Gifts For Host Family [Ideas + SOURCES] | Surprise Picks!

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Making a lasting impression on your host family is crucial. Opting for thoughtful presents to offer your homestay family serves as a delightful icebreaker, allowing you to commence your journey on a positive note.

Don’t procrastinate and leave it until the eleventh hour; instead, we suggest seizing the opportunity to grab a mug or magnet from the airport a few moments prior to your departure!

Demonstrating deliberate contemplation and devotion towards your present can convey to your loved ones that you are eagerly embracing your role as a valued member of their household, eagerly anticipating the opportunity to forge meaningful connections throughout your visit.

Remember: dedicating time to nurturing a harmonious bond with your host family not only enhances your immersion into the local customs but also propels your language acquisition to new heights while you’re exploring foreign lands.

Continue reading to discover some suggestions and guidance on selecting the perfect present to bring to your host family!

Jessie Lewis and her guardian mother in Seville.
Jessie Lewis and her host mom in Seville

Did you know? “Familia anfitriona” or “familia de acogida” is the Spanish term for host family.

Why stay with a homestay family

Hopefully, by now, you have already decided to reside with a homestay household during your time overseas.

Most of the students participating in Spanish Studies Abroad opt for homestay families as their accommodation choice. This immersive experience grants you a truly distinctive perspective into a foreign culture, seamlessly integrating you into the fabric of a family. Undoubtedly, it presents itself as the ultimate method to hone your Spanish language skills!

Our program requirements are met by our on-site staff who carefully select our homestay families. Numerous families we collaborate with have graciously accommodated our students for an extended period of time!

Susana Guerrero alongside her host family in Seville.
Susana Guerrero with her host family in Seville

When to give your host a gift

A couple of weeks prior to your departure, you can anticipate receiving a delightful packet brimming with details about your esteemed host family. This delightful package will unveil their humble abode’s precise location, intimate insights into the occupants of the house, and whether they have charming little ones or adorable pets.

Upon acquiring a brief portrayal of the family and their inclinations or pastimes, the moment swiftly arrives to embark on the shopping adventure!

Upon arrival

Presenting a gift upon your initial encounter with your host family or upon reaching their abode is a splendid gesture to demonstrate gratitude and foster a warm rapport.

We recommend presenting them with the gift your first day or at dinner the first night when the whole family is home.

Practice uttering a phrase in the mother tongue of your host family (for instance, “Gracias por su hospitalidad” / “Thank you for your hospitality”). This endeavor is equally a means to astonish your hosts and establish a remarkable initial impact.

Departing gift

In search for a straightforward method to express gratitude towards your host family and present them with a memento as a parting gift?

One delightful gesture could involve presenting them with a bouquet of vibrant flowers alongside an exquisite picture frame. Additionally, including a cherished photograph capturing the beautiful bond shared between you and your host family or a heartfelt thank you note handwritten in their mother tongue would undoubtedly leave an indelible impression.

Bidding farewell can occasionally prove to be a challenging task. Numerous students within our fold foster enduring connections with their host families, maintaining a steady correspondence that spans across the passage of time!

Students in Cuba commemorating a birthday with indigenous companions and relatives.
Students in Cuba celebrating a birthday with local friends and family

Where to find inspiration

Presents don’t necessarily need to be costly and should focus more on the consideration and customization you invest in them.

In order to ignite your creative spark, we have curated a compilation of sources that you can explore for inspiration on selecting the perfect gift for your host family.

The Spanish Studies Abroad team

Need assistance? Our team comprises individuals with overseas study experience who can offer firsthand examples of gifts they’ve personally presented or suggest recommendations from previous students.

You local study abroad office or returning students on your home campus

Your home campus holds a treasure trove of valuable recommendations waiting to be discovered! Connect with your study abroad office to obtain a list of students who have previously embarked on the same program as you. In the case of a Spanish Studies Abroad program, feel free to request our assistance in connecting you with one of our esteemed alumni.

A local boutique or store in your hometown

Explore beyond the predictable retail giants and embrace the charm of local establishments to discover a distinctive present that truly encapsulates the essence of your homeland or community. Additionally, don’t overlook the possibility of acquiring university merchandise from your very own campus bookstore!


Feeling uncertain? Look no further! Pinterest has an abundant collection of gift boards dedicated to homestay family ideas, offering a treasure trove of content that will keep you happily browsing for hours on end.


Fortunately, Etsy serves as a convenient hub catering to individuals of varying crafting abilities, offering a diverse array of handcrafted, vintage, collectible, and one-of-a-kind items.


There is a vast collection of captivating videos on Youtube that offer a multitude of ingenious ideas! These videos grant you the opportunity to witness the innovative and imaginative gifts that fellow students have bestowed upon their loved ones, while also providing a helpful guide to steer clear of any less favorable ideas. In this particular video, Kari, who is currently adventuring in the enchanting land of Spain, graciously shares with us the thoughtful gifts she had purchased for her beloved family. What we truly admire about her choices is that she took into consideration both the little ones and the cherished parents.

Make it personal

Infusing a personalized essence into your present inspired by your ancestry or specific locale is a considerate approach to bestow a glimpse of your roots upon your gracious host family.

Kira Hakanson, our Admissions Advisor, proudly embraces her dual Swedish-American heritage. As a gesture of gratitude to her Ecuadorian host family, she presented them with exquisite wooden dalahäst figurines, encapsulating the essence of traditional Swedish culture.

And during her time studying abroad in Argentina and Scotland, our Admissions Manager Abbi Eidt made sure to infuse a touch of the vibrant U.S. South into her experience by carrying along bottles of fiery hot sauce and tantalizing creole seasoning!

By bringing unique regional ingredients or exotic food items that are unavailable in your host country, you can embark on a culinary adventure with your host family, creating a delightful meal together. This not only facilitates a bond but also provides an enjoyable and interactive opportunity to share your cultural heritage!

Katherine Moronta who studied in Cuba says, “Nothing better than having a host family that made you feel like home!”

What gifts not to get your host family

Embracing the concept of delectable edibles, it is crucial to exercise caution when embarking on a journey, avoiding the inclusion of non-perishable comestibles that may deteriorate during transit (such as fruits, vegetables, and cheese), or harboring the possibility of hosting unwanted creepy crawlies (such as seeds, plants, soil, and the like).

Generally, long-lasting products are a reliable choice and remember to consider TSA regulations if you are traveling with a carry-on bag.

It is not advisable to present wine or alcohol as gifts either. The customs of the host family in the country of your study may differ from the familiar American traditions.

When considering the idea of introducing alcohol to your living space, it is advisable to lean towards a more cautious approach. Please bear in mind the strict policy of Spanish Studies Abroad, which strictly prohibits the consumption of alcoholic beverages within your homestay.

Steer clear of mundane souvenirs commonly encountered at airports like key chains, mugs, and magnets. Host families with a long history of accommodating students often boast an impressive assortment of such trinkets.

Top 8 Host Family Gift Ideas

  • Cuisine from your geographical area or cultural background.
  • A recipe card and ingredientes.Output: A recipe card and ingredients.
  • A board or card game particular to your native state or area.
  • A shirt or baseball hat from your college or nearby athletic club.
  • Artwork.
  • A handmade object.
  • A picture book or photo album.
  • A cover, shawl, or wall hanging.
  • In order to assist you, our team has curated a delightful collection of host family gift suggestions. These recommendations are derived from our vast knowledge gained through studying abroad, assisting students in their preparations for overseas ventures, and engaging in post-return conversations. We wholeheartedly encourage you to unleash your creativity!

    1.Snack or food item from your geographic region or heritage

    Don’t forget to pack a special souvenir from your region that is not commonly found in the country where you’ll be pursuing your studies. It could be anything from the exquisite taste of maple syrup, the delightful chewiness of saltwater taffy, the heavenly goodness of locally crafted chocolates, or the tantalizing flavors of homemade jams.

    2.Recipe card and ingredients

    Just like what was mentioned earlier, why not elevate the experience and create a culinary masterpiece alongside your loved ones? Whip up your all-time favorite delicacy, be it heavenly brownies, fluffy pancakes, or delightful oatmeal cookies. Let your taste buds embark on a delightful adventure!

    3.Board or card game, puzzle specific to your home state or region

    Board games and puzzles also serve as enjoyable pastimes to strengthen the bond with your host family.

    4.T-shirt or baseball cap from your university or local sports team memorabilia

    Embracing the world of sports not only fosters cultural connections but also unveils fascinating disparities (for instance, Cuba and Puerto Rico’s love for baseball, while Spain’s undying devotion lies in fútbol – soccer – the reigning monarch!).


    Bringing a small reproduction or artwork of your city or region is always appreciated.

    6.Handmade item

    Now is the time to unleash your creativity and let it shine. Whether you have a passion for capturing moments through photography, molding clay into beautiful pottery, or expressing yourself on a canvas through painting, a handmade masterpiece is a truly special and one-of-a-kind present.

    7.A photo book or photo album

    Surprise your loved ones with a captivating coffee table book showcasing the exquisite landscapes and hidden gems of your beloved homeland. Alternatively, opt for a personalized photo album that allows you to capture and preserve cherished memories during your entire sojourn.

    8.Blanket, Scarf or Tapestry

    A cover, shawl, or wall hanging. made in your home state or region (for ex: we love these Southwestern-inspired tapestries).

    Mariella Kennedy and her host sibling in Seville.
    Mariella Kennedy and her host sister in Seville


    In essence, a meaningful present for your homestay family should possess a personal touch and reflect your unique identity and origins. It should serve as a catalyst for engaging discussions with your host regarding your cultural background, heritage, or the place you call home.

    Remember, your host family may have welcomed international students into their humble abode as a way to quench their curiosity about your culture, just as much as they yearn to impart their own experiences upon you.

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