Wry Exchange

Exchange Student Host Family Gifts
08-03-08, 11:58 pm
Filed under: Culture, Inbounds Inbounds, Outbounds Outbounds | Tags:

For students coming to the USA: Picture books about your country and city, cookbook with photos-in English if possible, photo postcards of your town, touristy gifts (bring lots of keychains and magnets) with your country’s name on them, anything with your country’s flag.

Examples: Chile:small copper boxes, bookmarks, and plaques.  Bolivia: Andean textiles, clay figurines.  Brasil: Havaianas, Argentina: leather, dulce de leche, Netherlands-small windmills, Delft, wooden shoes, France: silk scarves, fashion-y items, Italy-murano glass, Costa Rica-coffee beans, Germany-small cuckoo clock, beer stein, India-brass, Japan-fans 

 For students leaving the USA:  Nothing with the country name or flag.  Make your gifts state, county, or city specific-don’t bring “USA” themed items.  Photo books, picture cookbook with measuring cups for liquids and solids.  If you take scented candles or body products, make certain they are made in the states!  Pretty much anything Ralph Lauren.  Memory sticks.  Canvas tote bags.  Weird US candy-like kids’ sour candy and gum. Hot sauce, chocolates, peanut butter, maple syrup, beef jerky, Jelly Bellys, pancake mix.  Christmas ornaments.  Zippos.  Cool, useful, ‘only in Amurrica’ gifts like silicone potholders and baking , ShakeNBake,pans.  Take packets of mixes for ranch dressing, sloppy joes, tacos, meat loaf, gravy, and chili.  Leather man pocket tool, and American magazines-Newsweek, People, Vogue, InStyle, Men’s Health.  Small children enjoy Barbie and toys that tie in to current movies and TV shows.  Car adaptor for MP3/Ipod.  Small travel size bottles of US designer colognes-Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Ralph Lauren.  I have 2 fridge magnets that are great international gifts-one has a brownie recipe on it, and the other is a cooking measurement converter.  ETA: quality playing cards, poker chips, quarters from your home state.

Bonus points if the gift is state specific-Zippos/PA, Victoria’s Secret/OH, Salmon/AK, Maple Syrup/VT, Ghirardelli/CA, Hershey’s/PA, Mars/NV, Smucker’s peanut butter/OH, Turquoise/NM, Jack Daniels’/KY 🙂  Starbuck’s/WA, Old Bay seasoning/MD, Tabasco/LA, Fiesta ware/WV.

I think most countries have Jello, Heinz ketchup, and jelly/jams.   Check with your specific country, they may adore items from college and pro football teams or Nascar. Do NOT take any plant seeds.


4 Comments so far
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Why no plant seeds?

Comment by Nicole

Check the customs requirements for your particular country. Most countries will not permit you to bring in plant seeds or bulbs. I have found some bulbs at Schipol Airport specifically labelled as OK to be imported into the USA.
Here’s an interesting link about Hungarian plant protection. http://www.fvm.hu/main.php?folderID=1564
EU information for non-EU countries: Plants, seeds, seedlings, organic fertilisers and plant products which may transmit plant pests can be carried into XXX only across border crossings where the border inspection carries out health control. Every consignment must have a certificate of health (Phytocertificate) as issued by the exporting country.

Comment by Wry

haha, good to know. Thanks as always; now I won’t be the crazy person with all the plant seeds. Damn, but now what am I going to do with my two suit cases filled with plant seeds?

Comment by Nicole

You stuff them in your carry-on, and sneak a packet into as many of your fellow passengers as possible so they get stuck at customs, while you take the other suitcase right on through!! (I will now be on the TSA ‘don’t fly’ list. 🙂 )

Comment by Wry

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