When you live overseas, there is no excuse not to keep in touch with family and friends anymore. Just look at all the technology that makes keeping in touch with family overseas so much easier. This hasn’t always been so.
When I first left home I would let my mum know when I would call. I’d book in a set day, a fortnight as international calls were expensive. I’d then go to the phone box at the station and ring mum. I’d get disappointed if she wasn’t there because someone or something else was getting her time. I think I was like many young people when I left home. Happy to be working abroad but also homesick for family and friends. Homesick for the occasions I was missing out on.
In the past keeping in touch with family overseas took a lot of time and planning. Writing letters, sending postcards, phoning and waiting for return calls. Nevertheless the time it took keeping relationships nurtured and healthy was important. It still is important today. Technology is so more advanced that there are multiple ways to stay in contact with family and friends all over the world.
[bctt tweet=”Cherish your human connections, your relationships with friends and family. – Barbara Bush” via=”no”]
Throughout the year special events, like Christmas, Easter, birthdays, anniversaries and deaths, living away from home can be hard. Especially as everyone in the home place you left behind has support and each other you may feel lonely.
I know I did, feel lonely that is and still do something even though it’s over 30 years that I’ve lived away from the small island I called home. The family and childhood connections stay strong. I love my home here in Australia but I love too to be part of my families and friends celebrations, joys and life in general. Sharing event photos, calls or messages in the moment feels like you are there.
The importance of keeping in touch with family overseas
When you move away from home for study, for work, to create a new life of choice, you uproot yourself from a community of family and friends by leaving your support structure. Fortunately, today keeping in touch with your loved ones and with all your friends is easy.
Although keeping in touch with family and friends is so much easier today many people still feel on the outside. They wonder what is happening in the lives of loved ones abroad. Also, they worry, have concerns for the family left behind, for ageing parents, for unwell relatives and friends. Worrying about the family and friends who are having a difficult time and could do with the additional support. Too often you may worry about how you can support when you live so far away. You feel on the outside.
The feeling of belonging diminishes the longer you are away. Yet for personal satisfaction and well-being, social support is important. You feel a sense of belonging when you have social support. You also feel supported, loved, cared and part of the family and community. Communication helps you feel like you are connected still to home. Keeping connected to family and friends and having the ability to share your trials and tribulations may assist with mental wellbeing and less worry, less anxiety and depression.
Time often stops you from communicating home. Time difference between countries and also the lack of time are killers of relationships that stop you from keeping in touch with family overseas. That was until technology made it so much easier for you to share snippets of your life.
Even though I share snippets of my life, I still often think about my family and friends overseas. I know they are busy, just as I am. And of course so much happens in life, we are all busy with evolving lives that to be part of something, an event, a birthday, a celebration when you are not physically there is not something easy to plan. Believe me, I have so often forgotten a birthday, a celebration, an anniversary because I am not part of the build-up to the event or did not know of the occasion.
Living abroad or even travelling overseas for a long period is fun, it is a great experience, yet the longer you are away the harder it is to stay connected to family and friends.
There are so many ways to keep in contact with friends and family abroad.
Staying connected is what Social Media is all about. Therefore a recommendation is to learn the communication tools that help you stay connected. Become tech savvy so you can share your overseas experience with your family and friends. Check too that they are tech savvy and can share with you.
Your family and friends may wish to keep in touch with you in different ways. The best ways to keep in contact with everyone is for you to create a communication schedule. A plan that combines both speaking with your family and friends as wells as sharing messages and photos with them. With so many systems available for keeping you in touch with family overseas, you are sure to find a way that suits you and your family.
Keeping in touch with family and friends overseas is fun and affordable
Naturally, there is the good old-fashioned phone that you can call home with. However, today family and friends love to see you online and be part of you and your families live via free and affordable VoIP services.
What exactly is VoIP? VoIP is Voice over Internet Protocol. It is a way in which multiple technologies are used to communicate over the internet platform rather than on the telephone network. Many countries today use internet broadband services as the main telephone network which is great as it has lowered the cost of keeping in touch.
8 ways to make keeping in touch with family overseas your reality
Telephone – Calling over your internet broadband is one way of keeping in contact with friends and family that is free or cheap.
I remember before we had internet phone calls from home. I used to use a calling card. A calling card was a phone number you could call to have your calls go through another country. The charge was only the cost of a local call for you. This was fantastic when on a budget. It was a great way to keep in touch with family overseas when I first started travelling and also when Carsten and I first moved to Australia to live.
Skype – Skype has got to be one of the most popular VoIP services. Skype is easy to use on the computer or mobile phone and has the option for group chats. Group chats are fun especially when your special group of friends all join in on the call and you can share your thoughts with them all at once. There are no excuses as with Skype as it makes keeping in touch with family and friends overseas so simple.
WhatsApp – On WhatsApp, it is possible to message, send photos, call and video call to individuals or groups. WhatsApp is free via a wi-fi connection which makes keeping in touch with friends and family affordable.
Facetime – Facetime is a simple application to use and great for iPhone and iPad users as it is standard with apple. There is no need to download the application, it is part of the system. With FaceTime, you can make video calls as well as standard audio calls when connected to wi-fi or your cellular network.
Gone are the long waits by the letterbox for the next letter. Today there are many ways to stay connected and share your life.
Keeping in touch with family overseas is more than just phone calls
Other ways to keep in touch with family and friends are;
Instagram – Instagram is the perfect tool to share your photos. For your family and friends to keep in touch with you via Instagram they will need an Instagram account. Before you leave to live aboard encourage some family members and friends to use Instagram. This is so you can keep in touch by sharing a mini photo album of your life in your new home. Instagram is fun when friends and family communicate with you with a like and comment. Your profile on Instagram can be public or private, you get to choose who you share with.
Facebook – Facebook is an awesome app to use to keep in touch with family and friends. It is good to keep your Facebook profile updated and ensure you have your settings set the way you like. The options are to share with friends, friends and friends or the public. When you share with friends you share with the people you have chosen to share your life with, this includes family and friend connections.
A tip would be to add regularly to your feed and interact with your family and friends. Facebook is a social media platform and likes it when you communicate with each other. The best way to do this is like and comment on a photo or message.
I like Facebook and it has so many options to stay connected. You can message directly to a friend, create message groups, create groups including secret groups and also have your own page separate to your facebook profile page. Facebook owns Instagram and you can share your Instagram photos too directly to your facebook profile or page. Follow Lifestyleanytime on Facebook.
Blog – Share your travels and your experiences in a blog. A blog is quick and easy to set up and a fabulous way to keep in touch. The great thing about a blog is you can share a private link. This means you get to share only with the people you wish to. You all have the option to share your adventures worldwide by making your blog public
Blogging is another way to share with family and friends. Blogging can be for a short term while sharing a holiday or long trip. However it can also be a long term blog sharing life, mum tips or any business or hobby interest you have. On this blog, Lifestyle Anytime I share with you, goals, work life balance and life living away from home.
Email – An email is like an online letter. The difference is it is no longer snail mail. The email arrives instantly and is seen by the recipient as soon as they choose to open their emails. Many people write an email letter or an email update. You may have a few family members or friends that are not on social media, however, they have an email. A great way to keep in touch with this group of family and friends is to write an email update or an email newsletter.
Every year at Christmas, Carsten and I enjoy reading the updates from friends who share a year’s worth of news via an email newsletter. They often include photos and say what they have been doing. Naturally, these newsletters can be long, so when you receive one from your friend, make a coffee and enjoy while you participate in your friend’s life by sharing in their life’s adventure.
Share in comments the ways you enjoy keeping in touch with family overseas.
Angie blogs about goals, productivity, blogging and social media marketing, as well as living abroad. She started blogging while learning the skills to start an online business. Her mission is to help others succeed with social media and blogging as well as live a laptop lifestyle while travelling in Australia. Angie often shares tips and tricks while walking the beaches and near the lake on the Central Coast NSW Australia.
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