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The basics
Study abroad : Once you arrive

Christmas gift list for students: What should you buy them?

What can you buy a student for Christmas? Particularly an international student, or someone who is preparing to study abroad? Take a look at our guide for perfect gifts for students.

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Do you have friends and family asking you repeatedly what you want for Christmas? Have you not had time to even think about it, amidst assignments and exams?


Alternatively, are you planning to study abroad soon? As you can guess, preparing to study overseas involves a lot of planning and buying different items for your travels. You likely have a To-Buy list which is already rather long.


Or maybe you know a current student who is difficult to buy for. Going away to university can be a transformative experience for a student; here, they're exposed to new music and film genres and try new hobbies and interests. You may find that the person you said goodbye to several months ago, is completely different to the one who’ll be returning.


Take a look at these gift ideas below, so you’ll definitely receive a present that you really want (and need) this Christmas...



Sturdy luggage is an absolute necessity for the travelling student. You’ll likely be moving back and forth between home and your study destination several times in the next few years. Navigating through busy airports with luggage that has a wonky wheel, or a strap that is hanging on by mere threads is frustrating; and if these completely break, buying them at an airport will be much more expensive. Plus, luggage doesn’t have to be boring; you can buy luxurious luggage so you or the student you know can travel in style!


Check out our guide on 8 mistakes that students make when packing to move abroad.




A personal laptop or Mac Notebook is an essential item for a student. You’ll need it to do all your work, keep in touch with loved ones, network with potential employers, watch films and occasionally sit on Facebook from time to time. However, the right laptop which can handle everything you need it for can be costly. Has your current laptop been through the wars with various viruses and reboots, or is simply an old model? It may completely die just when you’re in the middle of writing an essay, so ask for a brand new one before you lose something important. When you get a new one, you’ll realise just how slow your old one really was.



Relying on friends and campus facilities to print off essays can be a huge anxiety for the average student. Waiting for housemates to wake up so you can creep into their room and use their printer, or waiting in line at the library on deadline day is problematic. It’s simply best to have your own equipment so you don’t have to rely on others. You’ll be making good use of a printer too, what with all the assignments you’ll have to hand in over the duration of your course. Usually you’ll be required by your subject department to print two copies of your essay any way, which will only add to the demand on your printer. Again, a printer isn’t particularly exciting but it is an essential piece of equipment which can cause a lot of headaches when it develops a fault.


Electronic photo frames

These are an excellent way to store and display a lot of photos in one place, for those times when you’re homesick. You’ll have a limited amount of space in your luggage, so not much room for full photo albums. As well as photos of loved ones at home, you’ll have made a whole new set of friends while studying abroad as well as attending different events/gigs/parties – you’ll have definitely become a lot more snap-happy while studying abroad! You should display these proudly rather than let them sit on your Facebook or hard drive, or in drawers.



Not all laptops or devices come with these built-in, so check if you are buying a new device. Even when they are, they may not be of the highest quality either. You’ll need these if you want to Skype online with loved ones at home and at other universities around the world regularly. These can be expensive and not always the first thing which a student thinks to buy. However, these indicate to students that you want to stay in touch more, which is a lovely sentiment. This equipment can also have other applications; for example, speakers can be used to play music at parties and socials.


Aeroplane tickets

It can be easy to forget that you actually need to get to your study destination before you can begin studying. If you’re going a few weeks before your course actually commences, you may not have access to all your funds just yet. Airplane tickets can also be expensive depending on the journey, so having someone buy them for you can be a huge weight off a student’s mind. Perhaps they can even go that bit further and treat you to First Class!

If you’re hoping to travel abroad to see friends in different countries, you can ask for help to pay for these journeys too (or even spending money for your trip). After working hard all term – and hopefully getting top grades – you’ll deserve a break!


Have a look at our guide on how to buy cheap flight tickets.




While we’ve offered advice on what to pack for different destinations, students may have been caught short on clothing to stay warm/cool in their study destination. You don’t even have to be a particularly fashion-obsessed student to appreciate a jumper when it’s freezing cold on the way to class on a January morning in America. Clothing can be more for function and much appreciated in weather you’re not used to back at home. Perhaps you’ve changed your fashion style since you began university? What you wear can make you stand out for the wrong reasons, so consider if you can do with a wardrobe update.


Extra money

While it can seem a little impersonal to just give someone a cheque or a card with money inside, students are often on strict budgets and will appreciate the extra cash. This can relieve financial pressures for the term or year ahead. Also, the student can put the money towards what they actually need it for; while it might sound a little ungrateful, being given an expensive present which you won’t actually use while worrying how you’re going to pay your next month’s rent can be a waste of a gift. Meanwhile, processing fees for visas, passports or language tests can unexpectedly amount to quite a lot, which students don’t always realise.




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