Spending time abroad is one of the best experiences, but when you don’t have all your friends and family around it can be very daunting and quite lonely. It’s so important for both you and your loved ones to keep in contact during these times away. Here are some of the ways you can do that:
Texting and phone calls
Many phone networks have ‘Home from Home’ destinations. This means that in certain countries (particularly in Europe) you can use your phone the same way you would at home for the same price. Usually this includes phone calls, texts and data. But watch out! Although it won’t cost you more to use data (in Europe), many phone companies have a fair usage policy, which says you can only use data for 60 days in a 3-month period. So, try and use WIFI where possible.
If you find a WIFI connection, this means you can also use social media as a tool for communication. Snapchat, Instagram and Facebook all offer ways to message people and update them on your adventures. Many people, particularly on their years abroad, create a specific Instagram account to spam with travel photos. This is a good way to showcase your time without it taking over your personal feed.
In some cases, alongside a Year Abroad Instagram, people write a blog. Blogs work like an online journal and offer an opportunity to share your experiences, whilst not being limited by characters. You can share your blog with friends and family and then they know what you’re up to without you individually messaging each person. And, because they are like a diary, at the end of the year, you can reread your posts and reflect on the times that you had (some of which you may not remember very clearly, but the blog can fill in the gaps!)
The most special way to keep in contact with people at home is through video calls. Whether that’s through Skype, FaceTime or another platform, these calls mean you can have a face to face conversation, from anywhere in the world. This is the closest thing you’ll get to natural human interaction, whilst abroad (unless people come and visit). Also, these resources are free to use, meaning you can spend hours chatting with people back home.
Remember: it’s okay to call home or feel lonely. Travelling and staying abroad for a long time is tough and it is not a sign of weakness to want to contact people back home. They miss you too and would appreciate a conversation as much as you do! We are so lucky to have so many ways to communicate. Make the most of them!