Advice for Future Foreign Service Spouses


maldives, buceo, diving, paradise, beach vacation, holiday inn kandoomaOne positive thing that has come from my blog (other than meeting friends on the internet) has been the occasional opportunity to help future Eligible Family Members (EFMs) and Members of Household (MOHs) — in other words, future Foreign Service spouses/significant others who are contemplating or have made the decision to pack up and move around the world with their loved one.I use the world “help” loosely. What I mean is: Future EFMs and MOHs have contacted me with questions ranging from job/career advice to how this lifestyle has affected my relationship with Kail.I can definitely relate to their anxiety about so much uncertainty. Where will we be living? What about my career? How will language barriers affect quality of life? Not to mention other concerns related to security, health, family and other matters.I sort of have a “canned response” to share with people that includes links to blog posts addressing the above and various other topics. I suppose it can be seen as a bit of a lazy reply, but I have written a lot about the same questions/feelings/concerns of future FS spouses. Also, I wrote these posts at a time when I was experiencing said questions/feelings/concerns more closely — when we just arrived to post, when I was feeling homesick/lonely/professionally frustrated/etc. — so they are a more honest representation of my answers.I decided to consolidate the posts here not because now, getting ready to move to our third post, I’m suddenly an expert on being a Foreign Service spouse. I did it so I can now share one link instead of 20. Kidding! (Sort of.) I’m writing this post because now, even though we’re wrapping up our second tour and getting ready for our third, I still have anxieties and concerns about this life. Sure, they’re a little different than they were before we embarked on this journey three years ago, but they’re still there.There’s no once-size-fits-all advice to help someone prepare for this change. But if I can help a future EFM/MOH feel just a little bit better by doing what I love to do most (writing), I’m happy. Here are my best-of posts when it comes to being a Foreign Service Spouse:On EFM-hood, generally:

On working/employment:

On transition/adjustment:

What advice do you have for someone contemplating a major life change?

Published by La Vie Overseas

I'm Natasha -- writer, runner and wife to a Foreign Service Officer with USAID. Current location: Frankfurt, Germany.

2 thoughts on “Advice for Future Foreign Service Spouses

  1. I can’t thank you enough for this post! My husband is about to start MSG school to become a Marine Security Guard Detachment Commander, and while it will only be a 3 year endeavor for us, I have all the same questions, anxieties, fears, etc. Compounded, of course, by the fact that the Marine Corps give us virtually no input on which embassies we end up at. 😛 Getting some firsthand insight from another Embassy community spouse is invaluable!


    1. Hi, I’m glad this is helpful to you! There’s no single piece of advice that will make the transition easier, since everyone is coming from different circumstances, but it’s comforting to know there are a lot of others out there going through the same thing and feeling the same way. I’m sure the Marines have a whole support community as well for family members. Thanks for commenting! 🙂


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