Preparing to Intern Abroad


  • government structure
  • major current policy issues
  • project background
  • biographical background


Government Structure:

State Department Resources (At least read the “Background Notes” for the Country you’ll be visiting.)
CIA World Factbook

University of Colorado


Major Current Policy Issues:

Global Legal Monitor
Department of State press releases
Foreign Bar Associations
Foreign Affairs


Why does your project exist?

Public Affairs Information Service (Pitt Subscription)

Eldis Country and Regional Profiles
UN Library Catalog


What biographical information can you find about the professionals you'll meet there?

Legal Professional Directories
Look for a doctoral dissertation (Pitt subscription)
Biography Reference Bank
Look for news stories/press releases from the organization. Using Google write “site:www/ Trevor clarke”
Search for names and related keywords in



  • legal authorization
  • other organizations
  • public policy

What legal authorization can you find?
Read the organization’s press releases and see what you can find in the way of a link to “documents” or “law” on their Web site.
International Law in Brief and other ASIL publications
See if ASIL has a research guide for your topic (i.e. international environmental law.)
Search or browse according to topic in EISIL. (the Electronic Information System for International Law)
Try Globalex, WorldLII and Lexadin for national law.


Are other organizations doing work like yours?  If so who are they and what are they doing?

IDLO, the International Development Law Organization, maintains databases of Rule of Law projects and National Justice Strategies.
USAID (Agency for International Development) has great reports and tells everything about current international issues in a country. Browse by country name and then click on the link to the “mission” in that country.
See if you can find a relevant government or UN report in Docuticker
Browse through lists of international organizations according to region or topic


Have the international public policy think tanks written about the issues and locale?

Brookings Institution
Woodrow Wilson International Center
Cato Institute
Policy File



  • vocabulary
  • organizations
  • government press releases
  • embassies

International law glossaries online
Logos foreign language dictionary


See if a library has the documents you need:
(types: narrative studies, data reports, and government studies)
United Nations Library
EU Commission Library
National Libraries
Foreign Academic Libraries
Look in a librarian-written research guide

Effective informational use of embassies:

Before you go, get a sense of how the embassy communicates, who it's connected with locally, how forthcoming they are with information...

See if the local US embassy, consulate, or diplomatic mission has a library and arrange to tour it as soon as possible. Make that librarian one of your closest local friends. Buy lunch. Find other staff names in their contacts list and then Google those people. Introduce yourself to the front desk FSO (foreign service officer) as soon as you get to town, since you’re supposed to let them know you’re there anyway, and develop the visit into a whole networking session.  Tell them everything about your internship and find out what programs, contacts, and services they have. Offer to make your self useful to them. The embassy, consulate, or diplomatic post can often get you copies of things that are otherwise impossible to obtain.


Feel free to contact our international librarian with reference questions. She'll be in touch with you to see how your trip is going.