NSLIY Host Family Gift – South Korea Summer

Congratulations to the new NSLIY kids!

Repost from my old website: (2013)
*It is honestly fun to re-read my writing from three years ago and see how my writing and thought process have changed.


So after volunteering with local study abroad organization for a while, I was able to talk to many host families and what they thought about the gifts (they were all very grateful overall). Therefore, I had a little experience of what to bring. But still, this was only the second time living with a host family, so there’s definitely room for improvement. But here’s what my gift looks like:

I waited until the second day afternoon when the whole family is home to give it to them since there were relatives over the first day and I didn’t want it to be too awkward giving to them while not knowing them at all.

Basically what I did was put each gift individually without the box folded and the wrapping paper (or else it’ll get teared or messed up). This is actually a Coach gift box but since I procrastinated too much while at home… I thought it looked nice, I used a little pink thing to cover the logo up.

And… this is the inside: Not the most beautifully positioned.

So I have learned that the value isn’t as important as the fit to the family members. Here’s what I brought and where I got them just in case you were wondering:

  • A Southern Season (this store can only be found in the South?): The long brown thing is 5 coasters that has birds representing my state that is made in America and hand-crafted.
  • Williams-Sonoma: Over-sized coffee mug that has a really cute phrase on it (I don’t really remember what it was haha) for my host father who has an office and he can use it as a mug or put pens in.
  • Abercrombie & Fitch: kind of a go to store for East Asian teens. (my host family situation is a bit different, I received their info later) I didn’t know what my host sisters looked like, just their age so I assumed their style and size. I’ve been to the country many times so I got a small (they’re probably on a diet if they don’t wear a small anyways) and just the most basic simple shirt, that looks almost identical to this new style Abercrombie has: here: wrapped in Abercrombie tissue paper

simple and classic, I thought about getting the t-shirt with a logo, but those looks of less valued and can actually be brought easily in East Asia (authentic or not)

  • Victoria’s Secret: The pink thing beside the mug is a perfume for the mom. I think it is the Dark Orchid Eau de Parfum. She loves it, wore it everyday, even put it on the husband!! Shout out to my mommy who picked this out.
  • Bath & Body Works: the blue with pink ribbon (so cute, just ask the cashier to wrap it for free). You can probably tell by now I’m lazy at find and buying wrappers and stuff. This is for the ladies in the family, (only one dude, the dad, and you know daddies, they just want their daughters and wife to be happy) (Happy early father’s day!!! remember to appreciate your real dad at home before you leave for the summer!) This is just a gift set I put together, I used a pretty candle holder to hold three bottles of lotions/gel. I got the shimmery and happy bright color ones, they all smell the same after smelling everything in the store. But the shimmers are so gorgeous haha. I got one of the “Select-A-Shimmer” lotion, spray and a shower gel of the same collection.
  • Grocery store: The boxes of theater sized snacks for the whole family. Chocolate covered pretzel, sour patch kids, Whoppers and others. I think they really liked sour patch kids, I should have also gotten war heads, I heard foreigners love them.

Yep I think that is basically it!

How much did I spend?

This really isn’t important, some families were already planning on trips with you, some would feel the need after you give them gifts, some will accept the gift and does nothing. It all depends on you, regardless of what the gifts are, they will be grateful to receive them. Even if you don’t receive anything in return, remember they are all volunteers and you and your gifts will be representing Americans to their community, so altruism whichever way!!!

I also got my supporter a Fresh Sugar Lip Treatment SPF 15, about 99% of the supporters are female so it worked out, and it says it’s made in France too, I love Paris haha

PS. I brought a photo frame and put in all a picture of me with the entire family (and I mean EVERYONE, grandparents, sisters, their families, cousins.) in the picture and made a gigantic handmade card for them.

I also brought a box of brownies mix and made it with the sister. I got mine for $2 and same brand in Korea is about $6-7. And a box of mac and cheese mix, I never ended up have time to use it but gave it to the aunt. I also brought extra mini-VS lotions and gave it to other host-relatives and people that helped me (SUPPORTER!!! get a gift for them too, they’ll probably get you one too)

So this is what I got! I think I got something for mid-stay, don’t remember what haha. I hope this helps~


Disclaimer: yes, there are some things from this article now the more “matured” me looking back would change, but I hope you still find it helpful!

Let me know if you have ANY QUESTIONS about South Korea (or nsliy in general), I have recently gone back and would love to help!

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