You will get to meet all of the other winners today and meet more of the dedicated staff who are working behind the scene to make sure everything goes smoothly.
The hotel is in D.C. Folders, as in the finalist session, are given out by the hotel when you check in. You'll likely find other Pickerings at the bottom floor doing their security clearance forms which were due the next day. If you are not able to finish the entire security clearance or had questions, that's fine (though not encouraged). The staff had many of us not turn them in until the second day of the orientation or even later.
The schedule will be given to you. They gave us a a very useful book, Inside a US Embassy. It gives you different roles and narratives from foreign service officers and other positions.
Both days will consist of visits to the State Department! You'll hear some great speakers which I'm sure won't be the same every year. Foreign Service Officers, former ambassadors. Take notes and ask questions because these are the people who are in the field, living where you'll be or want to be in a few years. Your fingerprints will be taken here, and you will also submit your documents. There will also be a networking event at the end of the orientation with Pickering and Rangel fellows also. Ambassador Pickering showed up, and so did Mr. Hope, the founder of the fellowship.
Come loaded with questions because this is where everyone will be together to answer them! Questions we brought up:
Can school health insurance be covered? No.
How does the funding for the second year of master's degree work? 2/3 or 10k, which ever is greater will be provided by the school.
How does the rent work? Up to 1,000 per month only for rent. It cannot be used as down payment for mortgage and does not cover utilities.