Off Duty Diplomat

As an aspiring Foreign Service Officer (FSO), immersing yourself in the world of diplomacy can be exciting and daunting. Understanding the intricacies of this career requires more than just theoretical knowledge; it demands real-life insights and experiences. This insight is where the unique opportunity of ‘Off Duty Diplomat‘ comes into play. Hosted by Alexis Alexander, a former U.S. diplomat with a decade-long career that spanned assignments in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Kabul, Afghanistan, this podcast is a treasure trove of information, anecdotes, and practical advice for anyone considering a career in the Foreign Service. Here’s why you should tune in.

Real-Life Diplomatic Experiences

“Off Duty Diplomat” offers a front-row seat to the life of a U.S. Foreign Service Officer. Alexis Alexander’s decade-long career included assignments in Ciudad Juarez, Mexico; Tel Aviv, Israel; and Kabul, Afghanistan. Her firsthand accounts provide an unvarnished look at diplomatic life’s daily realities and challenges. From managing crises in conflict zones to navigating cultural nuances, these stories are invaluable for anyone looking to step into the world of diplomacy.

Practical Knowledge and Skills

One of the standout features of the podcast is its focus on the practical skills required for a career in the Foreign Service. Episodes cover various topics, including security training, crisis management, and cultural diplomacy. For instance, the episode on FACT training delves into the comprehensive security training that FSOs undergo, covering everything from first aid to handling kidnappings​. This practical knowledge, directly applicable to the challenges FSOs face, is crucial for aspiring diplomats to understand the breadth and depth of the training they will receive.

Behind-the-Scenes Insights

The podcast goes beyond the official narrative to reveal the human side of diplomacy. Through personal stories and behind-the-scenes anecdotes, listeners gain a deeper understanding of the job’s emotional and psychological aspects. Episodes like “Things Fall Apart,” which discuss the impact of the Taliban’s return to power and the onset of COVID-19 in Afghanistan, provide a raw and personal perspective on the challenges faced by diplomats in volatile environments​.

Expert Interviews and Diverse Perspectives

In addition to Alexis’s personal experiences, ‘Off Duty Diplomat’ features interviews with colleagues and other experts in the field. These interviews offer a rich tapestry of diverse perspectives and professional advice, enriching the content with varied viewpoints. This multi-faceted approach helps aspiring FSOs, regardless of their background or interests, understand the different paths within the Foreign Service and the myriad of roles they might undertake.

Engaging and Educational Content

Alexis combines engaging storytelling with educational content, making complex diplomatic concepts accessible and interesting. Whether you’re learning about the history of the U.S. Foreign Service, how to adjudicate visas, or the nuances of managing international grants, “Off Duty Diplomat” ensures that you’re informed and entertained. This balance of education and entertainment makes it easier for listeners to absorb and retain information.


For aspiring FSOs, “Off Duty Diplomat” is more than just a podcast; it’s an essential resource. It bridges the gap between theoretical knowledge and real-world application, providing a comprehensive understanding of what a career in the Foreign Service entails. By listening to Alexis Alexander’s experiences and the insights of her guests, you’ll be better prepared for the challenges and rewards of diplomatic life.

Visit the Off Duty Diplomat website to listen to the podcast.

In addition, FSO Compass members recently met with Alexis virtually for a fantastic interview in which she shared more insights. Her experience, transparency, and willingness to assist aspiring FSOs are commendable, and I highly recommend you check out the podcast and interview.

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