Working or studying abroad is often be an adventure of a lifetime. You build new relationships, experience new cultures and learn more about who you are. Still, with family and friends so far away, keeping strong relationships with loved ones at home can be difficult. It can be easy to lose touch when you are pleasantly losing yourself in the vitality of your new surroundings, but there will also be times when all you long for is a familiar voice. Fortunately, there are several ways to keep in touch with your loved ones, no matter how far apart they may be.
Phone Home Once a Week
Designate a day to call your close family members or friends once a week. People you are less close with can be called every couple of weeks, while spouses should be called at least once a day if not more.
Pre-paid cell phone plans are relatively cheap and can keep you connected. Advanced smart phones with internet access are available on prepaid plans, and can be especially useful for business travelers or students who like to blog about their adventures abroad.
Social Media is Excellent for Sharing and Connecting
Social media is great for sharing your photos and experiences abroad, as well as keeping you connected with your friends and family. With the variety of social media outlets to choose from, you may be wondering how to share your experiences with others without spending all of your time on your phone or at the computer. Below is a comparison of the top two suggestions for people who do not want to manage multiple accounts or spend a fortune keeping in touch with friends and family while abroad.
Skype VS Google for Video Chat and More
Longing to see your boyfriend’s or mother’s face? Try video chatting. You’ve probably heard of the popular video chat application, Skype, which is cheap and user-friendly. However, Google offers free video calls, as well as email features and an online office suite while Skype does not.
With Google Hangouts, you’re free to connect to your other social media accounts so you have everything all in one place. When you have a moment or two to spare, Google+ also can help keep you in the loop and share your experiences with others. Google is a fantastic way to stay connected, and is recommended most for travelers looking for an affordable and convenient tool to maintain relationships.
E-mail, Snail Mail and Post Cards
Let’s face it, not everyone is internet savvy. There is nothing better to some people than a handwritten letter or a post card. Regardless of how convenient social networking may be, sometimes you really need to personalize your message to show your loved ones how much you care. Besides, who doesn’t love finding something other than bills in the mail?
Fly Home for Holidays if you can
Funds may be tight while you are abroad. Try booking flights well in advance for holiday trips home to get great discounts. Setting aside the time and money to visit in person will be well worth it. Nothing, not even video chat, makes up for your actual presence or the feeling of a hug from the ones you love the most, and it will be especially meaningful for older relatives. If your parents are climbing in the years and you are torn about not being nearby, you can always have a friend occasionally check in with them or purchase them a medical alert system from Fall Alert to be used if an emergency arises.
Fostering your Love Life from Abroad
Moving abroad offers amazing opportunities, but it can also be one of the most stressful situations to manage. Maintaining a healthy and happy relationship with your spouse or fiancée from abroad is, as you might imagine, a bit trickier than connecting with friends and family.
It is vital that your spouse or fiancée understand why the move is necessary. The realities of the situation need to be clearly defined, and don’t hesitate to compromise on certain aspects that you cannot come to an agreement on. In particular, ensure that you and your spouse both clearly understand and are prepared for financial situations. Totally disconnecting from your home life, including the burdens that the two of you will face, creates great discord and may instigate the end of your relationship.
Sharing trips is also a good idea. Take turns flying to one another’s destinations so you both feel like a part of the others life and home. You and your loved one are partners in life, and each of your adventures. Listen with an open mind, or express your concerns openly. Counseling may be a good idea if a long-distance relationship becomes too difficult to manage for one or both of you. Do not see this as a failure of your relationship; alternatively, it is a positive sign that both of you are taking preventative measures to care for the other.
To remain as united as you can throughout the separation, you can also create a solid plan for the future—whether it means that you will eventually move back home, or your loved one will join you abroad.
Imagine sitting lonely in your hotel or hostel, thinking of the ones you left, the ones you miss. With a heavy heart, feeling lost in a foreign land and surrounded by unknown faces, you will not make the most of your experience abroad. So take some time out of your travels to sit back, relax, and reconnect. Your loved ones are only a phone call, letter, or video chat away! Laughing over traveling mishaps and mix ups, or sharing stories of your latest cuisine discovery at the local pub, revives relationships and enhances your own experience.
But remember, time is elusive and you can never get it back. Life happens, people are lost and sometimes relationships fail while abroad; these are all things you need to come to terms with before you go. Still, these relationships can be nurtured, and even grow while you are abroad if you have a sincere dedication to keeping them alive and strong.