Staying in contact with loved ones while you’re away can be a challenge. While I was working with the Peace Corp in Argentina, it was difficult to stay positive and not feel homesick. In the first year, I was absolutely miserable.
Before my second year started, I decided that I needed to stay in touch with my family somehow so I wouldn’t feel so blue and my mother wouldn’t worry about me so much. Luckily, a variety of digital technologies reconnected me with my loved ones, and I was able to have a life-changing experience abroad.
It might not completely cure your homesickness, but technology can provide avenues to stay involved with friends and family even if you’re thousands of miles away.
Writing letters is a great way to stay in touch, but there will be times when you will want to share something that is happening in the moment. In those cases, you should download a free or affordable live chat software system that will allow you and your loved ones chat from anywhere, at anytime. Some programs even have video chat capabilities. If you don’t already have a webcam, Swartz suggests you get one. Even the lower-end webcams, which cost around $30, will do quite nicely. If possible, try scheduling a time when you and your family are available to chat on a daily or weekly basis. Communication is the key to getting through this period of being away.
Facebook to the Rescue
You don’t have to be a web designer to create an online scrapbook that will allow you and your family to share scrap book moments with each other. I created a private Facebook page and made the page’s security settings locked for anyone who wasn’t a close friend or loved one. For the duration that I was gone, my family posted pictures and silly memes on the timeline, and I “Liked” all of it. We were able to keep in touch with each other over thousands of miles through videos, images and heartfelt words of encouragement.
InterNations blog, a global website that a colleague turned me onto, had an article that inspired me to find new hobbies that would help to pass the time, so I took up knitting and crocheting and made a lot of scarves and hats for everyone. Keeping busy and staying positive during times of difficulty will help this period to pass without too much sadness. Before you know it, you’ll be home again, wishing you were thousands of miles away from the craziness that can only come from having such a loving family.
Show You Care Packages
In today’s digital age, sometimes the best way to connect is with a tangible reminder. One of the best ways to keep homesickness at bay is to have things that remind you of home, like a favorite book, a stuffed animal or a framed picture of friends and family. My mother would send me playing cards, peanuts and tea because I loved playing crazy eights with friends and drinking orange pekoe tea.
About the author: Freelance writer Claire Daley loves coming up with creative solutions for the real-world problems faced by her readers.