Study Abroad: Meaningful Host Family Gift Idea + Sticky9 Review

meaningful and portable host family gift
For the 2016-2017 academic year, I'm studying abroad in Europe (Bordeaux, France and Oxford, England). This post is part of a series to help make the experience more manageable and fulfilling for future study abroad students.

Well, it's unique to my home state, but customs might not like that, and neither might my host family.

Superhero film? Pop CD? 
Nope, not personal enough, and maybe nothing special since American culture is so pervasive.

Humans of New York Stories book? 
Better, but way too heavy for my already-stuffed suitcases.

Before I left for my semester in France, I struggled to settle on a host family gift that was both meaningful and portable. I finally settled on instagram print magnets from Sticky9, a London-based site that turns your insta photos into personalized gifts. As a disclaimer, this post isn't in partnership with Sticky9--I just had a good experience with the company, and wanted to help make the gift search easier!

sticky9 magnet review
sticky9 magnet review
sticky9 magnet review

Sticky9 offers posters, phone cases, photo books, square prints, magnets, greeting cards and the like. I ultimately settled on their set of nine 5cm x 5cm fridge magnets--it was something everyone in the family could enjoy. The sets begin at $16 (though check for coupon codes on retailmenot, or feel free to use my 15% off referral code: FRIEND15X56), and international shipping is free. For the US, the matte magnet set is guaranteed within 9 days--my order came within a week.

sticky9 magnet review
sticky9 magnet review

I was ultimately happy with my gift choice--the magnets were a great conversation-starter since I chose photos from my previous travels, they were easy to pack in my luggage, and they were a great everyday reminder of home while I was abroad. 

I also definitely recommend Sticky9--the site was easy to use, and shipping was quick and climate-conscious; the process overall was carbon-neutral (which means there was a net amount of 0 carbon emissions). The magnets themselves were also top-notch--while they aren't glossy and luxe by any means, the matte print was clear and vibrant. And they're holding up well even after four months in a home with small, energetic children. 

If you have any questions about the site, or about study abroad in general, let me know. And for those who've studied abroad--what did you bring your host families? The more ideas, the better!

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