How to Stay in Touch with International Friends You Made Abroad
In the increasingly modern and globalized world we live in, it’s hard to believe that people still loose touch with each other. But it happens, especially when we don’t take an active part in maintaining a relationship. Anyone who has studied abroad can tell you that you meet some of the most fascinating and exciting people. You’re all scared and feeling a bit lonely on the first day, which makes for fast and enthusiastic friendships. So how can you be sure that these wonderful new people who have come so suddenly into your life won’t disappear when you head back to your home country?
This Friday is International Friendship Day, so we thought we would put together a few tips on how to maintain the international friendships you made during your time at Kaplan, whether they were classmates or locals you met while exploring the city. You’ve got all these new amazing friends, so how do you keep them in your life?
1. Don’t lose contact!
With so many different channels to choose from, you have plenty of ways to communicate with your new friends. Just because your phone numbers don’t have the same country code anymore, doesn’t mean it is impossible to stay in touch.
Social Media – Whether it’s through Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat, or personal blogs, it’s almost impossible these days to not know what your friends are up to. Stay involved in their lives and comment on big events so they know you are still invested in the intricate moments of their day-to-day experiences. Message them every now and then to check in and see how they are adjusting to their life back home. Chances are, they are having the same nostalgia about their travels as you are.
Write a letter – What about doing things the old fashioned way? Start up a pen pal relationship! You’ll get excited every time you get a new letter in the mail, and there is something extremely personal and meaningful about sitting down and handwriting out a special letter just for your friend. Or if you prefer, emails work just as well. This way you can tell them about a bunch of different things at once rather than sending a short message every time something happens that is worth talking about. The anticipation will make any news even more worthwhile!
Face-to-Face – The hardest part about setting up a conversation with a friend from abroad is the time difference. But with platforms like Skype and FaceTime, you can plan ahead for the perfect time to chat with your friends and even get to do it face-to-face. Watch as they laugh at one of your funny stories or see the look of surprise on their face when you tell them about sudden news. It will feel just like old times.
These are also fantastic ways to practice your new English! Having conversations with a friend from your English program allows you to brush up on the skills and techniques you learned while you were abroad. The more you Skype and converse in English, the stronger your English will be.
2. Plan a meet-up adventure in the future
Why should your travel adventures end after study abroad? During your studies, you probably explored a bit of your new country with your friends. So now you know if your friend is a good travel buddy. Pick a location somewhere in the middle of your cities and save up for a reunion trip. Or, visit each other in your home countries. Having your international friends in your hometown will allow you to introduce them to your family, friends, and culture. And vice versa! This way, they can have a more intimate understanding of your life, and you can experience the same when you go to visit them.
3. Return to Kaplan
Why not study abroad again? With our Flexible English courses and Vacation English, you and your new friends can meet up in a different destination and spend a few more weeks improving your English. You will be strengthening a valuable language skill while reuniting with your friends from your previous course. This will also provide the opportunity to extend your international family while exploring a new and exciting corner of the world. As an adventurous person who already took the first step to an exciting life abroad, the second time around will be easier, and you’ll find even more interesting and worthwhile friends.
If you were studying in one of our schools located in a student town like Berkeley, Oxford, Cambridge, or Boston Harvard Square, it’s easy to go back and see your local friends, as these cities are focused around the universities. Or maybe you should consider going to one of these schools to meet new natives and extend your international family even further.
At the end of the day, the most important aspect of maintaining an international friendship is ensuring that you are consistently active and aware of their lives, even if you are not on the same continent anymore.
How did you stay in touch with the friends you made at Kaplan? Let us know in the comment section below! Share some of your stories and inspire other students to keep up their new friendships.