Just ten years ago, before technological advances and social media, smart phones and the Internet in most homes, people were limited on how easily they could contact their friends and family if they decided to move away from home. Thankfully, today keeping in touch with loved ones at home has never been so easy. This has helped to make moving away from the motherland easier and more appealing to thousands of people. According to theBBC, nearly half a million people booked their international removals and arrived in the UK last year. Furthermore, this trend is becoming more popular with the younger generation, with many international students coming overseas to experience a British student lifestyle. For instance, Touchstone Student Living (who specialise in student accommodation in London) say that over 85% of the students in their halls are international.
So if you’re thinking of joining all the other thousands of people for a lifestyle abroad, but are still worried about keeping your home sickness at bay, here are some ways you can keep in contact with your loved ones back home:
Face Time/ Skype/ Google Hangouts
If you find yourself missing seeing your friends and family faces back home, then Face Time, Skype and Google Hangouts are the next best thing.
When all you want to do is see a friendly face and a voice call doesn’t cut it these are programmes you can install on your computer or smartphone, to video call your loved ones for free. While Face Time is convenient for iPhone and iPod users, it is limited to Apple products but luckily there are other ways you can contact friends and family. Both Skype and Google Hangouts are a fantastic way to stay in touch allowing you to make video and audio calls, exchange chat messages and much more. Skype now has over 299 million connected users. It is easy and free to set up an account and can use it with your smart phone, tablet or computer as long as you have internet access. Google Hangouts is great if you want to have a video call with more than one person and has hilarious options to wear hats and eye patches if you wish.
Whether, it’s Facebook, Twitter, Instagram or Google +, all of these social media platforms are a great way to stay in touch with friends and family whilst you’re away. Never has it been so easy for you to keep up to date with what all your friends and family are up to and make it easy for them to check in on what you’re up to. With instant messaging, photo/video sharing and status updates to name a few of the features that these platforms offer, you’ll have a good idea what’s going on at home.
In the space of just under a year, Snapchat grew from 20m users to a staggering 350m users. If you’re not already aware of what Snapchat is, it’s a photo messaging application where users can take photos, record videos, add text and drawings and send them to their contacts. The aspect that differentiates Snapchat from other photo sharing apps or platforms, is the people receiving the photos or videos can only see it for a few seconds. So, this is a great app, if you want a quick fix of your little sister pulling a funny face at you or your best friend sending you a funny video.
If you haven’t already heard about Whatsapp, it is an app for smartphones which not only allows you to send instant text messages but also images, video and audio messages. If you have a smartphone, you can purchase the app for a very small price and from then on all you need is internet access to send as many free texts/images/videos to your friends and family as you like.
The popularity of the Whatsapp app has rocketed over recent years. Its users now send 16 billion messages per day and users now send 500 million images per day which is more than Snapchat! So if you’re friends aren’t already on board, tell them to get Whatsapp so you can pester them whenever you like without having to pay for international texts.
“But what about my Grandma?! She can’t use technology!” – Even if you have some friends and family that aren’t very tech savvy, where the idea of using a computer or a smart phone scares the living daylights out of them, then calling home is always an option as it no longer has to cost an absolute fortune. For instance, Call Happy, specialise in cheap calls to countries all over the world; including cheap calls to Pakistan. So don’t worry you can even talk to those relatives you thought you wouldn’t be able to whilst you’re away.
You might also be interested in a Top Keynote Speaker for more social media tips and tricks.