Take a Look at the Top Gift Ideas for a Foreign Exchange Student

Want to know what to get your foreign exchange student? We have 10 amazing options right here!

Main image courtesy of Unsplash

Bonjour. Hola. Guten Tag. Ciao. Opening up your home for a foreign exchange student is one of the best things in the world, for both the student and the host family! It’s a great way to get to know a person from another country and culture, and it’s a wonderful way for the student to learn more about the U.S. and potentially boost their English proficiency. It doesn’t matter if you plan on having the foreign exchange student for a summer, or they’ll be living with you for a semester or year, the time you spend getting to know each other is precious, and it is something that will leave a lasting impression on all parties. After all, is there a better way to truly get to know someone from another country than by living with them day to day? 

If you’re planning to have a foreign exchange student, or you have one and want to give them a gift before they depart, you’ve come to the right place. In today’s article, we’re going to discuss gift options that include:

  • Helpful gift cards they can use while they’re here
  • Gifts that will memorialize their time spent in the U.S.
  • Fun, local gifts they’ll treasure back home

Give your foreign exchange student the gift of GiftYa while they’re living here

While there are all kinds of customs and cultures across the world, there are a few things that appeal to everyone, like a digital gift card from GiftYa. GiftYa has over 200,000 merchants to choose from, and plenty that appeal to folks from all walks of life. It’s super easy to send a GiftYa too, all you need to do is pick out the vendor, decide on the amount, customize it with a video or picture, and then email or text it to the recipient. They’ll never have to worry about leaving a plastic gift card at home again, and they’ll always know exactly how much of their balance remains thanks to GiftYa’s all-digital formatting. 

Let’s get into the top gift ideas for a foreign exchange student!

1. Target gift card

Give the gift of Target so they can pick up any daily essentials while they’re staying in the U.S.

Text a Target gift card

Target gift card

Moving to another country means your foreign exchange student is going to need lots of items, and they can’t bring absolutely everything with them in their suitcase! No matter if it’s personal care products like soap, shampoo, lotion, or body wash, or if they totally forgot to bring a sweatshirt for the cooler temperatures, they can find it all at Target. Getting them a gift card to Target gives them the choice to choose exactly what they need, and because Target has just about anything that’s on their list, it’s sure to be a hit as a gift.

Don’t let them worry about not having notebooks or a bag for school, or a pair of flip flops if they happened to leave those at home, and go with a Target gift card as a gift!

Text a Target gift card

2. Amazon gift card

Help a foreign exchange student order just what they need and have it delivered to your door

Email an Amazon gift card

Amazon gift card

If they’re like most foreign exchange students, they have a busy schedule that’s packed with classes, homework, making friends, and exploring their new home. They might not have time to take a trip in store to find what they need, which is where an Amazon gift card comes in handy. A gift card gives them access to millions of digital “aisles” where they can browse through everything from a new laptop case, cell phone charger, a desk lamp, or even an extra pack of socks. Once the order is placed, it will arrive on your doorstep in just a few days, so your student can go back to enjoying their time spent abroad and not miss a beat.

Email an Amazon gift card

3. American trip journal

Give them a journal so they can write down everything about the time spent in the U.S.

American trip journal
A journal is a fantastic gift for a foreign exchange student and it encourages them to write down their experiences abroad. Image courtesy of Amazon

No matter how many months a foreign exchange student is staying with you, they’re going to have some amazing experiences and make a lot of memories. While they can take pictures to document what life is like where they’re living, there’s nothing better than writing down what happens all in one place. A journal is the ideal gift for a student because they can take it with them anywhere, and they can easily pull it out and recount any events or impressions they have of their host culture.

Years later, this would be a great book to read through for the student, as they might not remember all the small interactions or nuances of the culture they lived in while abroad. Documenting their experience in a journal will help them hold onto their overseas experiences for years to come!

4. Under the Same Sky keychain

They’ll always remember their host family, even if they’re not on the same continent!

Sky keychain
It may be hard to say goodbye to your foreign exchange student, so why not gift them with this keychain so they’ll always remember? Image courtesy of Amazon

Having a foreign exchange student live with you means increasing your family size, and lots of students leave their hosts feeling like they are a part of the family they lived with. And the host families feel the same way, which is why it’s sad when the time comes to part ways. Your student may have to go back to their home country, but that doesn’t mean they’ll forget their time living in the U.S. This keychain would be the perfect gift for a foreign exchange student who feels like a part of your family, because although they may be continents away, we’re still all under the same sky.

It’s a small token they can carry with them no matter where their life goes, and whenever they look at it they’ll be reminded of the memories of their abroad experience and how it felt to be a member of your family. 

5. Exchange student map

Give them a keepsake they’ll treasure forever

Exchange student map
No matter how far away your countries are, you and your foreign exchange student are family  now. Image courtesy of Etsy

Personalized gifts are some of the best ways you can show how much you care, and although your foreign exchange student was only with you for a short time, you’re going to remember each other for a long time after. Getting to live closely with someone as they learn about living in the U.S. is a special experience, which is why so many host families consider their students a part of their extended family when they leave. Although the distance may be far, you’ll always have the special time you spent together when you lived under one roof. A great way to celebrate this experience is with a map that features both of your home cities and the message stating that you’ll always be considered family. 

6. Google play gift card

Help them keep their music, video, and games libraries up to date with this useful gift card

Text a Google Play gift card

Google Play gift card

Depending on where your exchange student is from, they probably have a long flight(s) home. Although they’ll be sad to leave, they’re probably looking forward to seeing their own family and friends in their home city. Help make the flight go a little faster with a Google Play gift card. With it they can download music, videos, shows, or games to help make the time pass more quickly. And who knows, they may use it to create a playlist of songs that remind them of their time spent in the U.S. and of their host family!

Text a Google Play gift card

7. Exchange student goodbye pillow

A small gift idea that an exchange student can keep with them at home

Exchange student goodbye pillow
Help your foreign exchange student always remember their time spent with your family with this cute pillow! Image courtesy of Etsy

Students typically spend a semester or two abroad and then need to return to their home city so they can finish their degrees. This means you only have a limited amount of time with them to help them get adjusted and learn more about what life is like living in the U.S. The time will go quickly, so knowing that you want to get them a gift that they can keep with them long after their semester is over is a great idea. This adorable pillow from Etsy can be personalized with both parties’ names, a phrase, home country shapes, as well as the color scheme. It’s made out of a linen blend and stuffed with non-allergic polyester fiber fill to ensure it’s soft and comfortable. This pillow is sure to hold a special spot on their bed or couch when they return home!

8. Book about your city

Gift an exchange student with something about your city so they can learn more about your area of the world

Book about your city
A book about your city or town is a fantastic gift idea for a foreign exchange student. Image courtesy of Amazon

One of the best parts about hosting a foreign exchange student is that not only do you get to learn about their culture, but they can learn about yours! Gifting them a book about your city’s history, or about what makes your area of the country unique, or even a cookbook that features regional dishes is a personal gift that they’re sure to treasure for years. They’ve chosen to study in another country, so chances are they’re quite curious to know more about where they’ll be living for the next couple of months, so a book on local history, lore, or culinary dishes is a great gift idea.

9. Apparel from local sports teams or with your city’s name

Give the gift of a local apparel so they’ll always remember their time spent in the U.S.

stellers cap
If your student is a sports fan, consider giving them some apparel featuring your local sports teams! Image courtesy of Steelers Pro Shop.

In addition to a book that helps them learn more about their host city, you could also give them apparel that features your city or local sports teams so they’ll always remember where they stayed. If they’re a sports fan, consider getting a hat, tee shirt, or keychain that features the team’s logo, and if not, you can always find tee shirts, magnets, or glasses that have your city skyline or name on it. It may seem like a small gift, but it is something that will remind them of the place they called home, if only for a few months!

10. Customized Visa gift card

A Visa gift card can let them choose exactly what to get 

Email a Visa gift card

Visa gift card

Another great gift idea for a foreign exchange student is a Visa gift card. They can use it to purchase anything in their new city, whether it’s coffee at a cafe, admission to a museum, or picking up souvenirs for their family. Visa gift cards are better than just cash because they can also be used for online purchases. When you create a customized card at Gift Card Granny, you can also include a photo and a message, so they’ll think of you whenever they use it!

Email a Visa gift card

Those are our favorite gift ideas for a foreign exchange student!

Welcoming a foreign exchange student into your home is a life-changing experience, and it is one that is sure to make great memories that will last a lifetime. No matter if you’ve had one student, or you’ve hosted multiple ones, getting them a little gift is a great way to show how much you care and to help them remember their time in your home.

Trae Bodge

Trae Bodge is the shopping expert here at GiftYa. Trae helps people find the best deals and ideas on popular new items to purchase.

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