Even in the days of social media, smart phones, and Skype, it’s easy to drift apart from friends and family when you move abroad. It takes work to stay in touch, and without joint effort, longlasting relationships can fade.
But with a bit of determination, creativity, and planning, you’ll be able to keep up no matter where you are. Check out these tips for staying close to home while being far away.
1. Establish a recurring communication schedule
Designating a regular call time makes it harder for frequent communication to slip through the cracks. A smart phone calendar event will make it easier to keep the date; just make sure to account for different time zones.
2. Use chat apps for casual catch-ups
For quick life updates, nothing beats messenging apps. Texts, photos, videos, gifs, even sending money — you name it and they’ve got it. Best of all, there are plenty of WiFi-based options, so your chatting won’t rack up a big bill.
3. Create a blog
It’ll be impossible to relay all of your stories over the phone or in a chat. Blogging can help you share the challenges and triumphs of life overseas to your whole network just by posting a link. Plus, you’ll have a permanent storage of memories to look back on.
4. Start a cross-border book club
Coming up with conversation can get repetitive, especially when you’re talking to people living different lives than you. Asking “what’s new?” isn’t always easy to answer. A book club is a great way to get the conversation flowing.
Take turns choosing books and come prepared to your group chat with thought-provoking questions. It’s a fun way to expand your literary horizons while shrinking the distance between you and your friends.
Not a bookworm? The same idea can be applied to the latest Netflix series or hit movie.
5. Document your days on Snapchat
With its new group chat functionality, Snapchat’s a great way to let everyone know what you’re up to in short doses. Whether documenting your trip to the supermarket or a unique cultural event in your new hometown, people will appreciate getting a glimpse into your everyday life abroad.
6. Incite some friendly competition
Make a weekly or daily brain teaser part of your routine, then share your results. Whether you and your loved ones opt for a Sporcle quiz or Words with Friends, healthy competition can spur more regular communication – even if it’s trash talking.
7. Send postcards or letters
While technology has erased most of the barriers to communication that distance creates, there’s something more personal about snail mail. A handwritten letter just feels special, and postcards can be a fun way to share a taste of your experience.
8. Plan a trip to meet halfway
No matter how well you stay in touch from afar, nothing compares with reuniting face-to-face. Meeting in the middle can introduce everyone to a new place and begin an annual tradition to encourage more regular meetings. Set up trip alerts on sites like Kayak to find the cheapest times to meet.
Being apart will always be hard, but these steps can offer relief until you see each other next.