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April 8th, 2017:

Eight weeks left, starting to panic

I’ve been in language training for 30 weeks so far. Eight weeks from now, I will take the “End Of Training” test. That test will give me my official language proficiency score.

Several colleagues who started at the same time as me have already tested. They had to finish language earlier than I do, because their scheduled arrival time at post is different from mine. I get two more months of language training than they got, which is a nice advantage for me. The good news is that they all tested at the required level. And since I have more time in training, I have the chance to attain an even higher level than is required. That would mean some extra money in the form of “language incentive pay.”

The incentive pay is especially attractive to my family, because my as of now, my wife can’t work at the Consulate. The federal hiring freeze affects everyone who wants to work for the federal government, even people who want to work in an embassy or consulate overseas. This development has disrupted our plans. We were counting on my wife being able to work. Not only for the paycheck, but to prevent boredom and stress. We are hoping that the freeze will end soon, but we are also preparing for the worst.

All this means that there’s pressure on me to attain the highest language score possible. I think it’s possible to reach the required score, but I’m not there yet. Luckily, my teachers are great, they know my goals, and are working with me to help me get to my target level. But the onus is on me to put in the time, and do the work. All the linguistic theory, teaching methodology, and language acquisition tricks are useless unless the student puts it to work.

So why am I still writing this blog?! Back to work!