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Foreign Service Institute

Established in 1947, The Foreign Service Institute (FSI) is the training bureau of the U.S. State Department. FSI is the federal government's primary training institution for department personnel and the U.S. Government foreign affairs community. The mission of the Foreign Service Institute is to develop the men and women our nation requires to fulfill our leadership roles in world affairs and to advance and defend U.S. interests. At the George P. Shultz National Foreign Affairs Training Center, or Shultz Center, located in Arlington, VA, other locations in the Washington metropolitan area, and at domestic and overseas regional training centers, FSI offers more than 700 classroom courses, including some 70 foreign languages, about 270 custom-developed distance learning products, and about 2,700 commercial distance learning courses available worldwide 24/7 through the Internet. Annual enrollments exceed 100,000.

The Institute's programs include training for the professional development of Foreign Service Officers and Specialists, Foreign Service Nationals, and locally employed staff who work at more than 270 posts around the world, and for Civil Service employees of the State Department and more than 47 other federal agencies. Courses are designed to promote successful performance in each assignment, to ease the adjustment to other countries and cultures, and to enhance the leadership and management capabilities of the U.S. foreign affairs community.

The FSI School of Language Studies (SLS) is primarily known for its Washington-based training and testing mission. Intensive language courses (25 hours of classroom instruction per week plus multimedia labs) are packaged for students who begin training with no knowledge of the language in 24-week courses for "world" languages (e.g. Spanish, French, Portuguese, and Dutch), 44-week courses for "hard" languages (e.g. Hindi, Russian, and Thai), and 88-week courses, half in Washington, half at one of our Field Schools abroad for "super-hard" languages (e.g. Arabic, Chinese, Japanese, and Korean). Additional language learning opportunities are provided through early morning language training and other short-term training courses in Washington, Post Language Programs at embassies and consulates around the world, and FSI-developed distance learning language courses. The SLS Office of Continuing Training and Testing administers the FSI Language Proficiency Tests. FSI tests in over 100 languages. More than 5,000 language tests are administered annually to examinees from the State Department and the other federal agencies. Special attention is given to critical need and super critical need language tests in Arabic, Chinese, Dari, Farsi, Hindi, Pashto, and Urdu. Language test scores are essential in hiring Foreign Service personnel and for retention, assignment to posts, promotion, and language incentive pay.



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