This article was last updated on May 30th, 2020
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.
If 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 are really important upon your student first arriving:-
- 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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Click on each image to check out the gift ideas as well as their styles, colors, and prices…
Welcome Gifts for Foreign Exchange Students
The following gifts ideas are based upon 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.
The 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 address 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
- A phone card
- Prepaid cell phone
- Local Map
- Public transportation map
- School supplies
- Portable telephone charger – so they never run out of battery for their devices
Welcome Gift Basket
- Fruit baskets filled with seasonal fruit a beautifully fresh way to be welcomed
- A basket dedicated to treats with little sample taste items such as Reese’s peanut butter cups, skittles, chocolates, Altoids, gum, nuts, crackers, cheese…
- A basket filled with local toilets, tissues, snacks, map, phone charger…
I love this ready-made “healthy snack gift basket” that you can see by clicking on the image below.
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.
- Made in the USA – Beer nuts
- Peanut Butter
- Gummy candy
- Jelly Bellies
- Saltwater taffy
- Reese’s peanut butter cups
- Maple sugar candy
- Box of local chocolates
- Real maple syrup
- Beef jerky
- Sharing box of treats they share when they get home
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.
- Old Navy American Flag t-shirts
- 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.
They could include:
- Mug – for example, Starbucks have states and towns printed on their mugs and travel mugs
- Bowl, plates, glasses
- Reusable bag – Wholefoods, Old Navy, Trader Joe’s – I send reusable bags to family members overseas they love them – (I still have my tiny “Harrods of London” bag from 1998 – I bought a chocolate bar to obtain that little paper bag!)
- A football or baseball set
- Baseball caps
- A baseball ball, bat or gloves
- American football
- A jersey or cap from one of your local sports teams – hockey, baseball, football…
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.
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, 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 the celebrities of course.
- Here is a list of just some of the many gifts you can find with the United States in mind.
- Jigsaw puzzle of an American landmark
- A jigsaw puzzle of the US
- 3D puzzles
- A small U.S. flag
- 4th July gift – like a bbq apron if they like cooking
- A cookbook if they cook or bake or if they would like to learn
- A board games featuring the 50 states of the US
- A book of American literature/poetry
- A piece of clothing that seems “American” – for example, cowboy boots or a cowboy hat
- Homesick scented candle
- A coffee table book featuring your home country or state
- Mug with pictures home country or state
For example, in each state, you can purchase various items like ornaments, noodles, waffle makers shaped like Texas or another state.
The American flag as a gift need not be boring there are socks, beanies, flags in the form of fleece bed throws, key rings, refrigerator magnets, US dog tags, ice cube makers in the shape of the US then broken down into states, even craft bags. Check out an awesome range of quirky USA gift ideas here at Amazon.
Christmas holiday ornaments are always a nice keepsake from another country.
- Coin collections
- Stamp sets
- Collectible spoons – there is one available for each of the 50 states of the US
- Sports cards – like baseball cards
- Baseball collectibles
- Superbowl collectibles
- Vintage collectibles
Visit collectibles range and 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.
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 preplanning 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.