I've received a mail from a Canadian Judge who wanted some information about the International Judges Seminars and IJ Exams. I've promised him to do a couple of posts on my experiences in that field. My IJ seminar was a couple of years back, but according to my information, it is still basically run the same way.
Before I talk about the actual seminar, I want you to answer a question. Are you ready to go? Or, to put in another way, what do you expect of a seminar?
The personal level and skills needed to become an IJ and pass the exam, is high. ISAF expects candidates to have a whole list of prerequisites. Which ones, can be found here: ij_guidelines_attendees.pdf. The application to attend is screened by the ISAF and they will, dependent on how many have applied, look for the best "prospects". Maximum number of participants is about 24 and minimum about 12.
One of the ways to make sure you are ready - if your local structure doesn't provide you with enough feedback - is to go to an International Judges Clinic. At a clinic there's lots of room to talk about the rules, call books, cases, manuals and becoming an IJ. There's no test and you can use it to become aware of what you still have to do and must concentrate on, to reach the required level.
If you want to go to a seminar just to get the experience and learn as much as possible before starting your International career, please feel free to do so. My personal opinion is that you should only attend one, after you've had plenty of local experience, and after you've done a couple of events in an International Jury. But I realize that is not always possible. All I can tell you, if you need help getting appointed to a jury, is to use your contacts. Express your desire to reach that level and ask for guidance and help from your fellow countryman/woman who already are IJ's. Jury's for events are mostly composed based on who knows who. You can also ask ISAF for help. Or use the Eurosaf - exchange program. If you cannot get enough experience locally, be prepared to pay your own travel-expenses, that way the organization/club gets a foreign judge, for the price of a local one. That might tip the scale in your favor because of the requirements of Appendix N. You can expect that they give you a place to stay and feed you.
If you do get appointed to an international jury, have a look at the IJSC Reference Form and talk to the chairman before the event, so he knows you want his opinion on your behavior and skill at the end. Best way is to E-mail him or her before the event, that way he/she can give you some advice and tell you what to expect. At events you'll meet more IJ's and if they like what you show them, will try to help you get more opportunities, if asked. Also have a look at Becoming an International Judge on the ISAF website.
Next time something about how the seminar is structured.