Published on October 23, 2015

10 tips for keeping in touch with friends back home

Keeping in touch with friends and family back home and staying "in the loop" is a very real challenge. It's worth the effort though, especially since there are so many amazing tools at our fingertips that can help us stay connected. The internet has transformed how we interact with each other, making it easier to keep tabs on what people (with internet access) are doing around the world.


keep in touch


1. Voice messaging

Easier and more off-the-cuff than writing a long message, voice messages are a great way to stay in your friend’s lives while being far away. You can listen to the recorded voice message while driving, standing in line at the store, taking a run, drinking your morning coffee and then respond at your own convenience. The stream-of-consciousness kind of rants and comments you get from your closest friends can maintain that emotional intimacy that you can usually only achieve by being in the same city.


2. Sending postcards

Snail mail is a bit old-fashioned but the personal touch of sending someone a handwritten note on a postcard can be very meaningful. Meanwhile, the postcard may end up on someone’s fridge for months. That’s a lasting impression made possible by one little stamp.


keep in touch


3. Pics and vids

We are living in 2015 you guys. Videos and photos are replacing notes and words and make it easier to understand what your friends are up to even if they are thousands of miles away. Snapchats, Vines, Facebook photos and sending multimedia messages on Whatsapp all will help keep your friends feel a little bit closer.


4. Skype dates

Setting up a Skype date takes some coordination, but it’s completely worth it. A solid Skype date allows you to have a meaningful face-to-face conversation with someone through the video calling service. You could even try to “do dinner” with a friend, if you bring your computer to the dinner table.


5. Instagram

Yeah it’s just someone’s Instalife but following your friends from home on Instagram can be a fun way to keep in touch – particularly for keeping tabs on people you aren’t super close with but still are curious about. Also tagging your friends in your favorite Instagram posts is an entertaining way to share jokes with your peeps no matter where they are.


6. Following your local newspaper

Want to stay “in the know” about what’s happening back home. Follow your favorite local news outlets on Facebook and Twitter so you can keep your finger on the pulse of your community. Staying aware of the issues affecting people back home will also help you relate with your friends who still live there.


keep in touch


7. Email

It may feel old-fashioned but often an email is the best way to go, especially for your friends over 30 who may not be very social media savvy. A well-written email, which deep down is just a letter, is a great way to really update someone about what’s happening in your life and how you feel about it.


8. Watch your favorite entertainers online

Staying “in the loop” will help you feel more connected to the zeitgeist back home. Subscribe to the YouTube channels of your favorite entertainers and stay tuned to catch a little of what’s going on in the entertainment world back home. So much of what’s on TV can be accessed online these days, you can leave the country and still enjoy many of your favorite entertainers.


9. Start a discussion

Sometimes only giving updates on your life can make conversations with friends back home more labor intensive and less exciting. That’s why a lot of people abroad will start little group discussions or one-on-one conversation topics to get their friends back home engaged in a lively conversation. Sending an article on Facebook and then asking some follow-up questions, for example, is a great way to see what your friends think and get everyone on the same wavelength.


10. Stalk your friends

Some good-old-fashioned stalking is sometimes necessary in order to figure out what’s up with your friends. With Facebook and other social media platforms we all have at least part of our lives online. If you want to get a taste of what someone else is up to, you can do so with a simple search.



Photo 1. based on Two-way communication, by Jacob Bøtter, CC-by-2.0

Photo 2. based on Postcards, by Stefano Montagner, CC-by-2.0

Photo 3. based on Lascia stare l'email e usa il telefono., by, CC-by-2.0

The author
Elizabeth Trovall
After short stints in Argentina and Belize, Elizabeth is finishing up her third year in Santiago, Chile. Elizabeth writes about international internships, life abroad and professional development for The Intern Group. She also reports on politics, business and culture in Latin America for public radio and print media. An Austin, Texas native, Elizabeth first left home to earn her journalism degree from the Reynolds Institute of Journalism at the University of Missouri. Besides her friends and family, she misses live music and Mexican food the most.

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