Gift ideas for a new PhD moving to Africa
July 11, 2007 10:36 AM   Subscribe

Any ideas for what a new faculty member (who has to transport everything to Africa) might find useful or nice as a graduation gift from her research lab?

The senior grad student in my lab just finished her PhD in Educational Psychology and is moving to Africa to take an academic job where she’ll be setting up Christian educational programs (which incidentally is not related to our lab work). Our advisor wants me to come up with a graduation gift we can give her. He’s thinking something engraved and formal that she might leave in the US, I’m thinking something practical but formal that she could take with her.

She’s very down-to-earth, not into TV or pop culture or having lots of stuff. She'll be living in a largish Nigerian city with an American family. What kind of gift would you suggest for such a person?
posted by parkerjackson to Shopping (3 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I'm afraid I can only come up with two ideas. 1) A really nice pen with an engraving, if that's not too extravagant for her. 2) A shirt with something embroidered on it (if you lab has a name, or if there's some long-running in-joke among your group, or something).
posted by Ms. Saint at 11:21 AM on July 11, 2007

On the chance that she's a smoker, a nice engraved lighter will be seen as quite a status symbol in Nigeria.
posted by boots at 11:46 AM on July 11, 2007

Here are a variety of suggestions, based on things I'd love to get for my upcoming year in Ghana :)

Something to keep track of her experience:
-a field recorder
-a digital camera

To have her favourite music/shows/movies:
-an ipod

If she plans on travelling:
-a high-quality hand water pump
-a self-supporting mosquito net with a bite-proof bottom

A care package containing some or all of:
-a high quality first aid kit
-sunscreen (if she's light skinned)
-pre-paid phone cards to give to her friends and family
-zip-lock bags
-a really good book (in my experience in Ghana, books are plentiful, but somewhat random in genre)
posted by carmen at 7:45 AM on July 12, 2007

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