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It was pointed out that gift giving creates a sense of obligation and reciprocity, which can be awkward for a supervisor – especially if they have many students. Many people do not celebrate Christmas all because of their atheist stance, others routinely have their own religious holidays ignored by Australia’s Christian slant.I’m not sure how you negotiate this social minefield, but perhaps, if you are unsure what is considered normal behaviour, ask the students who have been there longer than you.
However sometimes, like Amy, we want to give a gift that shows how much we care and value our teachers; store bought wine and/or chocolates can feel like a cop out.
Unless, like me, your supervisor is not a big drinker.
In Australia, being a non drinker is considered a weird thing (I know – it says something about our culture doesn’t it?
Some people were not sure they wanted to give their supervisor a gift because the relationship was strained.
Others thought that giving a gift to a person who is doing their job is not appropriate in any circumstances.Five years ago, a student gave me a little brass plate on a stand with an etched view of Hong Kong harbour.