A visit to Brussels provided the opportunity to visit the Brussels Regional Media Hub, a part of the U.S. Department of State. Our study abroad group got to ask U.S. foreign service officers what it’s like to be them and be the embodiment of the United States abroad.
Most Americans probably don’t realize that there are citizens learning entire new languages and uprooting their families to be the voice of the United States abroad. Most also probably don’t realize how complicated that can be.
In every country our study abroad group visited, once we identified ourselves as American we were promptly asked our opinions on the current president. Other countries are acutely aware of what goes on in the United States.
The Trump presidency is not a normal presidency, and the approach of the White House is a little different from in the past. Foreign media consumers are looking to see how American citizens are reacting to that. The foreign service officers we got to talk to acknowledge that it can be a bit tricky.
They also acknowledged that political parties are not what matters in their job. What matters is that they are united as Americans, and work to support our country and its relationship with others abroad. Their job is important. They function as a link between us and those over seas. They help project America’s image, and in turn keep us informed about important things going on around the world.
Sometimes in journalism truth can get pushed to the sidewhen it should always be priority. These officers embody the value of truth. They know their job, they seem to love it and they understand that it is their duty to be a link in order to support our country abroad.