6 ways for expats to stay connected with friends

21 August 2018

Technology and unlimited data plans greatly eased Cloe’s pursuit of a freelance career while helping her stay in constant contact with family and friends. She readily admits that hiking – as well as steaming hot lattes – help to clear her mind! Discover more of Cloe’s articles.

One of the hardest parts of being an expat and moving overseas is leaving behind your friends. But just because you’re in a different part of the world, these relationships don’t have to fade. Thanks to technology such as social media, it’s incredibly easy to connect with people, even if they live across the globe. And that might make all the difference for expats abroad, or when you return home.

Here are 6 ways to stay close with your friends after moving overseas.

1. Schedule regular video call times

There’s no better way to stay connected to your overseas friends than through a video call. With apps like Skype, Google Hangouts and FaceTime readily available, you can make free group calls no matter where you are in the world.

However, even with multitudes of social media platforms at our fingertips, regular communication can fall through the cracks if you don’t prioritize regular call times. Make sure to choose a regular standing day and time that works well for you and your friends in both time zones. You can set a calendar event on your smartphone to remind you of the date.

Whether you talk once a week or once a month, making an effort to speak face to face on camera will help you maintain long-lasting friendships.

2. Create a group chat

Even if you speak with friends on Skype every month, there are always little things that happen every day that you probably wouldn’t mention in those conversations. By creating a group chat, all your closest friends can keep up on a daily basis and ask for advice whenever needed.

Group chats can be extremely fun, can help you maintain a much closer relationship with your friends, and help you avoid losing touch.

3. Send handwritten letters or postcards

There’s something quite special and personal about receiving a handwritten letter or postcard in the mail. It may seem old-fashioned, but your friends will definitely appreciate the personal touch and extra effort you went to in writing it.

You could even choose postcards and stamps that feature photographs of the landscape or local landmarks of your new home country.

4. Start a fun ‘Life Newsletter’

As social media has taken over, many people don’t bother to send personal emails anymore. However, emails are great for going into depth about personal stories and keeping several of your friends in the loop at once.

Try sending group emails to your close friends once a month to keep everyone informed about all your new experiences – and ask them to reply with theirs!

5. Make a blog or vlog

Writing a personal blog is a great way to keep all your loved ones up to date. You can use a blog as an outlet to express your thoughts and feelings, post pictures, and share all the triumphs and challenges of adapting to a new culture.

By providing deep insight into what you’re going through, your friends from across the world will feel much more connected to you. Another option is to create a video blog, otherwise known as a “vlog.” You can use your vlog as an opportunity to document your daily life to friends and family back home.

6. Send a parcel

Small gestures go a long way in maintaining long-distance friendships. If you know your friend is going through a hard time, send them a parcel of items to help them feel better. This could include:

  • old photos of both of you
  • their favorite book or DVD
  • a pack of goodies

Your gifts may not seem like much, but the thought and care you put into sending them go a long way in showing your friends that you love them.

Keep friends and family close as an expat

Remember that embracing living in a new country doesn’t mean you have to leave behind precious friendships from previous chapters in your life.

Take the leap and download that video call app or write that first blog, and soon you’ll enjoy watching your creativity flow into thoughtful conversations that will keep you and friends connected for years to come. It’s not only fun, but it will help you make your expat experience an emotionally enriching experience.

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