Questions/Comments?Contact Us

« Previous What is TEFL? | Main | The Destination Series: Teaching English in Morocco Next »

5 Ways to Stay Genuinely in Touch While Teaching Abroad


TEFL allows you to teach abroad
Teach Abroad friends hiking in Chile

How to get better at staying in touch while Teaching Abroad, in a genuine way

My mom still talks about her study abroad semester at Edinburgh. She lived out of her backpack traveling on train around Europe— she didn’t have a cell phone to post photos on Instagram, check in on Facebook, or send emails home. Things have changed. Now, even when we go on an adventure abroad, we are able to document every moment, and staying in touch is easier than ever before.

Or is it? In this hyper-connected age, it can be difficult to stay genuinely in touch with friends and family, rather than assuming they will see my Instagram photo or Facebook post. It might take a little extra effort, but it’s worth it to make sure you don’t lose touch while having a blast abroad. Using even one of these tips will help your loved ones experience your joy from afar, and feel like they’re right there with you.

Don’t assume your friends and family are seeing everything you post on social media.

As connected as we are, it’s also normal to miss a day or a week of posts and updates. Don’t take offense when you don’t get a like or a comment- take it as an opportunity to genuinely connect.

Choose your communication tool, and make sure everyone knows.

Whether it’s Google hangout, Skype, Whatsapp, Facebook Messenger, or iMessage-- choose your tool, and tell friends and family BEFORE you go abroad so they can download the app.

Use video.

Most people I meet have an aversion to using webcams, and to be honest, I have an aversion to it too. But when it comes down to it, we all have to get over it and just connect, face to face.

Make it a fun “date”

While living abroad I stayed connected with my girlfriends over virtual wine time, in our separate corners of the world, we poured ourselves a glass of wine and connected by video. It felt celebratory and so US. Figure out what your thing is with the person you’re connecting with--coffee, tea, cheese fondue, fried chicken, funny hats—choose it, and follow through.

Don’t be flakey.

 Staying in touch is hard. I’ve make it my New Years resolution every year, and somehow I still always fall short of where I want to be with my far-away friends. You know what really kills staying in touch? Flakiness. We are all guilty of it: something better comes up, you’re tired, you just plain don’t feel like sitting in front of webcam having a catch-up conversation. I hear ya. But don’t flake on your dates. Don’t cancel. If you’re not feeling it, send an email to warn your friend or family in an honest way that you might not be up for a long conversation. You don’t need to give them the full run-down, what you do need to do is be there for them, on time, on video, listening closely.