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Publications and Online Resources


This resource provides general guidance on the basics of U.S. protocol and etiquette and covers topics such as invitations and RSVPs, dress codes, dinner etiquette and seating arrangements, and being a host or guest. It is designed for all members of the foreign affairs community who are interested in better understanding and preparing for representational aspects of foreign affairs life. Use this interactive experience to learn tips, best practices, and do’s and don’ts, often illustrated as lived experiences.

Go to U.S. Protocol and Etiquette Abroad: The Modern Diplomat Guide


The Foreign Service Assignment Notebook (FSAN) offers invaluable information and guidance on various aspects of preparing for an international move. The content is written for all government employees and their family members transitioning to an assignment at a U.S. mission overseas. Organized temporally in 30 chapters, from introduction to the foreign affairs lifestyle, bidding considerations, preparing for post, life at post, to logistical and administrative considerations, the FSAN charts the road ahead by offering expertise from a variety of Department of State offices and provides references and resources for further information.

Download the FSAN


Are you between the ages of 11 and 15? Then this new series of magazines is created just for you! The Transition Center at the Foreign Service Institute has developed ZINES to help you navigate living overseas and in the United States. These ZINES tell the stories of kids who travel from post to post and their struggle to find their place in the world. There are lots of huge changes that occur during middle school when you are moving, like:

  • Figuring out your new school,
  • Finding new friends,
  • Dealing with your parents and siblings, and
  • Managing the jumps and bumps along the way.

Download your copy of these ZINES today and read some tips to make this time meaningful and fun!

Download a PDF of ZINE Transitions

Download a PDF of ZINE Identity


This Guided Journal is for elementary school-aged children who are moving overseas with foreign affairs agencies. This resource helps facilitate discussion between children and parents as they process and prepare for an international relocation. Inside you will find:

  • Activities to encourage curiosity and discovery
  • Quotes from real kids
  • Games to prompt discussion, and more!

Download a PDF of the Guided Journal


The Parent’s Companion to the Guided Journal provides parents and care givers information and context to help facilitate discussion and understand the emotional process and journey of your child.

Download a PDF of the Parent’s Guide to the Guided Journal


An international move can be overwhelming, especially when assigned to a U.S. embassy or consulate for the first time. This app supports all foreign affairs personnel, along with their families and pets by generating a personalized “to do” list, from the day you receive your assignment to the day you depart.

This all-in-one tool can help keep track of completed tasks, send reminders to personal calendars, add personal notes, access essential contact information, and connect to online resources.

This mobile app is available for iOS and Android devices.


The KidVid Contest for 2023 is now closed. 

The Foreign Service Institute’s Overseas Briefing Center (OBC), in collaboration with the Foreign Service Youth Foundation (FSYF), hosts the annual worldwide KidVid Contest. Contestants submit an original video that depicts life for Foreign Service (FS) youth at their post. The videos become part of the OBC video library that helps FS families anticipate what life overseas is like from a kid’s perspective. The OBC administers the contest and FSYF awards cash prizes to winners.

Eligibility: Foreign Service youth, ages 10-18 who are posted overseas.

Deadline: Deadline for the 2024 contest will be announced via ALDAC in December 2023.

Contest Rules and How to Apply



U.S. Department of State

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