By Andy North
A new organization offers a unique opportunity for BYU students.
BYU’s newly formed Foreign Service Student Organization aims to train students for foreign service.
The new organization is the first of its kind said Zachary White, 24, a junior from Petluma, Calif., majoring in philosophy, and the student director of the organization.
“It is only fitting that the first student organization geared toward diplomatic service should begin here,” White said.
He said BYU is uniquely qualified for such an organization because nearly 30 percent of its students have international experience and speak another language fluently.
The new organization helps students interested in diplomacy decide if foreign service is a good career decision and provide whatever resources possible, White said.
Matt Burnett, 23, a junior from Green Brook, N.J., majoring in law and diplomacy, is preparing for a career in foreign service and donates his time to the student organization.
Burnett said the organization offers many resources for interested students including contact with people who have worked in the service.
“We are currently in the process of preparing a database of foreign service personnel who are willing to act as a resource for the students,” Burnett said.
White said Foreign Service is the diplomatic branch of the State Department that provides the personnel for embassies and consulates around the world.
He said the State Department requires those interested in foreign service to take a written and oral exam.
According to State Department statistics, 10,000 people take the written test each year but only about 250 pass and are hired.
Cory Leonard, Kennedy Center student programs and FSSO faculty advisor, said BYU students are well qualified and have long had an interest in foreign service careers.
“Each year we give out more than 400 applications for the Foreign Service exam and every year many BYU students pass,” Leonard said.
White said this year the State Department will administer the written test Oct. 6 on campus, and those who pass will have the opportunity to take the oral exam.
Those interested in foreign service can contact the student organization at 372-3475 or go to 273 of the Herald R. Clark Building.