opportunities are less keenly contested at more senior levels, as people get married and have families - its one thing to want to work in an Embassy at 23, its another thing at 43 when it means your partner changing job, taking kids out of school etc. This means at more senior levels, there are often a lot fewer applicants than you may think. As such, I would remember that you have a whole career to work abroad, so don't worry if it doesnt happen straight away, instead focus on building up your skills and employability.

    British Council.

    A financial qualification would be very helpful for this.
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