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Host Family Gifts

January 15th, 2006

So my friend Becky, who has studied abroad before, says to me, “You’d better not show up empty-handed. Your host family would appreciate it if you brought them a gift. ”

“What kind of gift should I bring?” says I.

“Something American, something that would represent where you’re from.”

The first thing I did was e-mail everyone in my program. “What are you guys bringing as gifts for your families?” I got a variety of responses ranging from, “I didn’t even think of a gift!” to “Take chocolate.” No help there.

I’ve since spent many grueling hours trying to come up with gifts for people I know nothing about. Finally a breakthrough! I wanted to buy a photobook of my college campus, since it’s a really beautiful place, and it would give my family an idea of where I’ve been living for the past 4 years. No such luck, I couldn’t find one. I did find a beautiful book with photos of natural scenery and wildlife from the state of Indiana, which I bought and wrapped today. So that takes care of the parents.

I’m still struggling with finding appropriate gifts for my 14-year old host brother and 23-year old host sister. My mom thinks I should get the brother an Ohio State University shirt, since I’m originally from Ohio. I ‘m a little skeptical, since I don’t go to Ohio State. I go to Indiana University. She also suggested some nice earrings for my sister. I like to bead, so maybe I can make her some?

What do you guys think?

3 Responses to “Host Family Gifts”

  1. Tim on January 15, 2006 7:25 am

    I think a sweatshirt from ANY US University would be popular. As for the sister… clothes, makeup, jewelry… they all work.

    And Becky is right… in Costa Rica you NEVER go to anyone’s home empty handed. Even after you are here and visit anyones home, always stop for a little something… a loaf of fresh bread… whatever. It is the culture.

  2. Sherri on April 17, 2006 2:45 pm


    I’m not real up on the exact details of Costa Rica’s climate, but here’s a thought from someone who used to live in Miami. I almost NEVER wore sweatshirts. It’s HOT 350 days of the year, and warm most of the rest. T-shirts could be worn and enjoyed all the time…


  3. Casta Laetitia on April 20, 2007 5:07 pm

    Casta Laetitia

    I Googled for something completely different, but found your page…and have to say thanks. nice read.