College students studying abroad

50 BEST Gifts for Students Going Abroad: Compact, Fun & Useful

Looking for unique, practical and fun gift ideas for students studying abroad? Here’s a variety of awesome gifts for someone going abroad to study, from low-cost to truly epic study abroad gifts. You can easily bundle a few together for the perfect gift for a friend going abroad for studies, too.

Gift ideas for students studying abroad, study abroad gifts
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BEST Gifts for Someone Going Abroad To Study in 2023

The main tip when choosing gifts for students going abroad is to go SMALL. Luggage space and dorm space is always limited. Avoid large, bulky or breakable keepsakes. The best gifts for someone going abroad to study are useful and can be tucked in with clothes.

1. Favorite LOCAL Gift Ideas for Students Studying Abroad

What does the student in your life LOVE that they might not find abroad? Certain snacks? An awesome locally-made gift idea for someone going abroad to study is knitted socks, mitts or a hat from Grandma!

Load up a care package for a friend going abroad for studies, filled with their favorite snacks and cozy gifts. Not only will it help your friend adjust, it’ll keep them fed and comfy! 

2. Travel Destination GUIDEBOOK as Study Abroad Gifts

Travel destination guidebooks are a fantastic gift for someone going abroad to study. Even if your student is all about the latest gadgets, physical guidebooks are great travel companions while waiting in airports and on long overseas flights. Also, they’re super convenient for trip planning. Consider getting a pocket guidebook so it’s smaller and lighter for their daypack.

My favorite travel destination guidebooks are from Lonely Planet. Lonely Planet guidebooks are written by local experts with insider tips and tricks, including money-saving tips that’ll help students studying abroad. 

3. Gift a LANGUAGE Phrasebook and Dictionary Gift for Friend Going Abroad for Studies

If your friend is going abroad to study in another language, a language phrasebook and dictionary will come in very handy. Again, my favorite option here is Lonely Planet

Lonely Planet phrasebooks are written for someone going overseas. They focus on common phrases a traveler is most likely to need, plus essential tips on culture, manners, safety and food. Also, Lonely Planet phrasebooks are cheap and compact, making them an excellent filler in your care package for a college student studying abroad!

4. Universal Travel Power ADAPTOR Plug Gift for Someone Going Abroad to Study

Although it isn’t a super exciting going abroad gift, a universal travel adapter power plug might just become your student’s best friend! Students traveling from the USA or Canada to Europe, the United Kingdom, Australia or Asia will get a ton of use from their universal travel adapter. They’ve become super convenient, with built-in USB charging ports, too.

Here are highly-rated universal travel adapter power plugs to check out on Amazon. Some come in fun colors to dress up this gift for students studying abroad.

But if your student going abroad will use things like a hairdryer or kettle, consider getting them a voltage converter. A portable converter can be more complicated to use, especially if it’s an adapter and converter in one. So make sure they read how to use it!

5. Travel-Themed Cell Phone CHARGER as a Study Abroad Gift

Travel gift ideas for students studying abroad, Portable cell phone charger, Etsy travel gifts

A fun AND practical gift for someone going abroad to study is this travel-themed portable cell phone charger on Etsy. The cords are inside the power bank, so your student won’t have to worry about finding their cord while traveling around. AND it’s compatible with both iPhones and Androids. Awesome!!

6. Clothing With HIDDEN POCKETS Gift for a Friend Who Is Going Abroad for Studies

For a friend who is going abroad for studies, hidden pockets are super handy for hiding things like passports and larger currencies. These are super handy for club-hopping students studying abroad! While body wallets (that you wear under clothes) are one option, they don’t do well under fitted clothes. And they’re not that cool in a care package for a college student!

Etsy has some pretty great clothes and clothing accessories with hidden pockets. Check out the huge selection of infinity scarves with hidden pockets, including simple unisex scarves and those that double as a sarong coverup. Or for guys who don’t wear scarves, better options might be briefs or a tank top. Some of these tank tops have SIX hidden pockets!

7. Travel-Themed WATCH Study Abroad Gifts

Travel-themed watch, gift ideas for students studying abroad
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Want gift ideas for students studying abroad that encourage them to make it to class on time? Take a look at these vintage map watches! The second hand is a fun airplane that flies around the globe, and the case is a classic stainless steel. These watches come in ten band colors, including classic and fun. The band is a casual denim fabric, perfect for students.

8. Travel TOKEN Gift for a Friend Going Abroad for Studies

Washer travel tokens are everywhere now, because they’re SO great! They’re completely customizable and carry a ton of memories in their tiny presence. And they’re wonderful gift ideas for students studying abroad. Your friend can hang the ring on their backpack or key chain. Wear it around their neck. Or use it as a bookmark in their travel journal.

Vagabond Life Shop on Etsy has lots of options to choose from, including necklaces and keychains.

9. Travel JOURNAL Gifts for Students Going Abroad

The best travel gift I ever got was a travel journal from my mom. She gave it to me on my first-ever international trip and asked me to write in it regularly so she could follow along and experience it, too, when I got back. I’ve kept a travel journal ever since and LOVE going back to re-experience my “wow” moments.

Even if your student likes techy gadgets more than hand-writing, there’s nothing like keeping a hand-written travel journal. Inspire them with a beautiful, hand-made travel journal from Etsy, like a refillable leather notebook or pretty junk journal

And a great add-on gift is a set of super awesome erasable FriXion pens and highlighters! They’re a colorful AND practical gift for students going abroad, and round out a care package for a college student. 

Shop Amazon’s large selection of FriXion products.

10. A Cool AND Super-Durable Cork PASSPORT HOLDER as a Study Abroad Gift for Friends

Travel gift ideas for students studying abroad, Cork passport holder, Etsy travel giftsA friend going abroad for studies will find a passport holder convenient for keeping travel documents safe. My favorite one out there is this cork passport holder on Etsy, that can also be used as a cool credit card holder. It’s eco-friendly, PeTA approved, fully recyclable, and perfect for your sustainable traveler. 

Also important: the cork material is super lightweight, water-repellent, stain-resistant, fire-resistant, scratch-resistant, hypoallergenic, easy to clean. See?? Useful AND cool! Students studying abroad will love this.

Check out more cork travel gifts in Unique Daypacks for Women!

11. A Cool Customized LUGGAGE TAG Gifts for Students Going Abroad

Travel gift ideas for students studying abroad, Luggage tag, Etsy travel gifts

This custom luggage tag on Etsy is another practical AND pretty cool gift for someone going abroad to study. No matter how rough your student is (and the airlines), this “toughtag” will hold up. Your information is permanently and deeply embossed on a stainless steel tag, and attaches to luggage with a stainless steel cable that has a screw closure.

Instead of customizing the luggage tag with their new address (which might change anyway), just put their email and cell number. It also fits very nicely in a care package for a college student.

12. Travel-Inspired JEWELRY Gift for a Friend Going Abroad for Studies 

I came across some beautiful, travel-inspired jewelry on Etsy that I had to include here. Even though I’m quite a minimalist with trinkets and jewelry, wouldn’t these go so nicely in a care package to a college student overseas??

Take a look at these sentimental gifts for students going abroad. Customize this hand-painted globe locket with your own photos. A more masculine option is the classy compass locket keychain, also customizable with your own photos. Or, how about this super-pretty, super-simple compass necklace?

13. Travel PILLOW with Hood Gift Idea for Students Going Abroad

Travel pillow with hood, gift ideas for students studying abroad
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Check out this travel pillow with a drawstring hood as a gift for someone going abroad to study. It’s perfect for long flights and road trips, and for study breaks, too! Soft and cozy sweatshirt fabric is filled with squishy microbeads to make it super comfortable. Drawstrings can be pulled tight to deal with uncomfortable fluorescent lights. It comes in a gender neutral grey, that’s easy to match any outfit.

14. Noise Cancelling HEADPHONES Gift for Students Studying Abroad

No matter where your student is studying, they’re going to LOVE having a good set of noise cancelling headphones. Even studying in a library is tough without good headphones because of the zillion distractions. Choose wireless earbuds for extra portability. Or classic over ear headphones, which are more comfortable if your student is wearing them a lot.

Amazon has a good selection of noise cancelling headphones perfect as a gift idea for students studying abroad. I love our over ear wireless Bose set with Bluetooth. But there are other highly-rated (and cheaper) options, too.

15. CABLE TIES Gift for Someone Going Abroad to Study

Colorful magnet cable ties, gift ideas for students studying abroad
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Students these days have a TON of cords for every kind of device. So, help them keep their cords neat and tidy with fun cable ties they’ll actually use. These colorful magnetic silicone cable ties make a fun AND practical gift for a friend going abroad for studies. And they have the added benefit for the uber-organized student by keeping cords color-coded, too. Choose between three, six and nine pieces.

16. Earbud WINDER and Phone Stand as Gift Idea for Students Studying Abroad

Portable cable winder and phone stand, gift ideas for students studying abroad
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Here’s another super portable and practical gift idea for students studying abroad: an earbud winder that doubles as a phone stand. Its rounded edges and portability make it easy to carry in a pocket. Pull out the little stand to watch a show hands-free during study break. Choose between blue and pink.

17. Travel DAYPACK as a Study Abroad Gift Idea

Generally, I wouldn’t recommend luggage as a travel gift, because luggage is a personal style/preference/need thing. That said, a travel daypack might actually be the perfect gift for someone going abroad to study. Chances are, they really could use a new daypack. And chances are even higher that they can’t afford a good one. 

Here are highly-rated casual daypacks on Amazon. The safer bets for travel bags are more neutral styles and fabrics, unless you really know the student traveling abroad. If your student will do quite a bit of traveling, you might want to pick a decent anti-theft daypack.

You may also like:

18. Small Group TOUR Gift for Students Studying Abroad

Now, if you’re looking for the ULTIMATE in fun gift for someone going abroad to study, go shopping on Intrepid Travel’s website! 

Intrepid Travel offers more than 1000 small group tours across all continents, including tours specifically for youth aged 18 to 29 years old. Perfect for college students traveling abroad! 

I’ve been on Intrepid Travel’s small group tours through SE Asia and LOVED it. Along with seeing top travel destinations, travelers experience the local culture and charities doing incredible on-the-ground work. Intrepid Travel was established by and for conscientious travelers who want to give back to the communities they visit. 

Even better? Book a small group tour over the holidays and join your friend studying abroad! EPIC.

19. Pre-Dated Personal NOTES Gift for a Friend Going Abroad for Studies

Travel gift ideas for students studying abroad, Personal notes
Notes with YOUR inspiration! Photo credit: Giulia Bertelli from Unsplash.

My favorite gift for a friend going abroad for studies is personal notes from YOU! On my first solo trip overseas, my sister had my close friends and family members write short notes to me. Some were inspiring. Others were jokes or funny memories. She put dates on them so I had one to open every day. Isn’t that an AWESOME gift for students going abroad?! 

You could tailor this gift idea to whatever suits your personalities. Pick some fun cards and write notes, print photos, or wrap up small gifts. Label them all with a date and even a fun rule for opening it. Bundle them in a care package for your college student to open every week for their semester abroad. Just keep the packages compact and light for traveling.

20. Emergency KITS for Someone Going Abroad to Study

Consider a travel emergency kit as an add-on gift for someone going abroad to study. It’s not super fun, but it’ll sure be helpful. And while an obvious choice is a TSA-approved travel first aid kit, another incredibly helpful emergency kit to have is a mini sewing kit.

21. TOILETRIES Bag Gift for a Friend Going Abroad for Studies

Hanging toiletries bag, gifts for students going abroad
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A great toiletries travel pouch can sure come in handy for students living in a college dorm. I remember the days of hauling my toiletries down the hall every morning and night!

The best style of toiletries travel bag for students going abroad is a multi-compartment organizer that can be hung up. Think: versatility, moving between the shower change room and sink to brush their teeth. 

For more ideas, check out our favorite small toiletries bags and awesome travel organizers for jewelry.

22. Hanging Clothes ORGANIZER for a Study Abroad Gift

Hanging luggage organizer, business travel gifts for him
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Someone studying abroad will need some organizational help once they reach their new home. Turn their super-organized packing into a super-organized closet with this hanging storage compartment. Moving their clothes from the suitcase to the closet has never been easier! I like the ones with zippered covers so stuff doesn’t fall out.

23. Steam CLIP for Someone Going Abroad to Study

Steam clip travel gadget, best gifts for men who travel for work
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This small, lightweight travel gadget is surprisingly versatile! Its main use is for hang-steaming wrinkled clothes in a hotel shower, since it’s compatible with a variety of hangers.

The steam clip is also a bottle opener, smartphone stand, thread or tag cutter, and ruler. Your student can hang up that toiletries bag or keep clothes off the shower room floor. Cut off that new shirt tag and crack open a beer, while measuring space for their new desk!

24. Polaroid CAMERA Gift for a Friend Going Abroad for Studies

Polaroid camera, gifts for students going abroad
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There’s something pretty special about printing out a picture these days. But it feels like it takes a lot of effort, and even more for someone going abroad to study. Make it easy for your friend to capture AND print out their memories, with a compact Polaroid camera(It’ll also be easier for them to mail one to you, too!)

25. Flexible TRIPOD Student Travel Gift Idea

Gorilla pods flexible tripod, Gifts for travel lovers
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I suggest a flexible tripod in pretty much all of my gift guides, because they’re SO great for capturing travel memories. As a study abroad gift idea, students can wrap them around a tree limb or use the magnets to stand them on the hood of a car to get the perfect shot.

26. Portable HARD DRIVE for Student Going Abroad

Portable hard drive, gifts for someone going abroad to study
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Help keep their memories secure with a portable hard drive. This is a great gift for someone going abroad to study, for backing up their photos, videos and school files wherever they are, even without internet access. Then they can confidently free up space on their phones, too. When choosing a hard drive, pick a recognized and respected name like SanDisk or Toshiba with strong reviews.

27. Travel BAG SET Gift for Someone Going Abroad to Study

Tote&Carry has a pretty great travel bag set students going abroad will love. It includes a duffel bag that’s either regular-sized or extra-large and a backpack, perfect for carry-on travel. And they’re full of style!

Choose from gorgeous velour, full-grain alligator texture, or vegan leather graffiti print, available in lots of colors and styles. They’re water-resistant and anti-scratch.

28. Reusable Water BOTTLE Travel Gift Idea for Friends

Filtering water bottle, outdoors Gifts for travel lovers
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A reusable water bottle is a super practical gift for a friend studying abroad. And depending on where they’re studying or traveling on time off, a water bottle with filtration is even better. It comes with water purifiers, so they get safe, clean water no matter where they venture.

29. Electric KETTLE for Someone Studying Abroad

Collapsible kettle, gifts for students going abroad
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What’s their hot beverage of choice? A portable electric kettle is perfect for someone going abroad to study, both for satisfying that thirst and transporting it. This collapsible tea kettle from Inspire Uplift is compatible with US and EU plugs, too.

30. SNACKS Subscription Gift for a Friend Going Abroad for Studies

What student doesn’t love snacks?? Consider a premium snack subscription box as a gift for a friend studying abroad! Each month, they’ll get 8-12 treats from a different. Enough to satisfy their craving or to share with their new friends. Past boxes include treats from Greece, Taiwan, Israel and India.

31. COFFEE PRESS Gifts for Someone Going Abroad to Study

Coffee press gifts for cabin owners, cabin warming gifts
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I’ve become a big fan of coffee presses, both because of the rich flavor they get from even inexpensive coffee and how easy they are. Consider a single-serving coffee press as a gift for someone studying abroad who loves their coffee. Stainless steel is durable and holds the heat.

32. Laptop COOLING PAD Gift for Students Abroad

Laptop cooler, gifts for students going abroad
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A laptop cooling pad is a pretty great gift for someone going abroad to study. They fold up flat and adjust to the perfect angle. Some even include a stand for their mobile. Combine this gift idea with a travel keyboard to improve their ergonomics.

33. Portable LOCK Box as Study Abroad Gift Idea

Portable safe, gifts for students going abroad
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A very practical gift for someone going abroad to study is a portable safe. Choose a travel lock box that’s big enough to store their passport, key documents, a portable hard drive and large currencies.

34. Quick-Dry TOWEL for Someone Going Abroad to Study

Quick dry towel, outdoor Gifts for travel lovers

A compact quick-dry towel can become your student’s best friend. I’m not a fan of microfibre towels, but they dry quickly and are antibacterial.

This travel towel from Rainleaf is thicker and more absorbent than most, but still lightweight and folds into its compact carrying case. Reviewers love it. It comes in three sizes.

35. Bedside CADDY for Students Going Abroad

Bed caddy, gifts for students going abroad
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A bedside caddy is a great gift for a friend going abroad for studies, especially for those living in dorms. Whenever you can create space and organization in a small space, you’re a superstar! Choose one that packs up nice and small.

36. Bluetooth HAT Gift for a Friend Going Abroad for Studies

Bluetooth beanie, gifts for students going abroad
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A beanie with Bluetooth headphones is such a great idea for your friend studying abroad! It’ll keep their ears warm and make it easy for them to catch up on their podcasts or listen to lessons, too. I was skeptical, but reviewers love them. And they look great on!

37. Personalized Coffee MUG Gift for a Friend Studying Abroad

Personalized mug, gifts for students going abroad
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For a more sentimental gift for a friend going abroad for studies, get them a personalized picture mug. Now they can take you with them! Make it funny, sappy or inspirational. Bonus: They’ll always know which mug is theirs.

38. Personalized Playing CARDS Student Gift Idea

Personalized playing cards, study abroad gifts
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A deck of cards can be the perfect add-on gift for someone traveling abroad. It’s an easy, compact thing to help them quickly make new friends no matter where they are. 

And if you get personalized playing cards (with pictures they’ll be happy to share, of course!), your student can take a little taste of home with them. You can personalize the front side and each individual card, too!

39. Cozy SLIPPERS Gifts for Someone Going Abroad to Study

There’s something about cozy slippers that can make you feel better when you’re missing home. Like these luxurious, plush slippers from Anthropologie.

If you’re getting a gift for a brother going abroad or someone who’s sharing a college dorm, slide-on sandals they can wear in the shower would be a very practical gift. Like these slide sandals from Hurley they’ll be proud to wear, day or night.

40. Cozy BATHROBE Gift for a Friend Going Abroad for Studies

A nice robe can make your friend feel like they’re wrapping themselves in a warm hug! They’re also super handy in a dorm.

Simons is my favorite place to shop for bathrobes. For men’s robes, choose from ultra-soft velvet, organic cotton and casual recycled polyester. And women’s robes include long and short styles in organic cotton, linen and sustainable jersey.

41. Carry-On LUGGAGE Gift for Student Going Abroad

A carry-on suitcase with wheels is a pretty safe luggage gift for someone studying abroad. It’ll come in super handy, both for getting to college and for traveling around, too.

Two solid options are Kenneth Cole’s Renegade 20-Inch Expandable hard-shell carry-on and the 20-inch expandable Samsonite Lineate soft-shell carry-on. Both have eight 360-degree spinner wheels and lots of interior pockets.

42. Belt BAG Travel Gift for  a Friend Going Abroad for Studies

Do I ever love my Lululemon belt bag! It’s become my new favorite accessory, ideal for carrying my phone and wallet without the extra bulk of my purse. And Simons has some pretty great belt bags for guys, including Vans, Herschel and Revelry. Your friend will love you for it!

43. Cute SOCKS for Friend Studying Abroad

Don’t underestimate how wonderful the gift of cozy socks is. Students studying abroad will LOVE them. Especially on cold days in the library. Get their initials embroidered, just in case they get mixed up in the laundry.

44. Portable BLENDER Gift Idea for Students

Portable blender, gifts for students going abroad
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Check out this portable blender as gifts for students studying abroad! This little blender is perfect for preparing protein shakes, smoothies and milkshakes to go. Recharge it with a USB cord, so literally right next to their laptop. Holds up to 380 ml.

45. Catch-All TRAY Gift for Someone Going Abroad

Treat your friend going abroad to study with a pretty or handsome catch-all tray. They come in super handy for creating a “home” for little things like keys and jewelry. And they add a touch of love and style to their new home, too.

As gifts for her, check out these beautiful jewelry dishes. And these valet trays are perfect gifts for your brother.

46. Insta360 GO CAMERA Student Gift Idea

Portable video camera, best gift ideas for men who travel for work, best travel gadgets
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This super-small, super-light and hands-free video camera is a fun gift for someone going abroad to study. It shoots in 30- or 60-second clips, in hyperlapse, time lapse or slow motion. Easily attach it by clip, magnet or the pivot stand to get awesome angles. 

It’s water resistant, compatible with both Android and iPhones, and comes with a charge-case that’s small enough to fit in their pocket to charge on the go. Available on Amazon, with solid reviews.

47. Bluetooth SPEAKER Gifts for Students Going Abroad

A good Bluetooth speaker can turn up the fun in any situation! It also helps students going abroad listen to school stuff, too, since laptop speakers are generally awful. 

Bose makes excellent speakers, including this portable Bluetooth speaker. It’s waterproof (it even floats!) and built to resist dust and debris, too. Use the built-in mic for calls or voice controls.

You can also get a pretty little ocean ombre travel speaker from Anthropologie, perfect for that friend or daughter traveling abroad. Cute, right??

48. Compression PACKING Cubes Travel Gift for Students

Compression packing cubes, business travel gifts for him
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Luggage compression cubes are especially handy for anyone needing to pack tight. And they’re super easy to use. Students can pack their clothes like they’re regular luggage cubes, and then use the extra zipper to compress them.

(A handy add-on gift idea is the steam clip to deal with all those wrinkles!)

49. Tile TRACKING System for Someone Going Abroad

Tile Mate travel gadgets, travel gift ideas
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Tile Mate is your student’s personal tracking system! They can sync the pieces to their smartphone via Bluetooth and attach or tuck it into things like wallets and travel bags. Then, if one goes missing, it’s easy to locate them. You can even use it to find your phone. Double-press the tile button and it’ll make your phone ring, even when it’s on silent mode. Super handy, right??

The most common piece is Tile Mate, which has a small ring hole to attach to things like key rings and travel bag zippers. Tile Slim fits inside a passport holder or wallet. And Tile Sticker is even smaller, perfect for things like a phone or TV remote.

50. EAR PLUGS Gifts for Students

Silicone earplugs, best gift ideas for men who travel for work, gifts for students going abroad

If snoring has ever kept you awake, you’ll know how useful earplugs can be! These highly-rated reusable silicone earplugs with a portable case can save your student many sleepless nights. They work for any ear size, for those who sleep on their side, and reviewers love them. Plus, they’re a pretty blue. Perfect!

Remember to SHARE this post with others shopping for study abroad gifts! 

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Gift ideas for students studying abroad, study abroad gifts

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