If you have just moved abroad, your first Christmas can be challenging because it reminds you of the festive memories made at home. This guide will give you some tips and ideas to stay connected and feel settled in your new surroundings.
Using Skype, Zoom and WhatsApp Videos
When you move abroad, one of the biggest worries is that you will miss your family and friends. When living abroad you cannot pop in to see them, have a catch up and feel better. Luckily, thanks to modern technology such as video calling, we can have a close alternative to seeing loved ones in person.
Video calls have become especially useful during lockdown and has improved ways of life for the long term. There are dozens of messaging apps that allow us to stay connected. The coronavirus pandemic has sped up the pace of change in digital technology and they are more user-friendly now. They are a great way for expats to stay connected, whether it be with colleagues, family, or friends.
The quality of video calls has improved, and some now include added features such as fun filters, screen sharing and live subtitles. Live subtitles are especially helpful for when your Wi-Fi is not quite up to scratch abroad, or you need some support out and about.
The most popular messaging apps for video calls include Zoom, Skype, and WhatsApp, but you can also video call on Instagram and Facebook if you see a friend’s new post and it prods you to get in contact with them.
At Christmas, video apps are especially handy to see family and friends open any gifts you have sent them overseas. It is comforting and wholesome to see their true reaction and facial expressions, rather than receive a written message.
At the same time, communication with loved ones whilst living abroad can make you miss them more. Therefore, whilst it is good to stay in contact, you should also focus on the wonderful surroundings you have moved to, and the positives of this change. For example, there are endless new places, people and feelings to come across when moving abroad that you would not experience at home.
Celebrating with other expats
To make you feel at home and forget about how far away you are, it can be very beneficial to find likeminded expats to befriend. Why not celebrate your achievements and bravery for exploring outside of your comfort zone.
If you are staying in a hostel on your travels it is likely that there are other people looking for likeminded expats to spend with too. Although new places and people can be nerve-wracking, bonding with others can give you a lot of peace of mind and help you feel settled into the new surroundings.
Who knows? Maybe the people you meet will turn out to be lifelong friends and this can improve your happiness in the long term. You could use messaging apps like the ones above to stay in contact and continue to get new ideas for travelling from them.
Get involved with local culture and celebrations
The expats and friends you make whilst living abroad are likely in need of some company to explore with too. Whilst it can be pleasant to spend some me time, exploration is often better with others. You will be surprised at how much more you can learn from others and their unique way of thinking and looking at their surroundings.
Although your family’s traditions feel far away, exploring local Christmas traditions will provide some familiarity and bring cheer to a potentially stressful and unsettling time. For this reason, Christmas is an appealing time to explore the world. Locals will have Christmas spirit and are likely to be more interested in socialising with different people.
Request foods from home or find them locally
Another comforting way to feel at home whilst living abroad on your own is enjoying familiar foods or local variations of your favourite meal from your departed country. Find out what the favourite foods are around you and give them a try. Food is one of the defining themes of any culture but you may find there are some similarities that intrigue you and allow you to bond with local people in ways you did not expect.
Get your thoughts, feelings and lessons learnt out to the world
Why not start a blog about the people, places and foods you discover whilst living abroad? Not only can this help you to reflect on the experiences you have gained, but perhaps another expat will come across your blog and it will help them to. Topics you could cover include your favourite restaurant, cafes, beaches or things to do at home/ your accommodation to remind you of home personally.
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