Hi dolls! Today I’m going to share a little more insight about living with a host family abroad since my first post about how to make a great impression and build a trusting relationship with your host family was a hit. You can read that post here! Since that post did so well I decided I would write a follow-up post about what types of gifts are appropriate to bring to your host fam. You may be thinking ” I have to bring them a gift?”. The answer is yes, you do! While it is not explicitly required by most programs it is the right thing to do to show your appreciation for the people who will be opening up their home to you for an extended amount of time. The gift you give doesn’t have to be anything extravagant, in fact I think the best gifts are small items that have a lot of personal meaning. It pays to shop around for a while at local stores until you find the perfect thing to share with your host family! Remember, your gift is a reflection of yourself and your culture!
I just want to point out that these gifts ideas are from my perspective as a student living in the US, however a lot of these ideas are quite universal! Without further adieu, here are 10 amazing gifts that your host family is sure to love!
1. Mugs: Everyone loves to add a cute mug to their collection! Bonus points if your mug has designs specific to your college or hometown. If there are multiple family members you can bring a mug for each of them. You can also consider stuffing the mugs with some of your favorite goodies, I love this option because it is so customizable.
2. Coffe Table Book: These are those large books filled with stunning images that you see at Barnes and Noble and wonder “Who would buy that?”. The answer is someone who wants to buy a thoughtful gift for their host family! This is a great option because it can be enjoyed by all family members and will last a long time.
3. Sweet Treats: Sweets like maple syrup, peanut butter cups, marshmallows and chocolate chips are always a great thing to bring to your host family – especially if they have young kids! These fun sweets are not always readily available in other countries so it’s always fun to share them with people who don’t usually eat these things!
4. A Calendar: Lots of places sell calendars filled with lovely images of landscape or landmarks. What better way to show your host family where you come from than with a practical calendar filled with vibrant pictures.
5. Apparel: Stores like Old Navy and Gap sell some really cute patriotic T-shirts every summer. You can buy one for each member of your host family as a patriotic gift! Other great ideas include apparel from your local sports team or from your college bookstore, these options might be a little more expensive though.
6. Cookbooks: It could be really fun to share a book full of your favorite recipes with your host family. This is a great gift because it will allow your host family to learn how to prepare and enjoy some classic foods from your culture. If they’re open to it you could even help them make some of the recipes!
7. Crafts from local artisans: Do you live near any art fairs or open-air craft markets? If so this is a perfect place to hunt for a gift for your host family. You’re sure to find bracelets, dining ware, hats and many other beautiful handmade goods!
8. Stuffed Animals: If there are kids in your host family you can’t go wrong with this option! There are so many cute stuffed animals of popular cartoon characters from every country. If you’re traveling from America beanie babies are always a terrific option!
9. Bath products: It’s always nice when you get to experience popular cosmetics and personal care items that are not available in your country. To find some nice bath and body items for your host family try Bath and Body Works, Lush or the Body Shop! Some local artisans may also make things like soap bars or bath bombs!
10. Popular American Novels: It’s always a safe bet to bring some classic American tales to your host family. You can pick up copies of famous books like The Great Gatsby and To Kill a Mockingbird at local bookstores. This gift is perfect if you know that there are bookworms in your host family. You can even try to find copies of these books that are translated into your host family’s language.
So that’s it, a list of great, inexpensive gifts that are sure to make your host family ooh and aww. Let me know in the comments if you’ve ever stayed with a host family and if so what you brought them as a gift!