Friday, October 4, 2013

The Department of State isn't COMPLETELY shut down - exchange student local coordinator training is still functional

As you may have heard, people within the Beltway are going through a bit of unpleasantness right now. It's referred to as a Federal government shutdown, unless you work for Fox News, which refers to this as a "slimdown" rather than a shutdown. And frankly, Fox News is right. I have a relative who is deployed in a war zone right now; he wasn't told to come home. Even the famous incident a few days ago in which veterans toured the closed World War II memorial showed that at least the (National) Park Police are still on the job.

And automated websites are on the job also. I think.

As I have previously mentioned, I serve as a volunteer with Youth for Understanding USA, one of many organizations that manage exchange student programs. In these programs, students from foreign countries spend a semester or year in the United States, or students from the United States spend time in a foreign country. All of these exchange programs are monitored by the U.S. Department of State, and the State Department requires that volunteers (or, in State Department terms, "local coordinators"), complete annual training once a year. The training consists of a review of the relevant State Department regulations, followed by a 30 question multiple choice test that has to be completed by the local coordinator. You need to get 27 correct answers (out of 30) to pass the test and be certified for another year.

Luckily for me, all of this is automated, requiring no manual intervention by State Department personnel. (Unless the computer goes down.) Therefore, I was able to complete the training and the test. (I scored 30 out of 30, not that I'm bragging or anything.)

However, there's one thing that I don't know - is the Department of State's notification to the exchange organization (in my case YFU USA) also automated? I didn't take any chances; I sent an e-mail to YFU staff letting them know that I completed the requirement.
blog comments powered by Disqus