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The Tiger's Nest in Bhutan. Photo by Chelsea Ferrel.

Some ideas on gifts for homestay families

Hello to our amazing group,

Days are counting down and more introduction yaks are showing up. It has been great learning what we are each thinking about for our time in Nepal and Bhutan.  Some of you may be wondering about particular topics, so we’ll cover one in this post: bringing gifts.

Here are some principles to guide you on gift decisions:

  • You will stay in two homestays – one urban in Nepal and one rural in Bhutan, and giving small gifts for each can be a great way to show your appreciation. While it can feel like a challenge to figure out what to give someone you don’t know yet, gifts are truly an opportunity to give your host family deeper insight into who you are as a person and form strong connections by opening conversation.
  • In general, gifts should not be expensive. Rather, they should be meaningful and representative of you.
  • Something made with creativity and heart can be great!
  • Photos are always special and make a great parting gift as well. Whether you choose to give families photos or not, bring some to show them pieces of your daily life.
  • Note: Please just be mindful to bring/show pictures that are culturally appropriate for Nepal and Bhutan (meaning that you be mindful of the clothing people are wearing in the photo; choose photos without swimsuits or low cut tank tops, for example).

A few more specific ideas:

  • Photos of you, your family, and places that are important to you. A cool extension of this is to take a photo with your family and have it printed for them (and even put it in a special frame) or to document your time with them and make a small photo album.
  • Visual arts like a small painting/sketch/carving
  • Carefully chosen craft and art supplies (consider waste)
  • Postcards
  • Puzzles
  • A book of pictures of unique or interesting places
  • Small posters of something you enjoy
  • Small sealed snacks that travel well
  • Any other fun small items that start a conversation
  • Friendship bracelets, you can bring string and show your host sisters/brothers how to make it, even when you are still learning how to make them, you can learn together, will be a good bonding moment with family.

Hope that helps on this topic. Keep your questions coming, if you have any.

Your instructors 🙂