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Staying in touch on your year abroad

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Being away from your family and friends can be really tough when you’re on your year abroad, but it is also a great opportunity to really find out about yourself. Breaking out of your comfort zone however makes it very easy to feel homesick.

But homesickness doesn’t have to ruin your trip, it will pass and can offer you an opportunity for personal growth. The easiest way to alleviate homesickness is by staying in contact with everyone from home and here is some great advice for keeping in contact:

Skype This was a godsend during my year abroad. It is free and instant and allows you to see whom you’re talking to. It's always reassuring to see a familiar face, and also it offers you the chance to show people around your cool new home!

Skype minutes – International calls can be expensive but an alternative is ‘Skype minutes’. For around £5 a month you can get unlimited calls to UK landlines – amazing! Hearing the voice of someone familiar can be really comforting.

Email your friends – It can be as short or as long as you want, but it’s a great way of keeping in contact with your friends especially if you have a time difference that makes calling a bit awkward. 

Write a letter – Why not send a handwritten letter (or postcard) now and again? There’s something special about receiving physical post that an email just can’t replicate. It's not too expensive unless you do it constantly and it’s a lot more personal than a Facebook message. However posting parcels is very expensive so make sure to check the postage rates before you buy/send something.

Send photos – For those people not on Facebook and therefore blissfully unaware all the amazing photos you’re uploading, it's nice to send a photo of yourself so they can see how you’re getting on. It doesn’t have to be a physical photo - even an email attachment is nice to receive.

Don’t forget birthdays and Christmas - It lets your friends and family know you haven’t forgotten about them, especially if you send a little gift. Postage from your country may be expensive but there’s always Moonpig and Amazon

Visit friends or have them visit - The most expensive option but possibly the most fun and rewarding. There’s nothing like having free accommodation and a free tour guide in the shape of a friend in a foreign country - and it's impossible to mail a hug to a friend when you're feeling down. 

It’s important to remember that even if you don’t hear back from friends and family straightaway, don’t be disheartened - you can always send them another quick message to remind them to reply. Also, there's no harm in ringing home, it's not just for your benefit but your parents’ too.

Most importantly though, have a great time!




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