Expat's Manual

Relocating to a new country doesn't mean that you have to lose contact with your friends and family at home and keeping in touch with the people back home is extremely important. Today's technology offerings mean that it is easier than ever to communicate quickly and easily over vast distances and there are multiple ways in which you can contact the people you love and keep them up to date with events in your new life abroad.


Telephone

As soon as you relocate you will more than likely arrange for both a mobile phone and a landline phone. These offer an obvious method of keeping in touch, although they may not necessarily offer the cheapest options. One method by which the cost of calls can be kept to a minimum is through the use of international phone cards. Some international mobile and landline phone companies also offer International Direct Dialing (IDD) packages whereby monthly fees are paid in exchange for a predetermined amount of international call minutes. Further details of availability of these can be found in each Expat Info Desk relocation guide.


Voice over internet calls

One of the least expensive means by which you can keep in touch is via voice over internet service providers. Such providers offer you an opportunity to speak with people via the internet, often free of charge, and provide excellent sound quality. Many of them offer video conference calling whereby users are able to see their friends and family as well as speak to them. You need to buy a headset and a webcam to get full use of this service. There are a large number of providers available, some of which are detailed below.


Write Email Letters

If you have a computer or access to one with an Internet connection, you can easily keep in touch with anyone via emails. It is quick and easy to send spontaneous messages to friends and family and many people create group email addresses that allow them to share their news with several people at once. It is a great way of keeping in touch with people who reside in time zones that make it difficult for you to keep regular phone contact.


Send and Receive Messages With Facebook

The most popular online social networking site, Facebook, is increasingly being used for keeping in touch with family and friends and getting back in touch with those you've lost touch with. Once you complete a brief registration process, you can regularly send and receive status updates, photographs and private messages with your friends. For many people Facebook has become something that they check and consult on a daily basis and it allows expats an opportunity to share their news and keep abreast of the lives of their family and friends at the touch of a button.


Blog Your Thoughts to Your Family

Maintaining an online journal of your thoughts and a diary of events is another good way of keeping in touch with your family and close friends. You can choose from the innumerable blog sites online and the best ones also offer an opportunity for you to upload pictures of your experiences so that your friends can share your experiences with first hand.


Send Cards and Letters by Snail Mail.

There are people in this world who still prefer the charm and delight of receiving letters by snail mail rather than by email. Hand written letters are always very welcome and give people a message that you care enough to sit and write a well thought out letter. Choose a weekend each month for letter-writing and send them out immediately. This is a good way of keeping in touch with all those who don't have a computer but still want to hear from you. Receiving a return letter in the post will also brighten your own day.


Chat Online With Your Family And Friends

With technology to communicate easily and inexpensively across the world, you needn't worry about getting in touch with your family. You can take advantage of this by chatting online with your family by signing up either with Yahoo or MSN for an online chat account. Then, set up a conversation in real time with anyone you want to get in touch with in any part of the world.


Send Small Gifts Home for Special Occasions

While it's obvious you can't be present for birthdays and anniversaries of people back home, you certainly can be in their thoughts by sending them small gifts by mail just to show you remember and you care. The recipient will be touched by your gesture and this will help forge a more solid bond between you. Online internet shopping also entails that you can order gifts locally without excess postage costs.


Set Up a Family Website to Keep Them Informed

You can share your experiences, joys and sorrows with your family by setting up a website and putting up photographs, posting news and letters. Useful sites include:

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