Young India Never Tires

On May 18, 2011, in People, Services, by Hyderabad ACS

Cross-posted from Dipnote. Anne Lee Seshadri is the American Center Director in New Delhi. She admits to napping from 3:00 – 4:00 a.m.

When I told my daughter I wasn’t coming home on Saturday night, she was admittedly confused. “What are you going to do in the office all night?,” she asked. “Well, sweetie, we thought it would be a nice idea to keep our library open all night so the students can prepare for their exams.” She looked dubious. Well, so was I. We conceived the idea on a lark — the American Library in New Delhi, the largest public access library in the State Department, had been growing by leaps and bounds, and we were overrun with university students. How to continually and creatively engage them is what keeps our American Center and Library staff occupied. During university exams, and in the sizzle of a Delhi May, we decided to stay open from 11:00 a.m. Saturday until 6:00 a.m. Sunday.

A healthy crowd stayed on until early evening, but I felt sure it would taper off when the novelty faded. At 11:00 p.m., there was a rush on our pizza, timed just before the Metro closed so students could then leave if they chose…Except they didn’t. There were 88 of us! At 1:00 a.m., I’m called to the gate, where three more earnest young men stand, holding out their cell phones. “Ma’am, we got your SMS, we’ve come from Haryana (an outlying area an hour away). We came to see what was happening.” Fast forward to 2:00 a.m., and the mood was almost jubilant. For one thing, there was an honest to goodness American at the reference desk who appeared to be in it for the long haul. There was a lucky draw and quizzes…and lots of coffee. At 3:00 a.m., the staff got creative and started thinking of new giveaway ideas. Prize for the oldest member? A grizzly 65-year-old pops up from behind a desk to receive his T-shirt and the students applaud. Newest female member? A shy 19-year-old admits she took membership that day, just to study in the library all night. Who wrote Uncle Tom’s Cabin? OK, maybe a little late for that, but points for anyone with an educated guess.

By 6:00 a.m., they had all survived, and more than that, they had actually studied! Somewhere in the dark hours of the night, the American Library raised its coolness quotient. And when young India thinks you’re cool, well, the possibilities are endless. That’s worth staying up all night for.

You can stay in touch with the American Center in New Delhi on Facebook and Twitter.

Interested in Joining the American Foreign Service?

On May 9, 2011, in Careers, by Hyderabad ACS

The mission of a U.S. diplomat in the Foreign Service is to promote peace, support prosperity, and protect American citizens while advancing the interests of the U.S. abroad.

If you’re passionate about public service and want to represent the U.S. around the world, a challenging and rewarding career is waiting for you. The opportunity to work and experience cultures, customs and people of different nations is truly a career unlike any other.

The work you’ll do will have an impact on the world. You will be asked to serve at one of any of the more than 265 embassies, consulates and other diplomatic missions in The Americas, Africa, Europe and Eurasia, East Asia and Pacific, Middle East and North Africa, and South Asia. Some of these posts are in difficult and even dangerous environments, but working in them affords great challenges and rewards.

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All About Selective Service Registration

On May 6, 2011, in Advice, People, by Hyderabad ACS

What is The Selective Service System?

The Selective Service System is an independent agency within the Executive Branch of the Federal Government. The Director of Selective Service is appointed by the President and confirmed by the Senate. Selective Service is not a part of the Department of Defense.

The Federal law under which the agency operates is the Military Selective Service Act. Under this law, the mission of the Selective Service System is to provide the numbers of men needed by the Armed Forces, within the time required, should Congress and the President decide to return to a draft, in the event of a national emergency. Selective Service would also be responsible for administering a program of alternative service for conscientious objectors.

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Don’t be a Spring Break horror story!

On March 19, 2011, in Kids, by Hyderabad ACS

As spring break approaches, many students are preparing for a trip abroad. The State Department’s website for students traveling overseas provides useful safety and travel information for parents and students alike:

The majority of students will have safe and enjoyable adventures. However, even on the best-planned trips, things can go wrong. Each year more than 2,500 U.S. citizens are arrested abroad, nearly half of them on narcotics charges, including possession of very small amounts of illegal substances. U.S. citizens have been badly injured or killed in accidents, falls, and other mishaps. Many of these incidents have been linked to alcohol and drug use. Other spring break vacationers have been sexually assaulted or robbed because they found themselves in unfamiliar locales, incapable of protecting themselves because of drug or alcohol use, or because they were victims of a “date rape” drug.

The most common cause of death of U.S. citizens overseas, other than natural causes, is by motor vehicle accident. Students traveling abroad should be aware that standards of safety overseas are different from those in the United States.

We urge all U.S. citizens traveling, studying, or residing abroad to sign up online for our Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP). STEP enrollment makes it possible for the State Department to contact the student traveler in the case of a family emergency in the United States or because of a crisis in a foreign country.

Please see the Department of Homeland Security’s web site for more information on the requirements for a passport, passport card, or other approved document to reenter the United States after travel abroad.