Monday, June 28, 2010

How many pins should you bring abroad with you?

Recently someone found my blog while searching for how many pins to get for an exchange.

While abroad, you give out (in my case) American related pins in exchange for other exchange student's pins from other countries. While on exchange you will likely meet with hundreds of other international exchange students. But these pins are also great to give out at the cultural fair every Rotary exchange student will likely end up hosting. And they are also great small gifts for classmates, and other people you will meet.

Allow me to make a list of questions this blog post will be answering just so you the reader, and I, the blogger, can keep organized.  

1. Where can I find pins for rotary? Where can I find cheap American pins? How to get pins?

2. How many pins do I bring abroad? How many pins should I bring? How many pins are you bringing (Michelle)?

1. You can find pins for rotary in many ways, some are easier than others, some are more effective than others.
  • Email companies for pins- In my experience this is very hard to do. Most companies want to you ask in person, but when you do they give you the run around. I have not had any success with this yet. I am in the process of talking to the police station in my area though. So maybe there is still hope. This depends largely on luck. I emailed the 50 biggest CT based companies in my area, very few wrote back, none sent pins.
  • Buying Pins- Buying pins is not as cheap as it would seem. Sure sometimes there is a deal to steal quickly, but mostly, it's not cheap. Stay on the lookout, but the only pins you will be able to get, most likely, are plain American flags (if you are from America).
  • Making Pins- Be honest with yourselves; if you are really good at crafts and can make QUALITY pins, then totally do it. If the stuff you're going to make takes a lot of time, or is likely to fall apart, then pass on making them. Just my tips.
  • Getting Pins from Rotary- Not every rotary club does this, and what kind and how many they give varies. My club gave me 150 American flag pins, just to start us out.
  • If you have found a company to send you pins, please refer them to me in a comment. If you are a company interesting in supplying me with pins to handout, please comment! If you have a website with cheap pins, please share it with everyone! Comment below.
2. How many pins to bring really depends on where you're going, how long you'll be there, how many you plan to give out, etc.
In some countries, I imagine pins are not as popular as others. Which countries? You tell me! Write you experiences with pins abroad in the comments section. Help others decide how many pins to bring for their countries.

If you are only there for short term ( a couple weeks or months), naturally, you will not need as many pins as the long term program (a year).

It also depends on what kind of person you are, I have met people who really just aren't into the pin thing. They collect a couple, but don't go crazy. If you're one of these, you probably wont need as many pins.

For me, I'm bringing around 250. Will it last? Hopefully. I'll let you know if I run out! XD I think it's a good amount. Only bringing 75 might not be a good idea. More is better than less, in this case, you don't want to go without.

Update From Several Years Later:
I managed to give away all of my pins! Other than a few I left at a cultural fair one time. Don't carry all your pins on you, because if you lose them all in one sitting, that wouldn't be good. 


  1. So you're collecting 250 pins to giveaway, do people in Taiwan give you pins?
    You said people like to cover their blazers with pins, but which ones do they put on the blazer, American ones or foreign ones?

    Good luck collecting 250 pins. That's a mighty task.
    And Congratulations on your graduation! I'm so proud of you! I'm off topic now...
    Can't wait to taste your cooking XD

  2. You cover your blazer with pins you trade with other people. Example: I meet a French girl, I give her an American flag pin, she gives me a French flag pin.