How to stay in contact with friends & family whilst abroad

It’s happening! You got your dream graduate job or graduate internship in the UK and are looking forward to adventures and new experiences far from home. However, while it’s great to leave home and explore new places, it also means that you won’t see your friends and family for a while.

Will your pets forget who you are while you are gone? No matter how your experience will be, you might feel homesick every now and then. To better deal with such moments, it helps to stay in touch with your friends and family. If you can’t meet up with them easily, you might have to think about other ways of keeping in touch. We will give you some tips based on personal experience that might inspire you.

One really easy way you might already be using to chat with your friends are messengers. WhatsApp, Facebook, Telegram, … there are plenty of options available with different features and degrees of security. You can use plenty of emoticons to express your feelings about your UK adventure and send your friends pictures of your new room. Another option are voice messages which allow you to record a little monologue with all the little high- and low-lights of the day. It might be weird at first but is less commitment than a phone call and a convenient way to share a lot of information quickly (if you can structure your thoughts  ). Your friends and family will probably enjoy hearing your voice and you theirs. Another positive feature is that there is no need to be available at the same time – which is great, especially if you are both very busy or in different time zones.

However, voice messages can be a bit unsatisfying. Sometimes you just want to talk to someone, and they should be able to respond immediately. In such situations, a call is a good idea. You can arrange calls with your friends in advance. Maybe it can develop into a tradition to always call each other around the 7th of the month or each Thursday. If you are less organised, why not try to surprise your friends and family with a call. They will be delighted to hear from you. If they don’t have time at that moment, you can still agree on another time to have a chat with them. Calling is still not enough? Most of messenger apps will allow you to add a video to the call. This way you can show your loved ones your flat and they might show you their latest culinary creations.

If you love seeing people, then why not use a picture-based method to stay in touch? You can share your latest 2nd hand treasures, lunch and favourite place on Facebook, Instagram or Snapchat. Use the Status option also on WhatsApp for pictures you would like to share with most people you know. If you rather send some private photos, than Snapchat can be a great option.

Additional to these ‘conventional’ ways to keep in touch, you might want to try something else. Why not write an email to your grandparents about your adventures – or your friends? Another nice way to stay in touch is to write postcards or letters to your loved ones. Everybody loves to have something in the Mailbox (that isn’t spam or a bill!) Even if you only manage to write a few lines that will already be much appreciated. If that isn’t enough and you want to help a friend going through a tough time, send them a parcel with your favourite foreign sweets and teas. However, these are all just substitutes for actually seeing each other. Your friends or family can, of course, also visit. This will strengthen your bond and give you plenty of time to chat and exchange experiences.

Now you hopefully have some idea on how to stay in touch whilst doing your internship abroad. Feel free to mix and match and find what suits you and your friendships best. Just be aware that staying in touch with your loved ones at home shouldn’t keep you from building a life abroad. One good way to avoid homesickness is to try to make the most of the experience you are having. Embrace the new life you’re living and find new friends – additional to the old ones.

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