Will I lose touch with family and friends while teaching English abroad?

Making the decision to leave your home country to teach English can be a big move for many people and it inevitably brings some concerns along with it. One of the most common issues that can cause some degree of worry is the fear of losing close contact with friends and family. Those you leave behind might also have similar concerns, so it is likely to be good for everyone if you are able to maintain your close relationships while you are enjoying your overseas adventure.

Who should be responsible for maintaining contact while teaching overseas?

Although human nature often leads us to make excuses when it comes to maintaining long distance relationships, it is really down to you as the one hitting the road to make the effort. Those left at home will understandably have little concept of your new work schedule, the time zone changes, and the simple excitement you will probably experience, particularly in the early stages of your trip. Because of this, it is best for you to decide when to make a phone or webcam call. It is often the case that family and friends are reluctant to call without prior arrangement as they don’t want to interrupt you at work or while socialising with your new colleagues. If you do find it difficult to arrange a suitable time to speak to someone, a quick text message can often be enough to keep things ticking over until you find a good time to suit both parties.

How important is social media while teaching English abroad?

There is no doubt that social media has made a huge difference when it comes to maintaining relationships when you are away from home. Posting photos and messages on apps such as Facebook and Instagram is a simple and very effective way of sharing your adventure and they make it easier for those back home to understand your new life and feel part of it. However, despite the obvious advantages of social media, don’t forget that hearing your voice and seeing your face is still going to be important to many of your closest friends and family. Making the effort to call regularly is always likely to be greatly appreciated.

Should I start a blog while teaching English abroad?

Writing a blog is a very popular way for people living overseas to keep everyone back home up to date on their daily lives. One of the obvious benefits of this approach is you only have to make one regular post to ensure everyone knows what you are up to, without having to repeat your adventures multiple times via email, phone or webcam. Although maintaining a blog can take a bit of time, it is well worth the effort for many people as it can also serve as a detailed account of your time overseas for future reference and can even prove useful when applying for jobs at a later date.

What else can I do to maintain contact with home while teaching English abroad?

One tried and tested method for maintaining close contact with loved ones back home is to do what you can to make them feel like they are sharing your adventure. To aid this process you should make sure they are fully aware of what your daily routine is actually like, perhaps by way of a blog or a regular group email. If people have a clear picture of what your work day actually consists of, who your students are, what you eat for lunch, what you do to relax in the evenings etc, they are likely to feel a great deal more connected to you and your overseas experience. It is inevitable that your new life will become normal to you after a certain period of adjustment, however, those left at home will always find the cultural differences and everyday oddities that are commonplace to be as fascinating as you probably found them in the beginning. Sending a small package home every once in a while containing interesting souvenirs is often a real winner. Local newspapers, a menu from your favourite restaurant, and unique food items can all be fun things to include in your package.