Your dream is now a reality – you’ve moved to another country to further your education, find new opportunities or to seek new adventures.
Moving to a new country, whilst exciting, can also be challenging when there’s a new culture to experience. Finding your way around a new environment may also be a bit of a challenge, and you may be coping with homesickness too.
However, after settling down abroad, another challenge could be struggling to remember to keep in touch with those at home. This can, in the long run, lead to reverse culture shock, a situation where one returns home and feels disconnected from his or her own culture after being away for an extended time.
Fortunately, whether you are struggling with adjusting to a new culture as a newbie abroad and battling reverse culture shock as someone who has been way for too long, both contrasting conditions share the same remedy; staying in touch with family and friends.
By keeping in touch steadfastly with people back home, you find that by the time you return home, you are less likely to feel that everyone else has moved on or left their relationships with you in the past. If you just moved staying in touch keeps a feeling of familiarity with you even when everyone around looks strange.
The silver lining is that it has never been easier to keep in touch, whether you are in the UK or in Zimbabwe. Here are some effective ways to stay in touch with your loved ones while away:
Social media: The world isn’t short of social networking sites today. Whether you choose to go with Instagram, Twitter, Facebook or Snapchat, your new experiences can be shared in a matter of seconds with loved ones back home by either text or pictures. Some of these apps like Facebook (Facebook messenger), WhatsApp and Viber offer a call feature which you can use to make calls with only internet connection. Others like Skype and Facetime give you the option of making video calls as well. Having these apps at your disposal would not be effective if you don’t use them constructively and this leads to the next point.
Have a communication schedule: There’s no point of having all the apps on your phone if you aren’t effectively using them. It is easy to become busy and have two days turn into two weeks – before you know it two months have passed and everyone is upset you haven’t contacted them.
If you stick to a communication schedule you can tackle the issues that come with time differences, voicemails, and missed calls. Schedule a call that works with both time zones on a day that is usually favorable for both of you. Seek a quiet space to connect and give full attention, as partial attention can feel hurtful on the other end.
Try not to keep the conversation one-sided: while everyone wants to hear about your new life experiences, they may begin to feel left out if the conversation is centered only on you. Ask them about their day and recent events. Follow up with previous discussions to show you were listening and ask them to send photos of what’s happening back at home.
If you miss each other’s call, send an immediate message apologizing and offer concrete times to reschedule.
Take your roots wherever you go:
Leaving home does not mean becoming unconcerned with the happenings in your homeland. Be aware of the trends back home. Stay connected culturally, socially, and financially. One way to stay abreast through the latter is by The Non Resident Nigerian (NRN) Services which provides Nigerians living abroad with access to a wide range of products and services; some of which include Savings and Current accounts, Investment in Money Market instruments and e-Banking services. This premium service offers Nigerians in Diaspora the opportunity to open and operate a Nigerian bank account from anywhere in the world. This helps you stay financially in touch with your family when they need your assistance.
In summary, always remember that staying in touch is important while you are living abroad. Your loved ones are excited for you and want to know what you are up to and your new experiences. Whenever you go quiet on them, they worry a lot and think about the things that could happen to you, so communicate more often and let them sleep better knowing you are doing fine.