The basics
Study abroad : Once you arrive

4 ways to keep in touch with your family and friends while studying abroad

Now that you’re finally at your study abroad destination, we tell you how you can keep in touch with your loved ones back home.

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Finally got a place in your preferred university? Both excited and nervous now that you’ve unpacked and sitting in your new room in a strange country? That’s perfectly normal, while it is important for you not to stay cooped up in your room throughout the course of your degree and to branch out to gain new experiences and meet new friends, it is equally important for you to keep in touch with your friends and family.

We’ve come up with four ways that you can do so. Read on to find out…

 

Add in a monthly reminder on your phone or email account to contact people back home

You’re probably familiar with keying in your friends or family members’ birthdays into your calendar so you won’t forget to wish them. This works in a similar vein. Course work might get heavy and you might lose track of time if you’re crunching numbers for your assignment or catching up on the required readings for a lecture tomorrow. 

Set the reminder on a weekend, so that you will have more time to sit back and talk to them on the phone or on your computer.

 

Make full use of those apps

Modern technology has eliminated the pesky problem of distance so that you can message someone halfway around the globe almost instantly. Here are some apps that you can use when connected to Wi-Fi:

Google hangouts

This works for both Android and iPhones and you can also make calls at very low rates.

WhatsApp

WhatsApp works in the same way that google hangouts does, but it’s a more popular option globally.

FaceTime

You can do video calls using this app.

Skype

One of the first apps to host audio and video calls for free, it’s also one of the most reliable.

As with all of these apps, your family and friends will need to have them installed on their computers or hand phones for it to work.

 

Have a schedule and stick to it!

This is related to the first point. Sometimes setting monthly reminders might not be enough. You will need to factor in the time differences and the availability of both parties. There will be a teething period as you get used to your new life abroad and the course work, but you’ll both find a date and time that’s comfortable and best for both parties. It’s best if you can contact them while you’re at home alone or in your own room, free of distractions. Since you both only have a limited time to interact and catch up, it’s important that you make the most of it by eliminating any distractions.

Having said that, sometimes things DO happen that will derail your conversation or result in you or the other party to end it prematurely. That’s alright, just re-schedule and ensure that both of you work to keep that new date and timeslot free.

Another point to note is to ensure that you don’t get overly excited and end up rambling about all of the things that you have done without asking after the other party. A conversation is a two way street, be sure to ask how their week/day/month has been and if there’s been any developments on their front.

 

Try new things and stay positive

It might be hard to kick that horrid homesickness feeling, especially if you’ve just arrived and don’t know anyone there. Remember that you need go out and socialise, join the student clubs, associations and take up a part-time job if your schedule allows for one. So step out of that house and your comfort zone and start creating making new friends! Getting to know more people is the first step in gaining new experiences. These friends can help point out all the new and interesting things that you should try and who knows, you might even enjoy it!

Creating your own experiences and stories that you can share with those back home will make your conversations a lot of positive and fun.

We hope that these four tips have helped you stay in touch AND get the most out of your study abroad experience.

 

Want to study abroad? Check out the courses available here!

 

Useful links

Six countries to study abroad

Five popular cities to study finance

Study the English language in London

How to choose your study destination

 

Photo credits: visualhunt, Abigail keenan, Miki Czetti and Aseba

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