For many teachers, a big consideration when heading overseas to teach for any length of time is how far they will be from their friends and family back home. We understand that it’s easy to feel divided when the people that used to make your day-to-day more fun and familiar are half a world away, but we’ve compiled some tips from current and past international teachers to help mitigate how much you miss your loved ones while teaching in another country.
Maintaining good, healthy relationships with the people that you love back home will, in large part, dictate how successful your overseas move is. If you feel lonely and distant, it will be difficult for you to want to connect with locals and other expats in your new country. So use these tips to keep current with your family and friends!
Be patient with yourself as you adjust to your new life teaching overseas.
It will take some time for you to get into a good rhythm of regular communication with loved ones back home. There’s a lot to consider: time zones, work schedules, and making enough time to get out and experience some local culture too. Let your family and friends know back home that for the first little while, you’ll be adjusting to a reasonable schedule and sorting out a regular communication schedule will take some work. You’ll eventually get into a rhythm that suits you.
Schedule time to see each other’s faces.
Exchanging emails and providing your loved ones with the URL to your blog are both great things, but they shouldn’t replace the important face-to-face time that is very possible now thanks to Skype, FaceTime, Google hangouts, and Facebook video chats. Even the good old-fashioned telephone is better! Just remember that actual human connection is really valuable and taking the time to hear the other’s voice will go a long way.
Understand that you’ll likely have to do a lot of the heavy lifting.
Your family and friends back home know that you’ve gone to teach abroad for a new adventure. Some will want to give you some space so that you can reach out when you’re available, and others just won’t be good at keeping in touch with distant friends. This means that you’ll have to do much of the reaching out when you’re interested in speaking with your family and friends back home. Don’t let this get to you!
If you can, visit. Or let them visit.
Like we stated above, face time is critical to keeping your relationship strong. Many international teaching contracts will offer you two round-trip tickets over the course of your contract, so make sure you use them! Go back for a visit whenever you can find the time, or invite your friends and family to visit you and experience some of your life. Being able to show them around your new city and introduce them to your new friends is such a great feeling, and it also gives them a little more insight into your day-to-day when you Skype them back home!
Do you have any tips for keeping in touch with family and friends while you’re teaching overseas? Have you received any great advice? If so, share with other teachers in the comments below!