Regardless of if it’s just for a semester or for several years, it can be hard being away from loved ones while studying abroad. Just because you happen to be in a different part of the world than your family and friends, however, doesn’t mean you are ever truly alone. By making the effort to stay in contact with your family and friends while you are away, you can still feel connected to the people you care about, while enjoying the benefits from having the support of those who care about you.

Now, because keeping in touch with loved ones while studying abroad isn’t always the easiest thing to do, certain actions should be taken before leaving to ease communication efforts while you are away. By taking such actions, you can eliminate many common communication obstacles faced by students who study abroad.

One common obstacle that can hinder communication efforts is a lack of Internet connectivity. Before leaving, determine whether Internet access will be available at your residence and if not, consider purchasing a portable Wi-Fi hotspot device to aide in online communications. Having access to the Internet will allow you to easily connect with loved ones through email or on social media sites like Facebook and Twitter. Students’ well-being and comfort are priorities for Cape Studies, for that reason, among our facilities, we provides 24 hour Wi-Fi.

For times when Internet communications won’t be an option, you’ll need to find alternative ways to keep in touch like over the phone or through the postal service with letters or postcards. If you plan to keep in touch with loved ones over the phone, keep in mind that without a decent contract, your phone bills could get out of hand. Before leaving, consider mitigating costs by purchasing an international roaming package from your cell phone provider or some international calling cards.

No matter how you’ll be communicating, whether it be through email, over the phone, or through the postal service, remember to bring the corresponding email addresses, phone numbers, or mailing addresses for the people you plan to contact while you’re away. If you’ll be communicating through programs like Skype or FaceTime, consider setting everyone up with the required software before you go – especially people who aren’t tech savvy.

Because it can be hard to schedule real-time conversations when conversing across time zones, consult with your family and friends about scheduling daily or weekly check-ins at agreed-upon times. If the time differences are too extreme and you are unable to find a time that works for all parties, consider exchanging voice or video messages, as they can always be played later, when it’s more convenient.

Also, it’s worth noting that because everyone’s going to want to hear all about your adventures, you’ll likely be repeating yourself many times. To limit the number of times you’ll have to tell the same stories to your family and friends, consider sharing some of your experiences on a personal blog or through social media sites like Facebook or Twitter. Google Hangouts can also be useful in this regard, as it lets you communicate with several people at once, cutting down on the number of times you’ll need to repeat yourself.

Though keeping in touch with loved ones isn’t the easiest thing to do while studying abroad, there are thankfully several communication methods you can try which could potentially connect you with your family and friends back home. Regardless of which methods you end up choosing, however, remember to make the necessary preparations beforehand, so you’ll have an easier time communicating with loved ones until such time you can return home.

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