Former U.S. Ambassador William Stoltzfus Jr. served many years in the Middle East, but it took him two attempts to be able to pass the Foreign Service Officer test. He was quoted in Princeton’s weekly community newsletter, Town Topics, saying, “I was turned down because they felt I didn't know enough about the U.S.!”
That statement makes sense when you consider that Ambassador Stolzfus, a child to Presbyterian missionaries, William and Ethel Stolfzfus, spent his childhood in Syria and Lebanon until he was 15 years old.
“I had fallen really short when asked to name 11 ports on the Mississippi River and other
mysterious questions to someone who grew up in the Middle East,” he told writer Jean
Stratton. “So I studied some American history, and the second time around, I was accepted.”
Families within the Foreign Service are expected to work and live overseas, and their children
get to experience some pretty amazing things throughout their overseas childhood, but there
can be a tradeoff.
American history is often not a course that is available in the host country,
even though it's an important subject that should be taught to American kids—no matter
where they live.
Online supplemental American history courses, such as the ones offered at U.S. History Abroad,
make it easy for parents to provide the American history education that kids are receiving in
These types of program mean foreign service kids can continue to benefit from the unique experiences of living abroad, while still keeping pace with their peers back in the States. So as a FS parent, you truly can support your child’s education and give them the best of both worlds!
For more information, visit www.ushistoryabroad.com.