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Why Do We Collect Souvenirs?

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Reading time: 3 minutes
Whenever you travel to a foreign city or country, do you bring something back that reminds you of your experience?
Hanging dreamcatcher
Photo by Artem Beliaikin on Pexels

Taking something back home, such as a souvenir, can remind you of your travels or allow you to share your experience with your family and friends. But there are so many more reasons why you or anyone would collect souvenirs from different places.

Let’s have a look at a couple of reasons why we collect souvenirs, especially when we go to study abroad.

Retro globe with handmade toys against gray background
Photo by Tatiana Syrikova from Pexels

Keeping Memories

“Things end but memories last forever.” - Kumar Milan


Whenever we travel, we make memories. The places we have visited have given us unique experiences that we wish to remember. In particular, if we were on a study abroad programme, we may want to keep a memory of our time there forever.


A good way to keep memories of these experiences is to collect something that is associated with them. This should be something that can remind you of the place you visited or a conversation that you had with someone there. From my own experience, during my exchange in South Korea, I bought a few magnets of the places that I visited and my friends and I bought souvenirs together to cherish our friendships. Every time I look at these souvenirs, they put a smile on my face as they remind me of that special memory that I had in South Korea.


The best souvenirs are the ones that make you remember. For instance, when you look at that keychain, magnet or T-shirt that you brought back from your time abroad, does it remind you of that memory that you made while travelling or being on your exchange programme? If so, this is the souvenir that you want to get, as it can evoke memories from those experiences that you want to hold on to.


Sharing Your Experiences with Family and Friends

''Happiness is only real when shared.” - Christopher McCandless


There is something I would like to know about you. Are you one of those people who bring souvenirs from your travels back home to your friends and family?


Bringing your friends and family something from your trip abroad can be a thoughtful way to show them where you have travelled to and share those experiences with them. This way, souvenirs become more than just a gift, but also a way to demonstrate your love and appreciation for your loved ones.


What to bring, however, is probably still a question on your mind. If you want to buy something useful and memorable, I would suggest a tote bag, T-shirt, cup or keychain. These are the things that your loved ones can use every day. Alternatively, if you want the souvenirs to be placed as decorations in your family’s or friend’s house, bring them a postcard or a fridge magnet.


Red envelopes against sprig of blooming prunus and tea
Photo by Angela Roma from Pexels

Keeping Your Study Abroad Memories


Many students say that studying abroad was the best time of their lives and that is the memory they want to keep forever.


So, there is always a question of: What exactly do you bring back from your exchange programme? Or, if you were involved with ESN, is there any way you could bring a memory of that back home? Yes, there is a way! 


Before choosing what to bring back, you should first think about what you would like to remember the most. It could be your university or the city where you have studied. 


Taking photos is one of the best ways to do that because when you look back at them you will be able to remember and picture the good memories you have created. Also, you can bring back tangible items such as souvenirs that will help you remember these experiences, too.


Need more inspiration? You can take a peek at our ESN shop. There are some items/souvenirs that can bring back memories when you are back in your homeland, including hoodies, T-shirts, cooking aprons, cups, stickers and more!