Whether you’re on a gap year, working overseas or just having an extended stay in a foreign country – chances are it’s the thrill of adventure that has taken you abroad. Hopes and dreams aside, dealing with potential homesickness can be one of the cons while living abroad. The biggest of which is finding ways to keep in touch with friends and family that fit your schedule and maybe even time zone.
A long-distance relationship takes more time and effort but luckily the digital age means we have the ability to stay connected at all times, regardless of distance. Here are a few simple and effective tips to stay close when you’re living abroad without your family.
1. Build social media groups
This is particularly useful if you have a larger family. Social media platforms like Facebook, WhatsApp, Skype and Google Hangouts all have the functionality that allows you to create group chats as well as calls. Private group chats on social media offer you the advantage of staying in contact with several people at the same time and centralise your efforts. The best part, you can keep in contact even if one of the group members moves to another country.
2. Create a family newsletter
Even more personal is a family newsletter, which you can send as an email to selected family members and friends. Big advantage: you also reach people without a social media profile. The newsletter serves as a monthly update about your expat life where you can share your work experiences, photos and videos and talk about living abroad pros and cons. This will allow your loved ones to enjoy a reliable monthly update about your living abroad experience and at the same time, it will help you reflect on how far you have come on your journey to settle into a new culture.
3. Start your own blog
A blog is the perfect way to document your experiences as a foreigner living abroad in Germany and can be used almost like a diary. Instead of a public blog, it’s also possible to create a private blog shared only with your closest friends and relatives. By writing, you can process your emotions and feelings about your life abroad and homesickness such as the ups and downs in dealing with issues like language barriers and the challenge of finding friends.
4. Plan a virtual get together
At least once a month, connect with your family and friends online to give an update on your adventures as an expat living in Germany. There are many websites to keep in touch with friends that make it very easy to organize a video chat, and see all the friendly faces you’ve been missing.
5. Go old school with postcards and letters
Computers aren’t your thing, and an international phone call seems too impersonal, nothing shows how much you miss someone like a classic postcard or a letter. In the digital age, everyone is happy about a little something in the mailbox. Plus, a handwritten letter always feels extra special and makes a great keepsake on the fridge just to remind them of the good times you’re having abroad.
6. Send a gift to your family and friends
A surprise gift can be a good idea to let your family and friends from home know that you are thinking about them, especially if it’s something unique from the place where you’re living. Maybe even a cash gift could be a good idea for a special occasion or good news?
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