Guide to Hosting International Visitors

Why Host International Visitors?

The University of Minnesota has developed its worldwide reputation as a prestigious research university largely through its exchange and collaboration with foreign colleagues, students, and scholars and its engagement with the international academic community. This interaction has strengthened programs, created new research and professional collaborations, and promoted the University, its faculty, and alumni throughout the world. International visitors have been an integral part of the University’s bridge to the world.

Defining the Objectives of the Visit

Institutional Priorities

In planning the visit of an international guest, it is useful to consider how it contributes to the University’s mission. The University of Minnesota’s institutional and presidential priorities can guide you in hosting decisions. Consider how the following fit the mission of the international visit before deciding on the agenda for the visitor.

  • Enhancing the University’s teaching, research, and outreach capabilities in an international context
  • Enriching the cultural, political, or social diversity of the University community
  • Increasing the global community’s awareness of the University
  • Recognizing the accomplishments and contributions of key individuals affiliated with the University
  • Contributing toward an understanding of major issues facing institutions of higher education

Once the objectives of the visit are defined, consider the following questions. They will help you further clarify the purpose of the visit and plan your visitor’s time at the University.

  • Who initiated the request? Did the University extend the invitation directly or indirectly by virtue of an existing affiliation?
  • What is the University’s history with the individual, delegation, institution, or agency seeking the visit? Does the visit represent a new program in an area that the University is trying to develop? Does it help to maintain an existing relationship? Does it strengthen or augment a relationship?
  • What are the objectives of the person requesting a visit? How do the visitor’s objectives mesh with the University’s goals?
  • What is the status of the visitor? Will the visitor serve as an official representative of a government, institution, or sponsoring agency? Is the status between visitor and host an appropriate match from the perspective of both parties?
  • What are the benefits to the University for hosting the visit? Are the benefits likely to emerge in the near future or over a long period of time?
  • Are the dates and times requested reasonable in terms of planning and implementing the visit?
  • What costs will be involved in hosting the visitor?

Types of Visits

  • Celebrate: to honor, recognize, or thank (ceremonial)
  • Get acquainted/courtesy call: to establish contact for future development
  • Exchange information: to listen, learn, describe
  • Negotiate a relationship: to influence an outcome, to debate or persuade
  • Cement a relationship: to finalize an agreement
  • Showcase the University: to promote awareness, publicize accomplishments
  • Gain an understanding: of a specific program or unit