Are you considering studying abroad but are worried you could have trouble staying in touch with family and friends back home? With a bit of planning, and the help of technology, it’s easier than ever to stay-up-to-date and nurture your relationships back home. Here are four tried-and-true tips that writers from educations.com have used to stay in touch with family and friends while studying abroad
Are you thinking about studying abroad but not sure which location would suit you best?
Take our quiz to help find your perfect study abroad destination!
1. Sharing your life via social media with your family and friends while studying abroad
You'll meet new people and make friends while studying abroad, so it's easy to have a full academic and social schedule, but remember to regularly schedule regular time for chats and video calls with your family and loved ones back home. After all, you want to stay in touch with your family and friends while studying abroad, as well as your new friends studying abroad.
Your family can still keep up with your daily life via video chats or group chats on WhatsApp or iMessage while you're abroad. Letting your family and friends follow you on social media platforms like Instagram as well is also a nice way of keeping in touch with everyone back home when you’re away.
Your parents and friends will also be concerned about your safety while studying abroad. This will be a great way to have local popular chat apps downloaded and add your family there in cases where the overseas connections are unstable. Additionally, you could use tools such as WhatsApp to connect your family members with your closest friends in the host country, so they can still reach you in case of an emergency.
2. Calculating and keeping in mind the time zone difference when studying abroad
Staying in touch with family and friends while you’re studying abroad in a different time zone presents a few extra challenges. You’ll either wake up to messages from well-meaning family members or risk disturbing their sleep. One strategy to internalize the time difference is to keep one of your electronic devices, such as a laptop or tablet, on your home city’s time zone until you adjust. If you find that too confusing, try getting in the habit of checking world time zones on your mobile’s clock. This will be useful in the future as you stay in touch with your other friends studying abroad from around the world. Usually, weekends are the most convenient time for people in different time zones.
3. Drop them postcards from your location
We know, snail mail seems so last century. But, don’t you get a little excited when you get a hand-written note from someone you miss? It feels extra-special and postcards are an opportunity to share a little memento of your experiences. Sharing experiences and lit-up moments with those back home will help you stay in touch with family and friends while you're studying abroad.
Postcards from national parks, museums, and old towns and cities with a few lines from you about a funny experience or little discovery will make your loved ones feel like they’re exploring with you. The postcards you send from your host country with details of your study abroad experiences to your family can be a great, warm way of keeping in touch with your family, letting them know how much you love and miss them when you study abroad.
4. Keep a study abroad blog to share your experience with people from home
You will always gain some valuable experiences from studying abroad. Your family and friends back home will be your travel blog’s most dedicated readers as they watch you explore a new country, make lifelong friends, and maybe live a bit vicariously through all of the delicious foods and exotic scenery. Many students start travel blogs while they study abroad but few keep them through the entirety of their studies as they quickly become too busy to update their blogs. Getting grandma to sign up for Facebook, and dad to make an Instagram account can be a great way of making sure everyone’s included even when you’re short on time.
5. Don’t forget to schedule plans back home while studying abroad
It’s easy (and healthy) to have such a great time studying abroad that you forget to make plans with your loved ones back home. If you’re studying abroad for an extended period, you can make plans to visit home, invite your friends and family to your new country for a visit, or discover a new country together. While studying, it's normal to miss people back home, and having a plan in place is an excellent way to keep in touch with family and friends and stop feeling homesick abroad. As you near the end of a semester, year, or longer, remember to plan homecoming celebrations with your nearest and dearest to catch up.