The World At Your Table – An Evening of Home Hospitality

The World At Your Table

"The home hospitality program has allowed my family to meet people from around the world and share not only American culture but also learn about our guests' respective home cultures." ~ Home Host
Home hosts are encouraged to take photos and share their stories of hosting participants either on social media or through Meridian's Visitor Services Program Associate. Consent from the visitors is required before posting anything!
Home hosts are encouraged to take photos and share their stories either on social media or through Meridian's Visitor Services Program Associate. Consent from the visitors is required before posting anything!

Throughout the year, volunteers welcome visitors from around the world into their homes for an evening of dinner and conversation, an event which we call "Home Hospitality". These visitors are participating in the International Visitor Leadership Program (IVLP), a professional Department of State sponsored program that prizes above all the exchange of ideas with American citizens. Home Hospitality provides the visitors with this opportunity while sharing a casual meal and conversation with hosts in an American home.

While the participants are here for professional purposes, this is a way to extend their visit beyond offices and meeting and allow them to engage with Americans on a personal level. Home Hospitality is a vital part of the international visitors’ programs, as it forges connections and lifelong friendships among people around the world.

Read about a volunteer's experiences hosting visitors here!

To be eligible, you must live in the Washington DC metro area.

Please fill out THIS APPLICATION completely and email it to visitorservices@meridian.org.

Participant Testimonials

"I felt very welcome and the host gave me a glimpse of their lives. I met people who were not only extremely friendly but also very interested in my lifestyle and background. I had such an amazing time that one evening was simply too short and time flew by. Hopefully I will see them in the future again, so we can continue where we left off. Thank you so much for this opportunity, it really was an amazing addition to the IVLP program!”
"They were really curious about the country we are from, about people, social and public health situation and especially history. It was a delightful experience for us and, I want to believe, for the host and her lovely friends...I would definitely encourage the home dinner part of the program, because it is a unique experience about the life of people in United States."

FAQ

If you would like to become a Home Hospitality volunteer, please fill out the form above under the "Appy Now" button with your name and email address. Someone will contact you with an application and more information about the program.

The application is our chance to get to know you better so we can pair you with groups of international visitors. Specifically, we ask for your contact information, professional experience, volunteer experience, educational background, language skills, international travel and overall interests.

We would like you to commit to at least two Home Hospitalities a year. Whenever possible, we try to give you 1-2 weeks advance notice. We especially appreciate your willingness to accommodate visitors on short notice or during holiday periods, but we understand that this may not always be possible. The size of the groups varies from 1 or 2 to half a dozen depending upon the visitors’ language abilities and your capacity to host.

Assignments are often made based on host availability. In an email request sent to our home hospitality volunteer base, we share biographic information about the visitors. You are always welcomed and encouraged to invite other guests, such as friends and family, to join the event. An interpreter will be assigned to accompany the visitors if their language ability requires it.

This should be a casual experience and the meal served does not need to be elaborate. Dietary restrictions, smoking, and pet concerns will be clearly stated in advance. One week before the dinner we will confirm the arrangements we have made. Should you not receive a call the day before the hospitality, you may wish to contact Visitor Services directly.

The appropriate length of time for Home Hospitality is completely at the host’s discretion, but you should plan for about two hours. Depending on how the conversation goes, it could take longer or shorter. The host should always feel comfortable setting a limit and politely giving notice when it’s time to wrap things up.

Since many of the international visitors have recently arrived in the U.S. and may not yet feel comfortable using our public transportation, we would greatly appreciate it if you could meet the visitors at their hotel and return them at the end of the evening.

We encourage you to follow-up with Visitor Services by phone or email. Speak freely about your experience and give us any thoughts and suggestions that would enhance future Home Hospitalities. If you know of anyone who is interested in becoming a volunteer, please have them contact Visitor Services.

Jameson Hall, Visitor Services Associate | (202) 478-6907 | jhall@meridian.org