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U.S. Department of State - Great Seal

U.S. Department of State

Diplomacy in Action

Country Information (Bidding Resources)

Researching an overseas assignment? Download OBC's Starter Kit to learn about the services available to you and how to find resource information on your next assignment.

For domestic assignments, please go to U.S. Domestics Posts to begin your research.

Client Feedback:

"All fantastic resources which let us hone in on our bid as well as understand our post once assigned. I really liked that a lot of information was available online. The cultural book library was a great value as well."

"The post videos were a wonderful and informative addition to the bidding process..."

"They provided a great overview of everything we cared about at the posts that we were considering."



Overseas Briefing Center (OBC) Post Briefing Boxes and Personal Post Insights

  • Visit the OBC for post-specific briefing information, including Personal Post Insights written by colleagues. Open hours
  • Briefing boxes (Post Info To Go) and Personal Post Insights are also available online on the Department of State intranet.
  • At home or overseas without intranet access? Email us with your request for information.

Family Member Employment

Schooling Resources for the Education of Foreign Service Children

  • The Office of Overseas Schools (OOS) offers information on schools supported by the U.S. Department of State and non-assisted schools. Parents may also contact the Community Liaison Office (CLO) coordinator at post for more information.
  • The Family Liaison Office (FLO) offers advice on appropriate  schooling options and resources to make educated decisions about schooling options overseas.

Special Needs Information for School-age Children

  • Special Education Needs Overseas Video Presentations designed for parents of children with special educational needs who are or who plan to be assigned to a U.S. mission abroad. These videos and resources will help you to proactively navigate this system and plan for their children's educational needs while overseas.
  • Resources on Special Needs from the Office of Overseas Schools.
  • Special needs information from the Family Liaison Office including information on the Special Needs Allowance.
  • The Office of Medical Services new Child and Family Program (MED / CFP) works with parents to assure children's mental health and special educational needs are identified, appropriately assessed and have an effective treatment and educational plan established in advance of and during overseas assignments. Contact them at:

    SA-1 Columbia Plaza - Room H246
    2401 E St. N.W.
    Washington, DC 20520-2256
    Tel: (202) 663-1904
    Fax: (202) 663-1456/1454

Child Care at Posts Overseas

  • The Family Liaison Office (FLO) offers the Overseas Child Care Reports, with information on available child care options at posts worldwide.  Copies of these reports are available in the Overseas Briefing Center and on the FLO intranet website.  

Transition Center Training

  • Get Prepared with Foreign Service Life Skills Training - orientation for Spouses/Partners, Personal and Financial Planning, Logistics for Going Overseas, the Realities of Foreign Service Life, Foreign Service Children, Singles in the FS Community, and Employment Options for Family Members. 
  • Security Training is mandatory for all employees assigned to a U.S. embassy or consulate overseas.  Family members are encouraged to attend.


  • Associates of the American Foreign Service Worldwide (AAFSW) - This organization connects the American diplomatic community at home and abroad with resources and support programs. Their site hosts useful articles about overseas life in general. AAFSW's LiveLines yahoo group offers 24/7 answers to questions about posts for those who have passed the Foreign Service exam or are already members of the U.S. Foreign Service community.
  • The American Chambers of Commerce Abroad (AmChams) - This organization advances the interests of American businesses overseas. They are voluntary associations of American companies and individuals doing business in a particular country, as well as firms and individuals of that country who operate in the United States. Over 100 AmChams in over 100 countries are affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
  • Association of Dipolomatic Studies and Training (ADST) - Provides a collection of oral history interviews of foreign affairs practitioners. They also house a Country and Subject Reader Series, which provides a chronological, historical overview through a series of oral interviews regarding a particular country or policy subject.
  • International Chamber of Commerce: The World Business Organization (ICC) - provides a forum for businesses and other organizations to examine and understand the nature and significance of the major shifts taking place in the world economy.
  • BBC News Country Profiles - Basic country information, plus audio/video clips and articles.
  • City Mayors: Running the World's Cities - Extensive information about the world's cities.
  • CultureGrams (OBC Subscription: contact OBC for user name and password) Find the most up-to-date information about the people, customs, lifestyle, transportation, climate, and much more. View photos, read interviews from in-country experts, and explore the video gallery. CultureGrams also features a separate Kids Edition so the whole family can learn together!
  • Expat-Blog - Blogs from around the world.
  • Expat Exchange - Connect with other expats already living in the destination city/country via chat groups to get the lay of the land. They also offer an extensive listing of expat blogs.
  • Federation of American Women's Clubs Overseas (FAWCO) - international network of independent volunteer clubs and associations.
  • Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF) - supports children, teens and families affiliated with U.S. foreign affairs agencies and strives to help young people adapt to their changing environments and make the most of their Foreign Service experiences.
  • GLIFAA (Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies) - GLIFAA membership consists of gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender and straight employees of U.S. diplomatic agencies.
  • GlobalEDGE - Country data resources from the Michigan State University for global business knowledge.
  • LangMedia - Language and Cultural resources (including video and audio materials) for selected countries.
  • Lonely Planet Destinations - Find your next travel adventure using their country information.
  • Newspaper Front Pages - The Newseum provides this feature, highlighting the front page of any newspaper around the world (refreshes daily).
  • Real Post Reports/Real School Reports - First person descriptions of overseas posts from Tales from a Small Planet. Their information is password-protected, but registration is free.
  • Wikipedia - Online encyclopedia providing general, frequently updated country information and links.
  • World66 - Travel guide written by users.

The above links are for informational purposes only and in no way constitute an endorsement, expressed or implied, by the Department of State. Links to websites outside the U.S. federal government or the use of trade, firm, or corporation names are for the convenience of the user and do not constitute an official endorsement or approval of any private sector website, product, service, or privacy policy.


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