Kayaking? cooking? koalas?

What will you talk about when you meet people?

Gain background knowledge -- then don't neglect to learn about some aspect of your destination that interests you!  Movies -- sports -- art or theater. Learn how to consult Cornell's e-resources (books, journals, encyclopedias, images) through links from the Library's home page and research guides.

Country information

Find reliable country information quickly: these are efficient and reliable sources for facts and summaries about national politics, economics, education, infrastructure, media and much more.  Use them to gather information or to check your understanding. Online (mostly); access through the Cornell Library Catalog.

  • eiu.com [Economist Intelligence Unit]  Country Profiles, Country Reports, Country Commerce, Viewswires for nearly 200 countries, regions and organizations.
  • Europa World Plus  Political, social and economic information about 250+ countries;  incudes country maps and a directory of business, cultural and political organizations in each country and 1,900+ international organizations.
  • Political Handbook of the World  (Print: Olin Ref JF37.P76+, and online) Focuses on country politics, but also addresses the media in each country. Print only.
  • World Factbook  (US Central Intelligence Administration) "information on the history, people, government, economy, geography, communications, transportation, military, and transnational issues for 267 world entities."
  • Statesmans Yearbook  (Current year in print only: Olin Ref JA51.S79;previous years in multiple formats/locations) "This classic reference work presents a political, economic and social account of every country of the world together with facts and analysis."

Cultural and social information

See also:

ILR School researchers looks at "tight and loose" cultures (Science. 27 May 2011: Vol. 332. no. 6033, pp. 1100-1204)

Read fiction from or about your destination

Float through your research

man reading a newspaper while floating in the dead sea

Dead Sea newspaper; credit: inro, Flickr, Creative Commons license.

Art, culture and music: start here