Deciding to leave your old life behind and head overseas to teach English is a big move to make and one that can come with a few issues. One that many people encounter is how to stay in regular contact with friends and family. However old and independent you might be, the people you leave behind are likely to have some concerns and it certainly helps them and yourself if you are able to keep everyone informed of your experiences.
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While it is easy to make excuses and pass the buck, it ultimately is down to you to maintain relationships while you are teaching English abroad. The people you leave behind will have little understanding of the time difference, or your new work schedule, which means it is up to you to find the best time to make a phone or webcam call and to make the necessary arrangements. Just remember that people might be reluctant to call you as they will assume you are busy and they donât want to interrupt your work etc. Even a quick text message can be enough to keep everyone happy if you cannot always find a good time to have a chat.
In the modern age social media has made it much easier to maintain contact with friends and family. Apps such as Facebook and Instagram are great for sharing your experiences and making it easier for those back home to relate to your everyday life and unique experiences. Posting photos and short messages takes little time out of your daily routine, yet they can be invaluable to those who care about how you are getting on. Although social media can be a great way of letting people know about your new life and career, donât forget that hearing your voice is also important to some people when you are away from home for an extended period of time.
Starting a blog can be a very useful way to keep people up to date on your adventures overseas. One real advantage of this is it means you only have to tell a story once and everyone will be able to read about it, rather than having to relay the same story over the phone with each person you talk to. Maintaining a blog can be a little time consuming; however, it will provide a great way of sharing your experiences and ensure you have a detailed record of your teaching adventure for the future. It might also prove useful on your CV/resume when applying for jobs at home or abroad.
One of the best ways of maintaining close contact with home is to ensure your friends and family feel like they are a part of your adventure. A good way to do this is to explain in detail what your daily routine entails, maybe via your blog or a group email. By understanding what you actually do at work, what you have taught that day, what you ate for lunch, and where you hang out in the evenings, everyone will feel closer to your experience. After a while your new routine will become normal to you, but to people back home the cultural differences and everyday oddities that you find can be as fascinating as they where to you when you first arrived. You can even send home a few packages of interesting souvenirs, such as a local newspaper or a menu from your favourite restaurant.