Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Gifts for Host Families and Taiwanese Friends!

Hi everyone!
Me in my blazer, with my two brothers.
It's normal and expected to bring gifts with you when you are an exchange student. Gifts for the families you stay with, and for friends. In addition, I am going through rotary so we have blazers. Rotary Exchange students all trade pins from different countries. It's really fun to try to fill your blazer. It's best to make, or buy those pins. You can try to get pins from companies, but it's very hard to get companies to do that in America, from my experience. My rotary club (and many others) will actually start you off with 100-200 pins. My club gave me 150, but they are just American flags. It's really cool to have different kinds. My advice is to go shopping for American things near the 4th of july. All the stores have cheap American stuff!
When you are in rotary, you don't start out knowing how many families you will have or what they'll be like, so it's best to get general things. Also, you have to carry everything yourself in the airport, so make sure it's lightweight!!

Four welcome signs; two red white and blue pom poms; like 7 or 8 shirts; three stress balls; four mini American flags; three pairs of American socks (XD); two American bracelets; two children's books; one ball paddle game; two viziers; four photo books I plan to fill half of each for the host families and fill the other half with them.

Today I went to craft stores and Marshals and got most of the gifts, and the stuff to make the pins.

Pin Stuff:
Six packs of pin backings; many packs of star stuff to put on them.

I got candy, shirts ( two shirts for 7 bucks! All different sizes.), small gifts, kids books in English, and etc.


Three York candies; two different kinds of jelly beans; two packs of red, white and blue chocolate covered sunflower seeds; two dot candies; one chocolate cookie carton; two bags of American sweets.

ALSO when you are preparing, make sure you bring things for the culture fair. You will have your own booth! Bring stuff to decorate with!

Such as:
Two medium flags; red, white and blue stars; garland; some candy.

Please ask me questions! I would love to answer you!

Update From Several Years Later:
I wish I had brought some artisan goods from Connecticut. Such as maple syrup, or chocolate covered cranberries or something local. Alternatively I wish I had brought some American branded goods. In Asia people really enjoy receiving Ferrero Rocher chocolates or brand name clothing, for example. Even local coffee beans are an idea, or just Starbucks Brand Coffee. Even if those things are available in Asia, they are very expensive and considered really nice gifts. Generally, Taiwanese adults won't typically enjoy normal T-shirts with American flags on them and whatnot. Candy always goes over well, though. 


  1. Very Nice introduction Michelle! It was fun shopping with you today and finding small American gifts for your host families. I think we found quite a variety. I hope some American companies will donate pins to you so you can disberse them with friends and overseas contacts. I look forward to more blog posts by you. This sounds like it will be a fascinating experience for us to follow.

  2. You look so cute in that picture!!! At first I didn't recognize you because you actually have some decent clothing on that wasn't put on half-assed at 5 in the morning preparing for school. And leave you're hair like that when you go to China, it looks really pretty.

    Also, I'm confused about the pin thing. Do you trade with other rotary students or with kids IN Taiwan. Also, why would they give you so many pins?? Were there really that many kids to trade with at the banquet? Last time you talked about it it only seemed like there were a handful of kids going abroad. However maybe those were just the kids that you didn't like ;P

    You need to tell me what you got them, especially your host mom. I keep imagining this "Xian Qing" type relationship with you and your host mother, which I'm sure is what will happen since you both seem so enthusiastic to meet each other. I just hope its not to hard to leave them once you have to change host families D: And if you decide to go host family shopping again, bring me >U<

    Just a few questions, do you know for sure when you're supposed to leave?? I keep thinking its sometime in August but idk if that's just me making that up or something you actually said >.>

    Anyways, if you ever actually come back to your AMERICAN school that you talked so highly of in your last entry, tell me more about the banquet ;P It didn't seem like you were too thrilled about it last time I talked to you.

  3. "Also, I'm confused about the pin thing. Do you trade with other rotary students or with kids IN Taiwan." Both.

    "Were there really that many kids to trade with at the banquet"
    There were about 20. Inbonds and outbounds. Plus we had a few new people.

    I leave August 20th.

  4. I never thought you could be so patriotic......that's the most I've seen of red white and blue concerning you. Obama would be very proud.

    And omg you got so many things for your host family!!! Are you trying to turn them into fat Americans with that much candy and American flags?? I'm sure they'll love all of it though. And I love the idea with the children's books for the 12 year old. It sounds like its going to be soooooooo much fun teaching her how to speak English, although I'm a little worried what her first words are going to be... "yes master; I enjoy it very much; please, I want more"...>.>

  5. What kind of site are you trying to turn this into?!?! XD

    These are gift for all my host families, not just one. I might have two to four families. That's why there is so much.

    Buying all of this American stuff was weird, because I would never buy it for myself.

  6. It'll be a growing experience. You'll get to learn in advance what 12-year-old little girls are like to live with.

    Yeah and don't do what you did with me. My first Japanese words were anata no haha ga diaski (i'm sure I butchered the spelling of the last word)

    And i agree with Zack; you really look fantastic in these photos.

  7. Hi Michelle!
    I'm a Rotary Student going to Finland and I was just wondering what a culture fair is? Is this just a Taiwan thing?

    I love your idea for making your own pins! I think I might go down to our craft store and see what sort of things they have!

  8. Sorry it's taken so long for me to see this!

    I know a lot of countries do the culture fair. But not all.

    And you can always have your parents send you whatever you need when you find out if you'll need it.

    I hope this helps!!

  9. Thanks for that, Yeh I guess it wouldn't be that hard to get stuff sent over.