Feature: James Experiences Life in the Foreign Office

“How excited I was to be going to London. I was privileged to be visiting the Foreign and Commonwealth Office, to interview some of its employees. Although it was a four hour trip, my excitement passed it away…”


At the end of September, 2nd Year’s James Kincaid visited the Foreign Office in London, as part of the Open House London Weekend. It was a chance to meet and talk to staff about what goes on at the City’s hub for foreign relations.


They met with Claudia Casey (pictured left with James) who, as the FCO Reputation Manager, is in charge of organising events that better the reputation of Britain abroad.


James said: “I was amazed at the beauty of the building. Claudia showed my mother and I the wonderful architecture of the FCO, and we went into a big reception room with an astounding glass roof.”


They were then introduced to Caitlin Smith, who works in the same department as Claudia, and happily answered his questions.


“Caitlin told me lots of interesting facts about how to get a job in the Foreign Office. She said you need a degree from university – preferably a language – and then you need to pass more testing by the FCO, to demonstrate your academic and leadership skills.”


His mum, Magdalena, said it opened for James an enticing world.


“He found it all very attractive: foreign language skills; carrying the duty of representing the UK abroad; juggling with the unexpected to make your country better. I was delighted for James to be able to meet these wonderful, totally dedicated people.”


For Ms. Smith, this dedication spreads to more than her day job. She went on to explain about the Jubilee Dialogs, a debating society that talks about global and national topics: “Unfortunately it is based in London, but it is still something I would aspire to pursue.”


James then interviewed Kate Crowe, Resident Historian of the FCO, who presented him with some posters and a book on the history of the FCO building: “My time in London was a wonderful experience and opportunity, which has definitely made me consider greatly a career in the Foreign and Commonwealth office.”


Magdalena added: “We are both especially grateful for the warm welcome we received on the day. James had a truly fantastic time and found it quite aspirational for the future.”