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Homestay Gift Ideas

Dear new friends,

First of all, big thanks to all of you who have posted introduction yaks so far. We’re enjoying reading them and getting to know a bit more about the people we will be sharing this big adventure with!

We imagine that some of you are thinking about what you might bring as gifts for your homestay families, and we know that it can be tricky to choose gifts for people whom you haven’t met, so here are some of our thoughts about what you might bring.

While bringing gifts is totally optional and not an expectation, they’re a great way to show gratitude and can be lots of fun to give! We encourage you to think of this as an opportunity to build connections with your host families, and share a little about who you are and where you come from. The best gifts are great conversation starters; they shouldn’t be expensive, but rather something meaningful that represents you.

Here are some ideas which have been well-received in the past:

  • Photos of you, your family, and places that are important to you. You might also consider bringing photos of places such as your home, your school, your pets, or even your hometown. These can be gifts if you like, but also helpful just to show your family and for them to get to know you better.
  • 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, or some other spices and ideas you like.
  • 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 the local language 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.
  • A sketch of your homestay house or family, or even your favorite spot in the community.
  • 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. Music is a universal language!
  • 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).
  • Any other fun small items that start a conversation between you and your host family and represent something special and unique about you!

One final tip – Nepali households vary in size with anywhere from two to ten members being common, so we would recommend avoiding gifts that can only really be used by one person (like a t-shirt), and instead try to focus on small gifts that can be enjoyed by everyone (like postcards).

We hope this is helpful!

Alena, Tsheten, and Nick
Photo credit: Zac Van Baars