What to bring for symbolic gifts for academics?
March 3, 2008 8:23 AM   Subscribe

Symbolic academic gifts for visiting scholar?

I'm leaving in 3 weeks for Armenia. I have been a number of times, but this is my first time going as an "official" scholar. Hence, I'll be meeting with tons of academics. I have no idea what to bring them for gifts. I used to bring shot glasses of my hometown/university for friends, postcards, picture books... Symbolic gifts are extremely important culturally.

But what to bring academics? I've thought of California and my university calendars for 2009 as well as university logo coffee mugs.

Anything other ideas? Pens? Landscape photos?

Also, I'll be coming back to the U.S. for a conference in May, but not to California, so "general" gifts/needs like notebooks or dictionaries can be bought then.
posted by k8t to Travel & Transportation (6 answers total)
I would think university shot glasses, calendars, mugs, t-shirts, and sweatshirts would all be desirable. You don't indicate what your field of study is. Something connected to William Saroyan, perhaps a copy of The Human Comedy , would be very appropriate.
posted by thomas144 at 8:40 AM on March 3, 2008

I'm sure at least one scholar has written a book about your university, like a historical piece or something. I think those are pretty neat, particularly the "then and now" ones with photos. Coffee table books with pictures of US or California landmarks might be nice too (and pretty flat/not too heavy to carry). This one is a possibility.

Are you visiting academics in their homes or at the universities? If it's in their homes, I've seen cultural items like masks, food/wine, recipe books, ceramics, etc. For university visits, the decorative items are still nice but more academic items will work too. A fair amount of people will display these trinkets in their offices (probably not shot glasses though!). A t-shirt or hat is a nice option too. Because you're from California wine might be nice, though possibly hard to carry. I'm not sure about any cultural connotations regarding alcohol in Armenia though.

You don't want to pack anything too big/bulky. Also, I don't know about you, but I wouldn't get much use out of a landscape photo of someone else's country - at least it probably wouldn't go on my wall. Something uniquely US or California, or directly related to your university is probably fine.
posted by ml98tu at 9:07 AM on March 3, 2008

California wines? Too difficult to transport?
posted by Ambrosia Voyeur at 9:32 AM on March 3, 2008

It so very difficult to find anything made in the U.S. anymore: the last time I took gifts oversea, I made sure they were made in the US. I bought several small prints from Indian artists, and several small pottery pieces.
The University here has a university press, with several books on local history and geography. I took those on a previous visit.
posted by francesca too at 9:33 AM on March 3, 2008

Should have said "It's"
posted by francesca too at 9:33 AM on March 3, 2008

Response by poster: Wine is fine.

I study communication, but there will work with psych and soc people.
posted by k8t at 10:35 AM on March 3, 2008

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