Whenever I’m new to something, I like to observe and information gather for a period at the beginning. Given that the Foreign Service is like an entirely new planet that I landed in, you can make the assumption that I need to do lots and lots of observation. This helps me in a variety of ways. It can minimize embarrassment, help me feel acclimated faster and overall just identify trends and themes that pertain to what I’m trying to learn (which potentially identifies more places to dig for information).
Over the past month I’ve been doing my standard information gathering and noticed that the Foreign Service is disproportionately made up of people from 3 groups: The Peace Corps, The Mormon Church and Minnesotans. Random, huh? Let me explain what I’ve learned thus far. The Peace Corps is perhaps the easiest to rationalize. It exposes them to life overseas for an extended period of time and is a natural progression for a career move when their mission is done.
The Mormon Church puzzled me for awhile until I started doing some digging. I was not aware of this, but a majority of Mormons participate in an overseas Mission around their early 20’s. The mission is 2 years long and they are assigned somewhere random in the world. It makes sense then that being exposed to extended living overseas at an early age would lead more people from that population to look for careers that would accommodate future overseas experiences.
The one that continues to baffle me is the unbelievable amount of people from Minnesota. I’m not kidding, I have met an insane number of people that are linked to Minnesota in some way and I can’t figure out the connection. Nick insists it’s because they want to escape the cold of Minnesota, but I refuse to believe that. Perhaps it’s because we’re an adventurous group or committed to serving a cause we believe in? I just don’t know. Any hypotheses? I’ll entertain any theories because I’m stumped. I guess the research must go on!