Today we’re bringing you some information on gifts for homestay families. It is highly recommended that you bring gifts for your families to show your appreciation and while it can be kind of tricky figuring out what to give someone you do not know yet, the gifts you give are truly an opportunity to give your host family deeper insight into who you are as a person and form strong connections by opening conversation.
In general, gifts should not be expensive. Rather, they should be meaningful and representative of you.
Here are some ideas:
- Photos of you, your family, and places that are important to you. A cool extension of this is to take a photo with your family and have it printed for them or to document your time with them and make a small photo album. The extension option is most feasible in Yogyakarta where there are lots of little photo shops and they usually give you a small plastic photo album with your prints.
- If you do any visual arts, you could bring a small painting/sketch/carving for your family.
- If you like cooking, you could bring a small bottle of maple syrup and some pancake mix and cook for your family. (I would document reactions and print photos for your family).
- Something unique to your state or hometown. Examples could be a craft sold at your local farmer’s market, a small state flag, posters of a famous place in your state, or stickers that you can explain the significance of.
- Postcards where you translate the description into Indonesian the best you can. It gives families a chance to teach you some new language points and ask you questions.
- Small puzzles of famous places in your state that you could do together or games without a lot of language, like Set, Uno, etc.
- A journal of favorites to which you add your favorites from the place you are staying. (For example, if I were making a book of favorites, I’d include red maple leaves from my parents’ yard in Michigan, a dried daffodil, pictures of places I played as a child in Luxembourg, the first bars of my favorite song my grandmother plays on the piano, etc. Then I’d add photos or sketches of my favorite foods and memories in Indonesia.)
- Music! If your family enjoys singing or playing music, learn a song with them and teach them a song. Make a short video or print the lyrics with a photo of you all singing for them.
- A collection of small posters of something you enjoy (like if you love visiting national parks, you could give posters of the parks you’ve been to).
- Interactive gifts that kids would enjoy, such as water colors, face paints, friendship bracelets or lanyard materials
- Any other fun small items that start a conversation between you and your host family and represent something special and unique about you!
Note: Photos are always special and often a great parting gift as well. Whether you choose to give families photos or not, bring some to show them pieces of your daily life.
Feel free to reach out if you have any questions about what gifts might be appropriate.