Georgia State University (GSU) values its many partnerships with higher education institutions around the world. Building and sustaining these international linkages is critical to the achievement of our vision of becoming a leading global university. Below you will find information regarding the organization of these visits.
For International Visitors
Visiting Georgia State University?
Whether visiting GSU as an international student, scholar, or part of an official delegation, international visitors are highly valued and enrich the educational quality of the university.
Georgia State University, popularly referred to as “Georgia State,” is located in downtown Atlanta. For a first time visitor, navigating the busy streets can be daunting. The resources below are provided to enhance the experience of prospective international visitors to our campus and to the Atlanta metropolitan area.
Hosting International Visits
The Guidelines for Hosting International Visitors (see below) should be consulted when planning for short duration international visits. Such visits may involve high ranking elected or senior government officials from other countries; representatives of international institutions including universities, corporations, foundations; and international non-governmental organizations. Such visits could be for the purpose of exploring collaboration opportunities, discussing existing joint activities, courtesy calls or signing ceremonies.
Internal planning for a short duration international visitors and delegations is initiated by the designated Georgia State hosting unit contact person who advised to review the Protocol Considerations for Hosting International Visitors (see below) and submit a completed International Visitors Form.
Relevant Host Links
The global engagement of Georgia State is evidenced by the breadth and diversity of its international initiatives, as well as its growing reputation and visibility abroad. Welcoming international visitors to our campus helps sustain and expand our international profile. Therefore, it is essential that international visits are well-planned, achieve intended outcomes, and leave visitors favorably impressed and committed to their relationship with Georgia State.
Meetings with the Provost and President
The Office of International Initiatives and the hosting College will be responsible for handling all arrangements for international visitors/delegations involving meetings or events with the Provost and President of the University as follows:
Initial International Visits
The Office of International Initiatives will plan and coordinate arrangements for first-time visitors/delegations. The Dean of the hosting college must approve all requests for meetings with the Provost and President.
Established International Partnership Visits
The hosting college will plan and coordinate arrangements for visitors/delegations from institutions with which GSU has an established partnership.
The Associate Provost for International Initiatives and the Dean of the hosting college will be responsible for ensuring that all necessary preparations for international visits falling in the above categories are handled in accordance with the procedures outlined below.
Meetings with other Georgia State officials
The hosting academic unit will be responsible for planning and coordinating the visits of international visitors/delegations for which no participation of the President or Provost is required. OII will support and assist with these visits as requested.
The Georgia State hosting unit must designate a contact person who will be responsible for planning and organizing the visit. The contact person, with assistance from the Office of International Initiatives as requested, will perform the following and other unanticipated tasks as necessary to ensure a successful visit:
- Establish contact with visitors prior to arrival and provide logistical, background and briefing information and support
- Identify and communicate visit objectives and expected outcomes
- Research and advise Georgia State hosts of applicable protocol and cultural considerations
- Identify, refer, and where appropriate, schedule visits with Georgia State administrators, faculty and staff
- Identify appropriate Georgia State and community participants
- Identify translation and other special services
- Coordinate briefing materials and university information packets
- Coordinate publicity/photography coverage with University Relations
- Identify appropriate gift and coordinate gift exchange, flags, seating arrangements, etc.
- Arrange appropriate refreshments, snacks or meals
To ensure that international visits to Georgia State are properly planned and efficiently executed, the above process should be initiated as soon as possible but not less than two weeks before the visit is confirmed. The Georgia State hosting unit (contact person or other designated individual) should complete and submit the International Visitors Form to the Office of International initatives. This form serves two important purposes:
- It collects information on international visitors/delegations, prior to their arrival, in order to properly plan their visits to Georgia State. This information will be collected for all international visitors conducting official business with the university.
- It also serves as a useful tool for collecting information on international visitors that can be shared broadly with the larger university community. Details on recent and upcoming international visits will be posted on the university, Office of International Initatives and college websites to inform Georgia State personnel and to facilitate contact, consultation, and potential collaboration with international guests.
The Office of International Initiatives, in collaboration with the academic units, will conduct annual follow up assessments of international visits to identify outcomes and benefits to Georgia State, as exemplified by: the initiation of new partnerships involving student and faculty exchange; study abroad; collaborative research; teaching initiatives; joint hosting of conferences, workshops, symposia; collaboratively pursuing grant funding opportunities, etc.
The results of these reviews will be shared broadly with the Georgia State community and also will be used to refine this guidance.
Georgia State values its many partnerships with higher education institutions around the world. Building and sustaining these international linkages is critical to the achievement of our vision of becoming a leading global university. Therefore, international visitors to our campus must be well received and afforded culturally relevant courtesies and considerations.
This guidance in not intended to be definitive. Rather, it highlights a few important considerations that will enhance the quality and success of international visits. In preparing for international visitors, do not hesitate to refer to the many online resources on international protocol and other information related to hosting international visitors. Some useful links are included below. Also, if you have specific questions or require assistance in preparing for a visit, please contact the Office of International Initiatives.
Hosting College Deans or the Associate Provost for International Initiatives will coordinate arrangements for visits involving the President and Provost of the University. The Office of International Initiatives will support and assist colleges and departments as requested with other international visitors (see Guidelines for Hosting International Visitors.)
Prior consideration should be given to accommodations for international visitors. While in most instances local hotels within walking distance of the university will be adequate, factors such as the position/status of the visitor(s), relative importance of the visit to Georgia State, and nature of accommodations afforded to comparable Georgia State visits to the visitors' country of origin also will need to be considered.
If possible, meet visiting delegations at the airport. Also, make plans to escort visitors to all meetings and events and to provide them with transportation for the duration of their visit. This is particularly important if Georgia State has received such treatment in the visitor's country of origin.
Always prepare a detailed itinerary that minimally includes names, titles, and arrival and departure information of visitor (s); names and titles of Georgia State officials to be seen; date, time, location of meeting or event; responsible Georgia State party and the latter's contact information. Do not over-program guest(s) and if jet lag is a factor, build in down time.
Err on the side of formality when introducing guests. Titles and positions often carry more prestige in other cultures than they do in the U.S. Try to review the cultural practices relative to handshakes, bowing, etc. before the guests arrive. Always be prepared with an adequate supply of business cards to exchange with guests.
It is appropriate to exchange gifts with visiting international delegations and GSU should expect that official international delegations will arrive on campus bearing gifts. International visitors typically present high quality gifts and this should be kept in mind in selecting gifts for our guests. The hosting unit is responsible for acquiring appropriate gifts and coordinating presentation arrangements.
Ceremonies involving the signing of agreements or special presentations should always be conducted with an air of formality. Gifts can be exchanged either at the beginning or end of the ceremony. Consider displaying flags, floral arrangements, memorabilia of the country in GSU possession etc., to lend a special touch to the venue. Sign the documents with high quality GSU pens to mark the occasion and use them as gifts to the visiting delegation. The university photographer should memorialize the event. Be sure to send the photos to the guests and use them on our websites to publicize the relationship. Also, consider appropriateness of inviting outside media.
Avoid over scheduling guests but do convey that we value the relationship by showering them with hospitality. If the delegation is led by the head of the international institution, the GSU President or Provost, if they are available, should host an event in their honor. Not only is social interaction very important in many cultures, it is often the context within which business is transacted. Consider incorporating special entertainment or performances by members of the university community into events such as dinners and receptions. At meals, the highest ranking visitor is typically seated to the right of the host. Place cards are recommended for meals of more than six people. It is not advisable to prepare foods from the visitor’s culture unless you are absolutely certain it can be prepared properly.
Establish and ensure translation services for visitors whose language preference is other than English. Additional special services such as sign language or other disability services should also be planned for when necessary.