Although heading overseas to teach English is a great adventure that could well become one of your lifetime highlights, there are a few issues that can cause some concern before you leave home. One common worry is how to stay in contact with your friends and family while you are away. For many teachers, those that they leave behind will have their own concerns about staying in touch, so it can be a big help to all concerned if regular contact is maintained.
Is it up to me to organize contact while teaching overseas?
It is common for those doing the traveling to make excuses or pass the blame, but at the end of the day it is up to you to maintain contact with people that are important to you. Those left behind will often lack understanding about your new life, with things such as the time difference and work schedules getting in the way. With this in mind, it is largely your responsibility to find the best time to make phone calls or to organize online chats as your friends and family might be worried about interrupting your work or social life etc. Don’t forget that a simple text message can also be enough to keep everyone informed if it is hard to organize time for an in-person catch up.
Is social media the best way to stay in touch while teaching English abroad?
It goes without saying that social media has made keeping in contact with friends and family a whole lot easier in recent years. Popular apps such as Facebook and Instagram are a very effective way of sharing your travel and teaching experiences and they can certainly help everyone back home to feel like they are a part of your journey. Uploading photos and messages takes little time out of your day, but can mean a great deal to people who care about your wellbeing. Despite all the advantages of social media, it is also worth remembering that hearing a familiar voice can be a real boost for the teacher and those left at home.
Will writing a blog help me stay in touch with home while teaching abroad?
Creating an online blog is a popular and very effective way to keep everyone up to speed on your overseas teaching adventure. The big advantage of this approach is that you can upload each story online and there is no need to repeat it to every individual you are in contact with. Blogs can take a bit of time to maintain, but they are a great way of sharing your experiences and they provide a record of your trip that you can look back on for years to come. These days having your own blog can also look good on a CV/resume when applying for new jobs.
What else should I do to stay in touch with family and friends?
If maintaining close contact with people back home is important to you the best approach is to do all you can to make them feel a part of the experience. To do so you should make sure everyone is familiar with what your average day looks like by using a blog, email, or photos etc. If people know everyday details of your new life, such as your work routine, the students in your class, the food you eat, and what you do to relax, they are more likely to feel closer to you and your teaching adventure. Sending home occasional souvenirs such as local newspapers or menus from the places you eat can also be of great interest to people at home, even after you have become accustomed to your new way of life.