Wednesday, May 26, 2010
We have been received several questions and emails about potential gifts for host families (and there were also discussions on Facebook). Well, it’s a good questions and not an easy one answer! On one hand, we would like to be thankful to the family for hosting us and show how much we appreciate them. On the other hand, there is only so much one can take along and some ideas might just not be practical (and they also receive a small stipend…).
Thankfully, while Germans like to receive gifts (who doesn’t?), the cultural significance of giving gifts is not as far-reaching as in other countries or continents, for example, in Asia. Based on our experience, we found that a small but personal gift is often more appreciated than a large, expensive one (it’s the thought that counts!). We understand it can be tiresome to think about and find such a gift but maybe try to bring something that will remind the family of you when the program is over.
Typical “American” products, such as certain candy or a t-shirt from your high school, are also great ideas and easy to transport. With Memorial Day this weekend, there might be a good opportunity to pick up small trinkets with an American theme that you can hand out to anyone you would like, for example, I got a set of pencils that have the American flag at Target. Again, it’s more the thought that counts…
Of course, you can simply ask your host family if they would like to have a certain gift, especially if they have hosted before. This is not an issue with Germans and you won’t have to fear any cultural consequences. You will see that Germans are pretty direct… ;-)
Check out a great video on different candies in Germany and the US. (FYI – While the content of the video is very informative and useful, please note that the intended target audience might not be high school students. So, check with your parents…)