Studying abroad is one of the most exciting experiences a college student can have. As such, properly preparing for this once-in-a-lifetime adventure is paramount.
If you know someone who’s packing for an epic summer or semester overseas, there are a variety of thoughtful and helpful gifts you can pick up to help them plan for their life abroad. (Alternatively, if you’re the one studying abroad, be sure to send this CIEE-approved list of gift ideas to your family and friends for their support!)
Check out the top 13 gifts for students studying abroad that’ll prep your favorite go-getter for an experience they’ll never forget:
- Passport Holder
- Backpack and/or Fanny Pack
- Neck Pillow
- Noise-cancelling Headphones
- A Journal
- A Language Book
- International Power Adapter
- Toiletries Bag
- Travel First Aid Kit
- Luggage Tags
- Photos or Notes from Home
- A Camera (Disposable or Polaroid)
1. Passport Holder
Your traveler won’t get far without their passport. Help them keep it safe with a passport holder. Look for one made of durable material (think leather or quality plastic) that keeps the passport securely in place and has room for other essentials like a driver’s license, credit cards, COVID-19 vaccination records, etc.
2. Backpack and/or Fanny Pack
This they need for sure, especially when out and about while abroad. Look for backpacks or fanny packs with pockets that allow them to securely stow their identification, money, and phone while also keeping them close at hand. Backpacks should be large enough to fit their laptop and a notebook. Fanny packs should be slim enough to fit comfortably around their waist.
3. Neck Pillow
Save your student’s neck! Their air travel is sure to be long. Help keep them comfortable with a soft neck pillow that will help them sleep even in the middle seat. Zzzzzzz.
4. Noise-Canceling Headphones
Flights can be as noisy as 110 dB(A) – roughly the sound of a jackhammer. Yikes! That’s a lot of sound for an in-flight movie to compete with. Noise-canceling headphones can be a real hearing saver.
5. A Journal
Your student is bound to make more memories than they can realistically remember. A journal is a great way for them to record their adventure, not to mention a great way for them to process their emotions while abroad. Everything’s better written down.
6. A Language Book
Not every student who studies abroad is fluent in the language of their new country. In fact, most aren’t! A handy language book will help them learn to communicate in the community they will be living. They will thank you every time they use it (which will be often!).
Read More: The Ultimate Guide to Your Study Abroad Packing List (10 Essential Items!)
7. International Power Adapter
Cell phones and laptops are essentials for your traveler’s trip, as are a number of other electronics. Help ensure they can charge them while abroad with an international power adapter. Now they can gallivant with ease!
8. Toiletries Bag
Help your student stay organized while on the go with a toiletries bag. This is a great gift especially if your traveler plans to take any overnight trips while away. Just pack it, grab it, and go.
9. Travel First Aid Kit
Scrapes and bumps happen. Help your student feel better faster with supplies they know from home. Gift them a travel-sized first aid kit with their favorite brands of adhesive bandages, pain relievers, and infection-prevention ointment.
Luggage can be pricey, especially on a college student’s budget. Buy them a durable, easy-to-tote set of luggage that looks nice and they will be forever grateful.
11. Luggage Tags
Help your student’s luggage stand apart from the rest with fun luggage tags. The easier it is for them to find their bags after a long flight, the better.
12. Photos or Notes from Home
The best gift money can’t buy. Surprise your student by sticking in a few notes and photographs from home so they don’t get homesick; or, as a reminder to have fun but to come back home!
13. A Camera (Disposable or Polaroid)
Study abroad is full of photo ops. Catch the moments, big and small, in full focus with a new camera.
Studying abroad is an amazing, life-changing adventure, and one your student (or you) likely won’t forget. Help celebrate their journey with one of these top gifts for study abroad students. You’ll be glad you did!
And if your student (or you) is still looking for the perfect CIEE program, it’s never too late to find the best fit. Explore our 170+ programs and learn more!