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Discussion Starter #1
I'm a 9w1 INFP in high school, trying to figure out what I should do with my life. Currently, I'm very interested in international relations or foreign service as it would enable me to work with people hands-on to help them solve all kinds of problems and discover the different perspectives and beliefs of people from around the world. However, my mom believes I have a highly idealized perspective of international relations. She says that most people who work in this field don't make the world a better place but actually are the ones who create the injustices in this world. She doesn't want me to be surrounded by people with completely opposite intentions as mine because I would suffer much. Frankly, I agree with her entirely, but at the same time, I want to do something to end these injustices.

With these things in mind, should I pursue international relations or is there something out there I am even more fit for? Other fields I am interested in are sociology and psychology. The 2 most important things I'm looking for in a career are to do the thing I love most—helping people and to discover the diversity of the world we live in. Thank you a lot for reading this, and I would greatly appreciate any advice. Sorry for the ramble.
 

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Two types of international relations work I'm familiar with personally are more political science oriented foreign service work, and then more hands-on aid. One friend of mine - probably ESTJ 8w9 sp/soc - majored in political science, got her master's in policy, and worked for a while at a foreign embassy. Her work involved lots of visa approval/denial, reading forms, attending meetings, making arrangements like scheduling, hotels, transportation, etc., writing emails, making calls - still some helping and certainly travel, but very office-like. My ENFP 7w6 cousin also majored in political science, and she worked for a while for the US government in a behind-the-scenes sort of helping job where she arranged transportation for diplomats. She could work remotely and was on her computer 90% of the day.

In contrast, one of my best friends is an INFP 9w1 - she majored in international relations then joined the Peace Corps. She worked for a few years in an island country helping rebuild schools and libraries for kids and teaching kids. She met her husband there and now they live in Japan, where she's a teaching assistant. They'll probably travel again when her husband takes on another project, since he's an international emergency aid worker. The things that make her happy are obviously similar to those for you - I think she enjoys working with people, helping others, and travelling the world. So obviously, given my friend's experience, I think it's very possible that you could have a good experience with international relations and foreign service if you would like to. I think it will be easier for you that you like hands-on work, and it sounds like you would like to travel.

Regarding what your mom said... I don't know that I entirely agree that generally people in those fields are the ones who create injustices... it sounds like maybe she's referring to the problem of more affluent people coming from outside to render aid and then leaving no infrastructure instead of helping build positive systems from the ground up and empowering local citizens. Certainly that can and does happen, but there are substantial numbers of people who do genuine good as well. I don't know that my ESTJ friend or ENFP cousin realistically did much large-scale change in their work - the help that they provided was less front-line. On the other hand, my INFP and her husband do more obvious hands-on work and have more tangible results. Their work links with local infrastructure, so they're not just coming in and leaving. At the same time, with their work, they often encounter a lot of just typical life tasks. His work is typically a mix of physical labor and social work, and she is basically a young-grades teacher, with some paperwork and some physical labor. If you don't mind variety, physical work, a good amount of helpful socialization, and not-always-perfect living conditions, I think international aid could be a great fit for you.
 

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Thank you so much for your answer! I find it very comforting and inspiring that your INFP 9w1 friend is living the kind of life I dream about. I can now more clearly see myself as a diplomat. All I have to do is convince my mom to let me take on this career. :p
 
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