gifts for a host family

Aug 29th, 1999, 03:41 PM
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gifts for a host family

I am a college student going to spend 10 weeks in France with a host family. I need to bring some kind of small gift. Does anyone have any suggestions. My mother suggested dried cranberries since we live in Mass. and they would keep for ten day trip we have planned before I meet my family.
Aug 29th, 1999, 04:22 PM
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We usually bring something from our home area - Minnesota - like wild rice,wood carvings collectors coins etc. Things with English written on them like local tee shirts are good. Kitchen towels are always appreciated as our cotton goods seem to be somewhat superior.
Aug 29th, 1999, 04:56 PM
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When we visit our relatives in France we always take gifts from the southwest (where we live) so something "native" from Mass. would be fine. If your host family has children and you know their ages, you might also consider taking t-shirts with some local logo on them (you can always take "large"), the kids in our family always like them. (They don't take up any room in the luggage either.)

I work in a university and know several students who did a "study abroad" program and this subject always presents itself, but I think you are safe with some "local" gifts - they don't have to be anything fancy, it's the thought that counts anyway.

What you might consider doing for your host family is what one of the students I know did for "her family" in Madrid this summer. She and another girl from the U.S., who was also staying with the family, cooked a Mexican dinner for them all as the family had expressed an interest in Mexican food -- now I know you live in Mass. so you may not be up on fixing enchiladas and tacos, but you might consider doing something like fixing a typical "American" dinner for them, if you can cook that is Just an idea of course.

I hope you enjoy your stay, it's a wonderful opportunity to learn about French life as well as the French culture (sorry to preach, as I said I work in a university).
Aug 29th, 1999, 05:03 PM
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We have had a couple of French exchange students visit. They brought us presents of wine, silk scarfs,coffee table books about their region of France, and a calendar with French illustrations for my college son, a couple of T shirts for the children.They brought a present for each member of our family.
Presents seem to be important to the French students we knew. They shopped long and hard to find exactly the right presents to take back to each family member.Some things they bought were several sacks of chocolate chips, evidently unknown to them in France,cans of blueberries, and American cookbooks,Levis, nice towels, and Walt Disney toys or clothes for little children.One of the favorite activities of the French students was to cook American food- especially chocolate chip cookies!They each planned to cook an "American meal" for their families as soon as they got home.
We have an Italian friend who brings us books about Italy, wine, and Italian glass.He has asked us to get certain Tshirts for his teen relatives in Italy.
Have a great trip!
Aug 29th, 1999, 06:18 PM
Joan Doyle
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Dear Marcia: I've always solved that problem by taking my hosts my liquor allowance, available on the plane and thus something that doesn't have to be lugged great distances. The whisky is what my friends always have appreciated most--but I realize the airline personnel may object to your age. So the ideas suggested above--especially the T-shirts and other local stuff from Massachusetts--would be fine. Have a great trip. Joan
Aug 29th, 1999, 08:04 PM
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One more idea, not a gift but always appreciated. Take tourist brochures and maps from your area and state. It helps show where you are from and the brochures usually feature year round activities. These will spur communications and help better describe who you are. Relatives in Sweden and friends in France stayed up late reading ours and had lots of questions the next day.
Aug 30th, 1999, 04:37 AM
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You have gotten excellent recommendations. In addition to something typical of Mass., I would suggest food items like Maple Syrup and buttermilk pancake mix from Vermont (would go very well with your Mom's idea!), Starbucks coffee, salsa jars, a bottle of wine from the Finger Lakes area in New York, etc...

The picture calendar is an excellent idea, as well as maps and coffee table books about the region. If they have a pet, bring some toy for him/her. Also, frame a picture of you and your family and include it with your present. Sweatshirts with your school logo?
Aug 30th, 1999, 07:46 AM
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Our hostess in London loved the scented candles from the Yankee Candle Factory - also, pewter candlestick? If you bring the dried cranberries, better have a recipe (like bread or muffins) since those suckers are not a staple in French cuisine. A wall calendar of Massachusetts or New England scenes is a nice gift, and unbreakable. Homemade blueberry jam? Watermelon pickles?
Aug 30th, 1999, 10:41 AM
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Hi Marcia:

A book about where you live makes a great gift.

On our recent trip to Europe we became friendly with our hotel concierge in Florence, Italy and a faux painter in Paris (who we met on the street while looking at the beautiful doors of Paris).

We have corresponded with these people and recently sent them each a book on Arizona - we live in Tucson. The desert is so different from when they each live that it made a wonderful gift and they now want to visit us in Tucson!

Have a geat time!
Aug 30th, 1999, 01:35 PM
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I frequently take a picture book about a place in Northern California which would not be available in their country. Almost everyone has seen SF, but the Berkeley Rose Garden or Filoli is very different, for instance. I am leaving this week to stay a short time with friends in London who have visited the U.S. many times. For them I am bringing a silly California looking ice cream scoop. I have in the past brought glass candy dishes made by a local artist or things that one would find at a good quality street fair. I guess what I'm saying is that it depends on whether your hosts are familiar with the U.S. The cranberries are a great idea, as is the idea of a recipe (remember they weigh their ingredients and use a metric scale!), but you might also want to include something that will last longer after your departure. Don't forget to bring photos of your family, home, friends, dog/cat etc. Have a wonderful 10 weeks.

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