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The tips below are suggestions, not rules. They are largely generalizations and will not cover all situations. The most important thing is to go with the flow, relax and enjoy your delegation! If there are any questions or concerns, please contact CIP’s program coordinator.

Before Arrival

Try to become acquainted with your guest’s culture; your delegates will appreciate your interest. Checking out different websites may be helpful.

Learning a few phrases from your guest’s language goes a long way, and is very much appreciated by the visitors.

During The Visit


Some cultures are more formal than Americans and might appear stiff. Engage them in conversation by asking questions about their culture, families and work.

Some cultures are more formal than Americans and might appear stiff. Engage them in conversation by asking questions about their culture, families and work.

  • In many professional situations where Americans would have a free-flowing discussion, visitors adhere to protocol. If necessary, prompt your delegates to ask questions and discuss concepts freely. While interactive sessions often start awkwardly, delegates often find them to be some of the most rewarding experiences.
  • Ask guests about their home country and city, and don’t be afraid to discuss the differences between life in America and their country.


  • Host families should offer their guests meals if they are at home. Visitors tend to wait on their guests almost hand and foot, and it is unlikely that delegates would help themselves to the refrigerator or pantry even if they have been instructed to do so.
  • At restaurants, discuss portion size and full-course meal versus a la cart. Visitors tend to order a la cart without any idea as to the portion size, which can result in over-ordering. Depend on facilitators or interpreters for advice.
  • Buffets are a good dining option because they allow the delegates to sample different foods. Barbecues are also popular.
  • Delegations often get tired of restaurants and heave a sigh of relief when they can just relax around the table. Try to include a few meals in a host family home or even ask your guest to prepare a meal. This is when songs get sung, and pictures get shared, and guests really enjoy interacting with their hosts.


  • Your international guests will want to present gifts to key people. You might let the facilitator know that you are aware of this practice so he/she can inform your guests that you can help identify who should receive gifts. The delegates usually work this out among themselves, but you should be aware that they are sometimes worried about bringing enough, or appropriate trinkets with them. Be prepared to give advice if asked.
  • The delegates will appreciate any little gifts that the local host and any other involved organizations can provide. Also, small welcome packages with disposable cameras, soaps, and other toiletries are well received and not very expensive to plan for.


  • Delegates may need help finding phone cards, camera film, or everyday items at drugstores. They might also need assistance using phone cards, using electrical appliances, finding groceries, getting film developed, etc. Your guests may overdress (by American standards) for a restaurant for example, or not know when American-style business casual would be perfectly appropriate for a professional activity.
  • Your guests may worry about drafts from open windows, and very cold air conditioning.

Finally, the tips provided here are just a guide, and should not inhibit you. The most important think you can do it is to be yourself; warm, friendly, welcoming, and open. One of the goals of the program is to allow you and your guests to learn about your cultural differences.


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