People spend time abroad for a number of reasons: for business, retirement, familial or individual needs. But whatever the reasons, one important part of becoming an Expat is staying in touch with those loved ones still living in your home country. With the range of technology now available, communication between countries is becoming easier and easier. It’s important to find a platform that works for you, even if you have to try all of them…
People spend time abroad for a number of reasons: for business, retirement, familial or individual needs. But whatever the reasons, one important part of becoming an Expat is staying in touch with those loved ones still living in your home country.
With the range of technology now available, communication between countries is becoming easier and easier. It’s important to find a platform that works for you, even if you have to try all of them!
This is one of a number of popular mobile phone apps which allow you to text and call your contacts when abroad. It’s free and all you need is an Internet connection.
As well as avoiding exorbitant call charges, it is ideal for on-the-go access. Even in the middle of a busy day, or when travelling, apps like Whatsapp can allow you to:
- Send pictures
- Make calls
- Send audio messages
- Create group conversations
Programs such as Skype allow you to directly talk to people in different countries. Again, all that is required is an internet connection. Not only can you see and hear your contacts, but you can also type messages and send images.
Another benefit of internet calling is being able to do regular activities while talking to your contacts. For example, making an internet video call whilst cooking your dinner can help create a home atmosphere even if you and your contact are in different countries.
Getting a Bluetooth headset is a great idea as it will free you from sitting at your PC during the call.
Additionally, if you buy Skype credit you can make calls to regular phone numbers (in case your gran doesn’t have Skype!) for the cost of a local call.
With technology developing at a rapid pace, mobile phones can be used abroad with relative ease. All phone companies offer various price bundles with different phone models, and Phone Boosters are especially useful for those spending time abroad.
A phone “booster” is just an add on (most phone companies offer them) which gives you an extra allowance of calls and/or texts to be made to and from your home country. If you want to use your regular phone to call home, this is the most cost effective way to do it.
If you are living in the country for an extended duration though, buying a local sim or contract is usually the best option – and it’s more convenient too.
One of the big advantages to using Social Media platforms such as Facebook is that you can talk to lots of people at the same time. Although arguably impersonal at times, Social Media can work for public and personal communication.
- Schedule Tweets for professional work pages
- Instantly let your friends and family know what’s happening
- Check in with one another’s lives even when you can’t talk directly
In time honoured tradition, a hand written letter is sometimes the best option. When living a busy life it can be nice to sit down and really consider your message before you send it.
It can also mean a lot to the people reading it to receive a written letter or card. It shows that you care about them enough to make time to personalise your correspondence.
Birthday and Christmas cards, postcards, and classic letters are all good opportunities to personalise your communication. Your message will usually sound better for having had to think about it before writing it down.
Email has arguably been overtaken in popularity by social media – for personal communication at least, but if you are often sat in front of a PC, email can be the better option. It takes time and a little consideration, but can be sent and received instantly.
Email is more convenient than writing a letter, and unlike social media you are more likely to get the full attention of the recipient, at least for a few minutes.
A personalised way of touching base with one another is to send gifts. It’s a good way of integrating your life abroad with your life in your home country. Popular and memorable presents from abroad can include:
Aside from the obvious calendar dates, it can be a pleasant surprise for people at home to receive surprise gifts when they weren’t expecting it. A little card to let them know you’re thinking of them, a book you’d been telling them about, or a poster you saw in a region of the country you’re living in; these are all meaningful ways of staying in touch, especially if you’re not able to have a longer conversation at the time.
Plus, when they receive their gift, you’re sure to get a nice phone call too!
This is the most important of all communication. Nothing can really beat seeing friends and family face to face; it is after all why you’ve been staying in touch with them!
Find regular opportunities to visit loved ones, or have them visit you. As well as birthdays and special occasions, make visiting part of your Expat life by making visits all year-round.
- Do something special
- Do normal things
- Meet up with other friends and family at the same time
Most importantly, enjoy the time with everyone.
Keeping in regular contact, and in a variety of different ways, is a very important part of living or working abroad. It can help you adjust to your new surrounding and routine, and it can keep you connected with home if you are planning on moving abroad permanently.