Georgia is located in the southeastern United States and was named after Great Britain's King George II. Georgia enjoys a typically mild southern climate, with statewide highs averaging in the mid-80s. Atlanta is Georgia’s largest city and home of the Coca Cola Company Headquarters and factory, which you can visit on a guided tour. The state of Georgia is rich in southern history. Some of the most popular attractions include the Stone Mountain granite dome, Savannah historical district (Georgia’s oldest city, beautifully preserved), Civil War battlefields, museums and several different national parks. The CNN Center, Georgia Aquarium, the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site (childhood home of the famous civil rights leader) are some of the must-sees. To travel around the state, you will need to rent a car, book a bus or train ticket. For more information visit: exploregeorgia.org.
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Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site. Photo via National Park Service.
Add some local history to your cultural exchange experience by visiting a nearby historical site or tourist attraction when living and working in the U.S.
Learn about Native American history and culture at the Etowah Indian Mounds Historic Site, a site with six earthen mounds that were political and historical centers for the society that once lived in the area. A museum also shares artifacts that have been found on the site, and visitors can also follow a nature trail around the area.
Flannery O’Connor’s childhood home in Savannah is now a museum dedicated to the life and writings of the famous author. Visitors can tour the house or attend free events held at the museum.
The Martin Luther King, Jr. National Historic Site is dedicated to the memory of the civil rights leader. Many historical sites are located here, including his birth home, his tomb and exhibits at Freedom Hall.
Pickett’s Mill Battlefield Historic Site is a well-preserved Civil War site in Dallas, GA. Visitors can see earthworks built by men fighting in the Civil War, see a film, artifacts and exhibits about the site, and explore the area on hiking trails.
Roosevelt’s Little White House Historic Site has many historical sites about President Franklin D. Roosevelt, including museums, a memorial and exhibits.
The Georgia Music Hall of Fame in Macon focuses on the state’s cultural heritage and musical history. Many artists have been inducted to the hall of fame, including Otis Redding, Ray Charles, Usher, Johnny Mercer and Little Richard. The Hall of Fame also has exhibits and events about Georgia’s musical heritage.
The World of Coca-Cola in Atlanta allows visitors to learn about the famous beverage and see many exhibits, artworks and special events.
- Altamaha Coastal Tours
- Augusta Canal Tours
- Bicycle Tours of Atlanta
- Historic Savannah Trolley Tour
- North Georgia Tours
- Okefenokee Adventures
- Old Savannah Land & Sea Tour
- Sweet Lowland Tybee Tours
The United States offers a wide variety of cultural learning opportunities through the arts. Dance, music, theater, opera, art museums and festivals are just some of the options available to international visitors who wish to learn more about the U.S. and its culture.
Georgia is filled with art and cultural attractions and has been the home of many famous authors, musicians and artists, including Flannery O’Connor, Ray Charles, Little Richard, Gladys Knight and R.E.M., to name only a few. Performing arts venues and museums can be found throughout the state, including the arts and cultural attractions below.
- Alliance Theater
- Atlanta Ballet
- The Atlanta Opera
- High Museum of Art
- Fulton County Arts
- Museum of Design Atlanta (MODA)
- Symphony Orchestra of Augusta
- First Friday – Artists’ Row
- Gertrude Herbert Institute of Art
- Morris Museum of Art
Many Americans are passionate about sports – and not just baseball and football! Get a glimpse into this part of American culture by watching or participating in a favorite U.S. sport or recreational activity in your local area.
Professional Sports Teams
There are several professional sports teams in Georgia based in the capital city of Atlanta:
Tickets for professional sporting events can be found on team websites (see above), and often on the following websites:
- TicketExchange by Ticketmaster to buy or sell tickets from season ticket holders and fans.
- StubHub for tickets and last-minute deals.
College Sports in Georgia
The University of Georgia football team, the Georgia Bulldogs, is a leading college football team in the United States playing at Stanford Stadium in Athens, GA.
The Georgia Institute of Technology football team, the Georgia Tech Yellow Jackets, has a long-standing rivalry with the Georgia Bulldogs.
Other colleges in Georgia with sports teams include:
- Georgia State University
- Georgia Southern University
- Mercer University
- Kennesaw State University
- Savannah State University
The Masters Tournament, one of four major golf tournaments in the U.S., is held at the Augusta National Golf Club each April.
Mosaiculture at the Atlanta Botanical Garden. Photo by Eric Sonstroem.
The United States is home to a variety of landscapes and climates to suit all types of outdoor activities. The courageous traveler can find extreme sports and outdoor adventure tours, while others may want to keep both feet on the ground in a national park or forest. Whatever your interests, take advantage of the many outdoor activities available during your time in the United States.
Georgia marks the beginning of the Appalachian Trail, a hiking trail that runs from Georgia to Maine in the northern United States. Visitors can hike part of the trail in the Chattahoochee-Oconee National Forest. Camping, fishing, hunting, biking and horseback riding are also available in the area.
Cumberland Island National Seashore is Georgia’s largest barrier island and home to forests, marshes and beaches. The island is accessible by ferry and has outdoor activities like swimming, hiking, camping, biking and fishing.
Jekyll Island has many family events, festivals and outdoor activities throughout the year and it is a popular travel destination in Georgia. Outdoor recreation options include fishing, kayaking, horseback riding, hiking trails, eco-excursions and more.
If you're in Atlanta, check out the Atlanta Outdoor Club to meet new people while doing something fun!
Okefenokee National Wildlife Refuge in southern Georgia is made up of many habitats and landscapes, including marshes, cypress forests, prairies, lakes, islands and the Okefenokee Swamp. Visitors can enjoy hiking, canoeing, fishing, special outdoor events and see animals like alligators, cranes and 400 other species of animals.
Tallulah Gorge State Park in northern Georgia has whitewater rafting, camping, hiking trails, swimming, biking and other outdoor activities.
Patts Blueberries. Photo by PhreddieH3.
One of the best ways to experience cultural exchange is through food and cooking. Visitors will enjoy exploring the regional specialties and local cuisine during their time in the United States.
Georgia cuisine is rooted in the Deep South and the cultural influence of the rural Scots-Irish, Native American and African American populations. Some popular food in Georgia includes pecans, peaches, peanuts, Brunswick stew, seafood and southern staples like shrimp, grits and barbecue.
- Georgia Blueberry Festival, Alma, May
- Atlanta Food and Wine Festival, May/June
- Atlanta Bar-B-Q Festival, September
- Shrimp and Grits Festival, Jekyll Island, September
- Taste of Atlanta, October
Macon Georgia Cherry Blossom Festival. Photo by Glenn Grossman.
For a unique and local perspective on American culture, be sure to check out festivals and events near your cultural exchange program location. These events are a fun and interesting way to interact with locals and to learn more about American culture by experiencing it firsthand.
The Dogwood Festival is a popular Atlanta event in April that celebrates the arrival of spring. Artists display their work in Piedmont Park and live music, food, and events are also featured over the three-day festival.
Fiesta Atlanta is a celebration of Cinco de Mayo and Mexican-American culture. The event is filled with music, food, cultural events and music.
The Savannah Film Festival is an 8-day event with films from both students and professional filmmakers. The event also includes workshops, panels and lectures.
Savannah Music Festival is the largest music event in Georgia and is held over three weeks in March/April. It attracts artists from many genres of music, including pop, bluegrass, jazz, symphonic and dance.
The Sweet Auburn Springfest is a free outdoor festival in the Sweet Auburn historic district of Atlanta. The three-day event has food, entertainment and family-friendly events.
Employers may be able to assist with housing during your time in the United States, but this is not always possible for all participants. When looking for housing during your cultural exchange program, consider the cost of the accommodation, the distance to your work place and the amount of time you will be in the United States.
It's also important to avoid fraudulent housing. It is highly recommended that you secure short-term housing upon arrival (e.g. in a hostel) and conduct your housing search once you are in the U.S. Never give your financial information to a stranger over the Internet. Browse the Housing Information guides for InterExchange participants below for more tips and advice.
General Housing Information
- Housing information for Work and Travel USA participants
- Housing information for Career Training USA interns and trainees
Georgia Housing Resources
Some examples of housing and accommodation resources for Georgia participants include:
- Craigslist - Georgia
- American Homestay Agency
- Hostelling International
Atlanta Housing Resources
Public transportation options can be hit or miss, depending on your location in the United States. Buses are a common transportation option for short and long-term travel in the U.S., while some areas will also have trains, subways and other options.
Visit the American Public Transportation Association website for a complete list of public transportation options in your local community.
- MARTA is the public transportation system in Atlanta and includes both bus and trail services.
- Chatham Area Transit (CAT) serves the Savannah region.
- Buses are available in Columbus from the METRA transit system.
- For bus travel in Athens, Georgia, visit Athens Transit.
- Greyhound and Megabus operate bus routes in Georgia and throughout the U.S.
- Amtrak serves several cities in Georgia, including Savannah, Atlanta, Gainesville, Jessup and Toccoa.
- Visit the MARTA website for information on train travel in the Atlanta area.
- Learn more about commuter rail services in Georgia at the Department of Transportation website.
- For further information on all public transit systems in Georgia, visit the Transit Services page on the DOT website.
Participants in Georgia can use the following resources in case of an emergency or extreme weather event in their area:
Emergency Management Agencies
- Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) www.fema.gov and www.ready.gov
- Georgia FEMA updates on Twitter @femaregion4
Interact with others and expand your skill set by volunteering in your local community. Volunteer organizations are often looking for short-term volunteers or for individuals to help with a single event, making it a great option for InterExchange participants who wish to add to their cultural exchange experience during their time in the United States.
Hands On Atlanta is a community-based volunteer service organization that helps individuals find volunteer opportunities.
Community Connection of Northeast Georgia connects volunteers with organizations in need of help.
The Food Bank of Northeast Georgia has volunteer opportunities for both individuals and groups.
Be a volunteer with Georgia State Parks and get the opportunity to help with conservation and community service.