Hosting FAQ

FAQ Dinner Hosting Questions

What time are the dinners usually hosted?

Our International Visitors will take a ride share from Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City, arriving at your house around 6:00 pm. Then, between 8:30 - 9:00 p.m., whenever you are ready, they will take a ride share back to the hotel. If you want the International Visitors to stay later, please contact the liaison to make arrangements.

Do I have to have experience in a group’s topic or country in order to host them?

No, we are happy to assign Visitors to any interested host. However, the more information you can provide us in your application about your hobbies, profession, languages, and countries/regions of interest, the easier it is for us to match you with Visitors who share common interests.

Are there any questions I shouldn’t ask the Visitors or topics I shouldn’t bring up?

Needless to say, the answer to this question varies between individuals and groups. However, participants are here to learn about the United States and to share their culture and experiences with the people they meet. This is their opportunity to ask questions in an open, respectful, and informal environment. In turn, it is your opportunity to ask questions of the Visitors about their country, viewpoints, etc. 

What if the Visitors don’t speak English?

If you are hosting a group that does not speak English, they will be accompanied by a U.S. Department of State Interpreter. We recommend inviting the interpreter to eat (or have a snack) before everyone sits down to eat. When the interpreter relies on both sides of the dinner conversation, it’s difficult to eat at the same time. Please invite the interpreter to sit in a central place at the table so he or she can easily be heard.

Can I invite friends and family to join us for a hosted dinner?

We strongly encourage you to invite your friends and family to join you for a hosted dinner! If you have some family, friends, or colleagues who speak the Visitors’ language or have similar professional interests, the Visitors often enjoy the opportunity to network.

Can children join us?

Children are welcome to join you for dinner dinners, and Visitors often greatly enjoy the opportunity to talk with young people. In fact, hosted dinners can be one of the few times Visitors have a chance to interact with people of all ages, and they are eager to learn more about American life from all perspectives.

What about my pets?

Please let us know on the application if you have pets. While it is seldom a problem, some cultures are not used to pets in the home, and Visitors may be afraid or uncomfortable around animals, especially dogs. Some Visitors also have pet allergies of which we try to be mindful.

What should I wear?

Utah Global Diplomacy informs Visitors ahead of time that the attire for hosted dinners is casual. Please dress in whatever way you feel most comfortable. Some Visitors take this opportunity to dress up or dress in traditional attire. Different cultures have different standards of modesty; if you have questions about appropriate dress, please don’t hesitate to contact a Utah Global Diplomacy representative.

Should I give the Visitors a gift?

At the beginning or end of the evening, you may be presented with Thank You gifts. It is not necessary, but if you wish to reciprocate, you may want to present your guests with a small souvenir, such as a postcard, calendar or key chain from Utah. The Utah Office of Tourism located on Capitol Hill is a good source for small mementos.

How do I contact the Visitors prior to the hosted dinner?

If you have any questions regarding your guests prior to a hosted dinner, please contact Utah Global Diplomacy’s Program Director. In case you need to contact the Visitors the night of the dinner, Utah Global Diplomacy will provide you with the Dept. of State International Visitor Liaison’s contact information.

How do I contact the Visitors after they leave Utah?

Utah Global Diplomacy will provide you with your guests’ professional biographies, which contain their contact information. Please feel welcome and encouraged to correspond via social media and email. If you need assistance contacting your guests, please contact Utah Global Diplomacy. We also invite you to follow Utah Global Diplomacy’s groups on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where you can learn more about our programs and keep in touch with the alumni.

What if I need to cancel?

We hope this won’t happen, but we know emergencies can occur. Please let the Utah Global Diplomacy Program Director know immediately if you need to cancel a hosted dinner. The more notice we have, the easier it is to make alternate arrangements for your guests.

FAQs: Food

What do you recommend that I serve? What will my guests expect?

An “all-American” meal means different things to different people. The best rule of thumb is to serve what you like and feel most confident cooking. Your meal could range from stir fry to enchiladas or grilled hamburgers to roast turkey.

Don’t hesitate to host because you’re not a gourmet chef. A simple meal that will satisfy most palates is a roasted chicken, rice, green salad, and ice cream for dessert. Or, invite friends and host a potluck! Visitors don’t have too many opportunities to try fresh, local fruits and vegetables, so you may want to add a fruit or veggie tray to your meal.

We have found that casseroles are not a popular choice because the visitors cannot identify the ingredients.

Will some of my guests have special dietary needs?

If the guests you are hosting have special dietary needs, Utah Global Diplomacy will provide you with that information at least 48 hours prior to the hosting event. That could include food allergies or religious dietary restrictions. If religious dietary restrictions are requested, Utah Global Diplomacy can provide you with helpful guidelines, as well as suggestions for supermarkets where you can purchase food that meets these guidelines. When in doubt, have plenty of rice, vegetables, and fruits on hand.

Will my guests expect alcohol, tea, or coffee to be served?

Many cultures enjoy having wine or other alcoholic beverages with their meal; however, this is not expected. Participants from other cultures may request that alcohol not be served. Utah Global Diplomacy will provide you with any information we receive regarding your guests’ preferences. Please apply your own personal standards to your event. We have found that most cultures enjoy a hot beverage, such as tea, at the end of a meal.

May I take my guests to a restaurant?

Our International Visitors look forward to having dinner at a host home because it is a “once-in-a-lifetime” opportunity to visit a typical American home. Going to a restaurant can detract from this experience. If you live far away or have limited space, consider co-hosting with friends or family.