UCCD is seeking volunteers to open their homes and provide a taste of local hospitality in Utah by hosting dinner. Volunteers can be individuals, couples, families, or groups of friends interested in connecting with our global leaders. Dinner can be pizza night, a taco bar, ramen bowls, a grilled cheese extravaganza, or any other meal you would typically prepare for your family or friends. These evenings are intended to be fun, conversational, and an opportunity to learn from one another. Please continue reading for instruction on how to sign up as a host if you have not previously hosted dinners for UCCD.
Sign up for our newsletter to learn about upcoming hosting opportunities.
Why Host A Dinner?
- Our International Visitors take home a positive impression of the United States, combating stereotypes.
- You, your family, and your friends learn about new cultures, customs, history, geography, and languages.
- Hosting a dinner helps challenge value systems through meaningful dialogue.
- Finally, hosting a dinner brings the world together through food — after all, everyone eats!
Hosting a Dinner is Simple!
1. Review our Frequently Asked Questions below.
2. Sign up for our newsletter (see footer of our website) to be informed when we need Taste of Home Hospitality hosts.
Attn: Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
1840 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84105
4. Once we have received your application, a representative from UCCD will contact you to review your application, start a background check, and answer all your questions.
Thank you again for your interest in hosting dinners for our International Visitors. For questions regarding the Taste of Home Hospitality program, please call 801.832.3270.
FAQ General Questions
With some of our International Visitors, we request that you provide transportation to and from the Little America Hotel in downtown Salt Lake City usually around 6:00 pm and return them back to the hotel between 8:30-9:00 pm.
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.
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. UCCD will provide you with a CultureGram, which contains detailed information about your guests’ home country. This will help you judge if there are any topics that may be sensitive. It is usually a safe bet to ask about the Visitors’ work and families.
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.
We strongly encourage you to invite your friends and family to join you for a Taste of Home Hospitality 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.
Children are welcome to join Taste of Home Hospitality dinners, and Visitors often greatly enjoy the opportunity to talk with young people. In fact, Taste of Home Hospitality 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.
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.
UCCD informs Visitors ahead of time that the attire for Taste of Home Hospitality 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 UCCD representative.
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.
If you have any questions regarding your guests prior to a Taste of Home Hospitality dinner, please contact UCCD’s Program Director. In case you need to contact the Visitors the night of the dinner, UCCD will provide you with the Dept. of State International Visitor Liaison’s contact information.
UCCD 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 UCCD. We also invite you to follow UCCD’s groups on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram, where you can learn more about our programs and keep in touch with the alumni.
We hope this won’t happen, but we know emergencies can occur. Please let the UCCD Program Director know immediately if you need to cancel a Taste of Home Hospitality dinner. The more notice we have, the easier it is to make alternate arrangements for your guests.
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 palettes is a roasted chicken, rice, green salad, with 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 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.
If the guests you are hosting have special dietary needs, UCCD 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, UCCD 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.
Many cultures enjoy having wine or other alcoholic beverages with their meal, however, this is not expected. Participants from some cultures may request that alcohol is not served. UCCD 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.
Our International Visitors look forward to having a 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.
Share Your Stories!
UCCD is always thrilled to hear how your Taste of Home Hospitality experience went. If you have a story or photos to share that will inspire others to support the UCCD mission, complete the short questionnaire:
The Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy is required to complete a criminal background check, which is free of charge to you; However, if you prefer to provide your own background check for a non-reimbursable $15, please complete the Criminal History Record Form from the State of Utah, Department of Public Safety, Bureau of Criminal Identification and mail it to:
Attn: Utah Council for Citizen Diplomacy
1840 S 1300 E
Salt Lake City, UT 84105