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?
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My student told me that, in his culture, it was a sign of respect for your teacher if you give them a ‘permanent’ kind of present.
It was his way of telling me I had made a difference and I was touched.
) therefore people may never tell you they don’t drink. So here is my problem: I’ll have the odd glass of something, but Mr Thesis Whisperer doesn’t drink at all, so there’s no occasion to open the gifted bottles of wine at home.
I don’t want to use them to cook with as that seems rude, so I have a shelf full of bottles of wine which lovely people have given me that I have never got around to consuming.
Nothing I’ll admit I was surprised when some people questioned the idea of buying a present at all.
Some explained that in their culture it was not the done thing to give a gift to a teacher (make note all you students in Sweden).
When I asked on Twitter what people were buying their Ph D supervisor I was surprised by the range of different responses.
Some people had no idea what to buy and expressed interest in such a post because the etiquette for this situation is so opaque.
Five years ago, a student gave me a little brass plate on a stand with an etched view of Hong Kong harbour.
I am no stranger to the odd bottle of wine or box of chocolates, but a little brass plate on a stand was unexpected kind of gift from a student.
Make sure you ask more than one as opinions may vary.