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Diplomats are representatives of their countries in other countries to which they are accredited. They note and interpret objectively the political, military, social and economic developments in foreign countries to obtain information in the interests of the government of their own country.

They promote exports to the country where they are stationed, and disseminate information about commercial, economic and industrial conditions and opportunities that exist in their own country.

Diplomats may issue passports to fellow countrymen travelling abroad, grant visas to foreigners who wish to visit their country or issue entry permits to immigrants who wish to settle there. They strive to build up contacts with foreign states to ensure a constant exchange of views and the establishment of mutual trust, and negotiate agreements with other countries.

Satisfying Aspects
- variety of work tasks
- prestige of working in the Foreign Service
- opportunities to travel and live abroad

Demanding aspects
- having to move to new countries every few years
- being assigned to countries with health hazards harsh climates
- some unstable governments or poor living conditions

- at least 26 years old
- tact, discretion and self-control
- able to communicate well in speech and in writing
- adaptability, self-discipline and dedication
- pleasant prsonality and sociable
- intelligence and vision
- good powers of observation and interpretation
- able to learn foreign languages easily

School Subjects
National Senior Certificate meeting degree requirements for a degree course

Each institution will have its own minimum entry requirements.

Compulsory Subjects: None
Recommended Subjects: English, Languages, History

Degree: BA with major in Political Science - US, UZ, UFS, UP, UNISA, UWC, NWU, Wits, NMMU, UKZN or International Politics - RU, UNISA.

The Department of Foreign Affairs also has its own training centre in Pretoria.

Department of International Relations and Cooperation

Department of International Relations and Cooperation
Private Bag X152
Pretoria, 0001
Tel: (012) 351-1000 Fax: (012) 329-1000