Tag: #GLI

The State Department Consular Fellows Program Language Test

If you are applying for a Foreign Service Officer position with the United States Department of State, there is a good deal of testing involved in the application process. One of the tests is the Consular Fellows Program Language Test. The Consular Fellows Program Language Test is a language screening test administered by the Foreign Service Institute’s Division of Language Testing and Assessment (FSI). It is the second stage of the application process for candidates who have passed the Qualifications Evaluation Panel (QEP). The test is used to assess a candidate’s proficiency in Mandarin, Spanish, Arabic, or Portuguese.

The following account of taking the Consular Fellows Program Language Test was written by former Lawrence student.

“This is my experience taking the Consular Fellows Language Test. Disclaimer: I took the test in late September of 2022, so it is possible that the test structure may have changed by the time you are reading this. I am writing this for you because when I was preparing for my Language Test, there were very few resources out there to get me familiar with what the test was like. Hopefully, you will find this helpful.

To begin, you will meet two people during the test, one test proctor and one native speaker of the language you are testing for. You will be talking with a native speaker most of the time, the test proctor will give you directions in English and you direct any questions you have about the test to them.

Speaking Test (30 Minutes)

The Speaking Test is technically an OPI (Oral Proficiency Interview). Information on the OPI can be found here. The test is broken up into three parts (the warm-up, discussion, and interview of the tester). It is important to mention that in the test: What you say does not really matter, all that matters is that you can say whatever it is you are saying. Try not to say anything in your native language, only speak in your target language. The Speaking Test is only concerned with that and how you communicate in your target language. So, you could technically lie in all your answers, just as long as all that you are saying is grammatically correct and in your target language.

Part 1: Warm-up

The State Department description is, “The examinee and tester have a discussion centered on biography, current events, or other topics.” That description is accurate to my experience. The native speaker asked me to introduce myself. You can include details like where you go to school, what you study, recent travels, hobbies, etc. Note: Anything you mention here, even in passing, can be taken by the native speaker and they will ask you to expand on the thing you mentioned. Just make sure that with anything that you say, you are prepared to talk about it further and in your target language.

Part 2: Discussion

The State Department description is, “Discussion prepared and presented by the applicant, from a list of topics presented to the applicant.” From my experience, the title “Discussion” is misleading, Part two was much more like an oral presentation. You get 7 minutes (or so) to talk about/make a case about a topic of the test proctor’s choosing. This is not a discussion; it is a speech you think up on the fly. The test proctor will tell you the topic and give you a couple of moments to think about a response, then you will have to present whatever it is you want to say about the topic. Topics like politics, climate change, a recent international economic catastrophe/success, and any general global event all are fair game to be asked to talk about. After my test, I asked the test proctor if you were presented with a topic you have no knowledge of, can you ask to get a new topic. And unfortunately, you cannot. So, during Part two, just work with what you have and what you know.

Part 3: Interview the Tester

The State Department’s description is, “You get the chance to interview the tester.” That description is accurate to my experience. The test proctor gives you a topic to ask the native speaker questions about. After the native speaker is done answering, the test proctor will ask you to report back to them (in English) on what the native speaker said.

The Reading Test

You get to read two passages (each about one page in length)  You get 12 minutes per passage to read, and you can take notes during this time. After your reading time is up, the test proctor will ask you to tell them about what you read. Here, say everything you know about the passages. The two passages will be on topics pertaining to the country/countries where your target language is spoken, like a social phenomenon, current events, modern politics, and the state of that country’s economy.”

How to Prepare for the Test

● Brush up on vocab words you might need to know or that you might want to use during the speaking test

● Get used to reading the news in your target language

● Read up on current events (in English and your target language) to prepare for the speaking test

● Speak in your target language as much as possible. Talk with a friend in that language, and talk to yourself in that language

● Listen to your target language as much as possible. Listen to music in that language, watch movies/TV shows/the news from countries that speak that language

● Make an appointment to do a practice OPI. Ask your language teacher to sit down with you and do a practice OPI or just have a conversation in your target language





Political Campaign Staffers

Political campaign staffers are the backbone of every campaign. They are responsible for managing budgets, raising money, running social media, building field programs, prepping candidates for public appearances, and implementing campaign strategies.   Campaign staffers have a difficult job because they must oversee the day-to-day operations of a campaign while also keeping the long-term strategic goals in mind. A political campaign staffer is a member of the campaign team. This team must manage the work of both internal and external aspects of the campaign. The campaign staff oversees everything from managing the door-to-door volunteers to approving the creative for digital ads and direct mail pieces. A good political campaign staff should also be creating reports on the campaign’s progress, which requires the ability to obtain, manage, and analyze data.

To get started as a political campaign staffer, most people start by volunteering to gain experience and relevant skills. In most roles, you need excellent written and oral communication skills and the ability to be persuasive and informative with diverse audiences. You should be enthusiastic about politics and passionate about relevant causes, issues, and priorities. There is no specific educational background required to be a political campaign staffer, but a bachelor’s degree in government or political science is very helpful. Political campaigns offer the opportunity to develop and refine a wide assortment of skills in an extremely fast-paced and flexible environment. Moreover, they give a unique perspective into the electoral process, as well as the cares and concerns of elected officials and the American public.

The average annual pay for a Political Campaign Staff in the United States is $42,776 a year. However, this can vary greatly depending on skill level, location, and years of experience.

People choose to be political campaign staffers for many reasons. Some are passionate about politics and want to make a difference in their community or country. Political campaign staffers can advance to managing larger campaigns for statewide or national office. Some senior campaign staffers may move into political consulting, working for multiple candidates or causes.  Additionally, campaign staffers can use their skills and experience to transition into other careers such as public relations, journalism, or government work.












Being and Working for an Elected Attorney

Elected attorneys are everywhere and are necessary in every city and state, and there are only two ways to get the job: run for it or be appointed to it. There are two main types of elected attorneys: attorneys general, who oversee a state, and district attorneys, who oversee a county, city, or general area, depending on the state. If you are interested in both law and politics, then serving as (or for) an elected attorney could be a goal for you!

Here in Wisconsin, we have seventy-one district attorneys, or DAs (we have seventy-two counties, but Shawano and Menominee counties unite to elect one DA) and one attorney general, or AG. In Appleton (and Outagamie County as a whole), our DA is Mindy Tempelis, and she is responsible for three main things: prosecuting all criminal actions and asset seizure for the county, arguing her position in front of the appellate or supreme court if summoned by the Attorney General, and managing the prosecutorial unit (regarding budget and administrative issues). DAs also can issue subpoenas for a grand jury and oversee the proceedings.

The Wisconsin Attorney General, Josh Kaul, is in charge of answering questions about the law to officials, examining and certifying both bonds and trust funds, managing the state Department of Justice, and appointing people who can manage and represent the state as either defense or prosecution (depending on the case). Rarely ever do attorneys general prosecute cases, so it seems, at a first glance especially, that district attorneys have more power than attorneys general, but the state DOJ oversees more territory.

All district attorneys and attorneys general are Juris Doctors and have passed the bar exam, which you would need to do if you had interest in one of these positions. However, there are many appointed positions within both sectors. Most people they hire are law school graduates or paralegals, but there are positions (such as chief of staff and some directing posts) that may only require a bachelor’s degree. Students who have studied government/political science, history, and economics have the greatest likelihood of landing a job working for a DA or AG.

DAs and AGs are both vital to making law work. If you end up with a JD, have ideas you think would make the world a better place, and want to enter the political arena, throw your hat in the ring! With a cause people can get behind, you may have what it takes to win!







Spencer R. Brown is a junior in their first year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as a media and marketing assistant in the Career Center, and curates articles for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities. A writer and animator by trade and part-time mascot, Spencer is fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!

International Trade

If you ask any child in fourth grade what kind of job they want to have when they grow up, no child would say they want to work in international trade, although maybe they should. These jobs are integral to making trade work across the world, and the industry is growing incredibly fast as our world gets more and more globalized, and wherever you live, there could be a job that pertains to the sector.

So, what is international trade? International trade is like a clock, where it looks so simple to define on the outside, but on the inside there are a lot of moving parts. International trade involves purchasing and selling goods and services between companies across different countries. However, the people who are in control of the process are like the cogs and springs, who keep it all together and keep the system moving. According to learn.org, there are three main career paths: global marketing, international trade law, and shipping logistics, and anywhere you look, their definitions are incredibly fuzzy. Jobs in global marketing are responsible for the home front: specifically to project their message and better their image towards other companies interested in doing business with them. After a company finds interest in another abroad, international trade lawyers step in and facilitate the trade through contracts and other legal documents. After the trade lawyers reach an agreement, logisticians take over and plan when and how to get the product from point A to point B. These jobs are vital to both nationwide and worldwide economies, since countries have realized that trade helps us consume more products than we would be able to produce without it.

Hypothetically speaking, let’s say you’re sold on working in international trade, and there’s absolutely no way you could live a happy life without working in the industry. What are the next steps? Jobs in international trade law require a law degree, and potentially a bachelors in government and/or international affairs. Jobs in global marketing usually require a bachelor’s degree in communications or business (related experience), and your chances of getting hired increase with an MBA. Logisticians’ chances of being hired stem from a bachelor’s degree in business, communications, logistics, or a potentially relevant field. It’s easy to find jobs in international trade anywhere in the world, especially in D.C., Virginia, New York, Arizona, Alaska, Illinois, and Massachusetts.

Because of how much trade is on the rise internationally, there are many job and career opportunities. Since international jobs pay well, it might be a great option to consider! Plus, you sound really cool when you tell people you work in the international trade industry!







Spencer R. Brown is a junior experiencing their first year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as a media and marketing assistant in the Career Center, and curates articles for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities. A writer and animator by trade, Spencer is fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!

How to Work for the Department of Defense

When most people think about jobs at the Department of Defense (DOD), they think that it involves very hands-on work for the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, Space Force or Coast Guard.  While that is true in some cases, the DOD is much more than that, and the jobs are too! The Department of Defense is a very big tent when it comes to employment.  The DOD mission is to provide the military forces needed to deter war and ensure our nation’s security.

If you work for the Department of Defense, you are somewhat limited to where you will work and live.  While DOD employees are stationed across the country, the vast majority work at Pentagon in Washington DC.  In fact, the Pentagon is the world’s largest office building, consuming 6.6 million square feet of floor space, with more than 25,000 employees working there on a given day.

Many positions with the DOD are very technical, like providing emergency services to areas in the US that need it most. They also hire maintenance workers, information security specialists, technicians, engineers and public affairs specialists (see the #CJW community resource section.  Given the size of the DOD, it is its own community, so every job you would find in civilian life can also be found in the DOD.  If there’s a field you’re interested in, the DOD is, more than likely, hiring for that position.

So, let’s say that you’re hooked, and there’s nothing that you would want more on this Earth than to work for the Department of Defense or any of its subsidiaries. There are a few websites that might have what you’re looking for, such as usajobs.gov (and if there’s a government job in general that you’re looking for, the first place to look might be usajobs.gov). Handshake has often has positions for the US Army and the NSA, but not directly the DOD. 

The Department of Defense and its subsidiaries provide good, government jobs for people who want to settle down in one of a few select parts of the country and get good benefits while doing serious, important, work. If this at all interests you, keep your eyes on usajobs.gov and see if there’s an opening for your skillset!






Spencer R. Brown is a sophomore experiencing their first year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as a media and marketing assistant in the Career Center, and curates articles for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities. A writer and animator by trade, Spencer is fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!

Legal Assistants and Paralegals

When people talk about the most popular and important jobs in the legal world, many might say lawyers and lawmakers. However, legal assistants and paralegals are necessary for lawyers and lawmakers to do their jobs.  While the terms paralegals and legal assistants are often lumped together, the two roles can have very different qualifications and tasks to complete. If you are interested in a legal profession that does not require a law degree, and keeps you out of the spotlight while still doing important, steady, well-paid work, then a paralegal or legal assistant job might be for you!

 Paralegals are specifically qualified, with most having an associate’s degree or certification in paralegal studies.  Some law firms will hire paralegals with a bachelor’s degree in a humanities program and then train you to get a paralegal certification while on the job. Paralegals are hyper-focused on getting everything ready for trials: drafting legal documents, researching laws, interviewing clients and generally helping lawyers prepare.

Legal assistants are less specialized, and usually carry the blunt of the administrative work around the firm; they help schedule and keep track of appointments and meetings, and manage the financial work such as billing of clients. However, their work may also encompasses plenty of tasks accomplished by paralegals, such as conducting legal research and creating and proofreading documents. Legal assistants usually only need a high school diploma to be hired, however there are legal assistant certifications that improve one’s chances of being hired.

The job market for legal assistants and paralegals has gotten increasingly competitive, and if you are at Lawrence, you might already be qualified for at least one of these positions! To be a paralegal or legal assistant, you should be organized, with great writing and communication skills alongside a great deal of tech savviness. It is also important to note that paralegals and legal assistants can be anywhere: in government, in law firms, and in businesses.  Therefore, if that interests you, being a paralegal or legal assistant might just be the job for you!





Spencer R. Brown is a sophomore experiencing their first year at Lawrence University, with a major in Government. They work as a Marketing and Media Assistant in the Career Center and creates content for students in both Communication, Journalism & Written Arts (#CJW) and Government, Law & International Relations (#GLI) career communities. A writer and animator by trade, Spencer is fascinated in finding ways to make digesting information entertaining. Feel free to connect with them on LinkedIn here!