It doesn’t matter whether your guest is an international exchange student or a more local exchange student within the same country, state, or adjoining state an initial warm welcome is important.
Remember that for a lot of students regardless of their age it could be their first time away from home and family. From experience almost all exchange students bring the family they are to stay with a gift from themselves and their families. It will usually be something from their local culture. The exchange of small gifts is bound to break the ice as you immediately have a common topic to talk about.
There are so many gifts ideas for exchange students just a few are: gift baskets filled with practical items they can use on their homestay with you. Gift shop gifts when you take them to visit local attractions. Sports memorabilia, edible treats, t-shirts, jewelry, books, collectibles, and even funny gifts.
Before we get into the gift list I have compiled the next two points that are really important upon your student’s first arrival:-
- They will be tired and overwhelmed with everything that is foreign to them. So to begin with just start with the essential need-to-know stuff and after they have eaten and slept you can bombard them with the rest.
- Your initial welcome would consist of introducing family members, the room they will stay in, the layout of the house approximate times house members start in the morning. Approximate, breakfast, lunch, and dinner times. Assist them to set up their devices on wifi then let them call home if they are able.
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Welcome Gifts for Foreign Exchange Students
The following gift ideas are based on the exchange student coming to the United States of America from a foreign country.
Where ever you are in the world you can easily apply the suggestions below to your own country.
Thoughtful Gift of Essentials
In the room they are staying in you can provide all the relevant information they will need to start integrating into their new lifestyle.
- A list of important contacts – family members’ and neighbors’ names and telephone numbers
- A list of addresses and telephone numbers for school, library, your work, local stores
- A list of how to contact – how to make an international call, how to catch public transport, how to join the library, how to call the police, fire, and medical assistance
- List of local restaurants, cinemas, and places to visit
- A guide book of the local area
1. A Phone Card
2. Prepaid Cell Phone
3. Portable Telephone Charger
So they always have a fully charged telephone. These power banks are lightweight and when leaving home with a fully charged bank you never have to worry about mobile devices running out of battery power. Solar charger options are also available with built-in flashlights for extra safety.
4. Local Map
5. Public Transportation Map
6. School Supplies
Welcome Gift Baskets
I believe we are all the same when it comes to trying new eats and treats when we are visiting somewhere new.
The same can be said for children especially teenagers away from home. This list is just a few ideas I am certain you will come up with a lot more!
Many countries have a small selection of popular treats from other countries – but I guarantee that the ones they try at their homestay will taste very different from the imports they may have tasted at home.
I love this ready-made “healthy snack gift basket” that you can see by clicking on the image above.
7. Fruit Baskets
Filled with seasonal fruit is a beautifully fresh way to be welcomed
8. A Basket of American Treats
What student wouldn’t love a basket dedicated to treats with little sample taste items such as Reese’s peanut butter cups, skittles, chocolates, Altoids, gum, nuts, crackers, cheese…
9. A Local Gift Basket
A basket or hamper filled with local toiletries, tissues, snacks, maps, phone chargers…
10. Made in the USA – Beer nuts
11. Peanut Butter
12. Gummy Candy
13. Jelly Bellies
14. Saltwater Taffy
15. Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups
16. Maple Sugar Candy
17. Box of Local Handmade Chocolates
Check out a few of the brands of locally made chocolate candy like Hershey’s, Sponge Candy from New York, Hawaiian Aloha Mac’s, Ghirardelli, Philidelphia Homemade Candies, and Purple Plum from New York City, and Hammond’s Kosher Candy Bars handcrafted in the USA.
18. Local Handmade Cookies
20. Real Maple Syrup
21. Beef Jerky
22. Sharing Box
Make a box of treats they can share with family and friends when they return home.
Note: You will have to check your student’s local customs regulations to see what they are allowed to take into their country! You don’t want your gifts or what they might purchase to take home to end up in the trash.
27. Old Navy American Flag t-shirts
28. Woven items at the Grand Canyon for example
A charm bracelet, necklace, or earrings. These are especially nice if you can pick up something local and handmade. Such are quartz items made in and around the Grand Canyon.
Practical gifts come in all shapes with various uses. They can also be fun as well as branded in a company brand or a state/country emblem. Check out the many brands that have USA memorabilia available and conveniently located in-store. They could include:
For example, Starbucks has states and towns printed on their mugs and travel mugs. Check out the many brands that
31. Bowl, Plates, Glasses
32. Reusable Bags
Wholefoods, Old Navy, Trader Joe’s – I send reusable bags to family members overseas who love them – (I still have my tiny “Harrods of London” bag from 1998 – I bought a chocolate bar to obtain that little paper bag!)
33. Sports Memorabilia
34. A football or baseball set
35. Baseball Caps
36. A baseball ball, bat, or gloves
37. American football
38. A jersey or cap from one of your local sports teams – hockey, baseball, football…
39. Local Attractions
Stores and local attractions will have themed gifts that are unique to your area.
Books and directories of your area will be appreciated when taken home to family and friends who will want as much information about their stay as possible.
Postcards are always a hit to take home and place in a memorandum book.
Make sure you keep all entry tickets, brochures, etc from any place you visit – they can then be placed in a memorandum book as a keepsake for your student to take home.
40. Site Seeing Gifts
When you are out showing your student around you can buy them something from the gift shop.
I know that it is usually a little more expensive, but the upside is that they will remember the tour or attraction and be able to match the gift with that experience.
You will find baseball caps, pullovers, t-shirts, mugs, jewelry, tea towels, spoons, puzzles, books, postcards, and even local edible treats.
United States Gift Ideas
Each US state is renowned for at least something!
Washington for “The White House”. California for bears and celebrities of course.
Here is a list of just some of the many gifts you can find with the United States in mind.
41. Jigsaw puzzle of an American landmark
42. A jigsaw puzzle of the US
43. 3D puzzles
A small U.S.A. flag on a pole or a larger one will fold easily into the suitcase to take home.
45. 4th July Gift
Like a bbq apron, this is a versatile gift not only for cooking.
A cookbook of American homestyle food if they cook or bake or even if they would like to learn how to cook.
A board game featuring the 50 states of the US
A book of American literature/poetry.
A piece of clothing that screams “American” – for example, cowboy boots or a cowboy hat. Something authentic to your American State.
50. Scented Candle
A homesick-scented candle is just one of many brands, check out local candles in your area for that special home-state scent.
51. A Coffee Table Book
A beautiful coffee table book featuring your home country or state
A mug with pictures of the home country or state printed on it, or a picture of the homestay family.
53. Waffle Iron
A waffle iron is available in each state like Texas or USA as above.
54. USA-Shaped Food
Noodles in the shape of the USA, Texas, and other states.
Not So Boring American Flag
The American flag as a gift need not be boring here a just a few ideas to give the American Flag as a gift to a student far from home.
57. Throw Blankets
Flags in the form of a bed throw or cuddly lounge blanket. Made from many kinds of materials in a huge range of shapes, sizes, and colors.
58. Key Rings
59. Refrigerator Magnets
60. US Dog Tags
61. Ice Cube Makers
Ice cube makers in the shape of the US are then broken down into states.
62. Craft Bags
63. Holiday Ornaments
Christmas holiday ornaments are always a nice keepsake from another country.
Check out an awesome range of quirky USA gift ideas here at Amazon.
64. Coin collections
65. Stamp sets
Collectible spoons – there is one available for each of the 50 states of the US, also with many tourist attractions like the Grand Canyon or Hoover Dam.
Sports cards – like baseball cards.
68. Baseball collectibles
69. Superbowl collectibles
70. Vintage collectibles
Visit the collectibles range at Amazon here you are sure to find something that will suit your exchange student. You can see the maps they could easily take home as a souvenir by clicking the image below.
72. Departing Gifts
I love the idea of photo books. They are easy to make and you will have them in the mail within a couple of days. Your student will love taking it home to show family and friends all the wonderful experiences they had with their exchange family.
T-shirt with one of your favorite photos of the time you all spent together on it.
Final Thoughts – Welcome Gifts for Exchange Students
Selecting gifts for your exchange student shouldn’t be stressful. You can find out what their interests are and go from there.
With a little bit of pre-planning and thought you will find the perfect gift within your budget – possibly without leaving your home.
I am certain that whatever you give them as a welcoming gift they will treasure it.
Gift ideas for someone special…