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 How To Keep In Contact with Your International Friends & Family Around The World

It seems like more and more people are doing study exchanges, moving abroad, and travelling nowadays. This is great! I LOVE people going and seeing the world. In travelling, moving abroad people can make lifetime international friends around the globe.

I LOVE people going and seeing the world

If you’re like me and have friends or even family that live abroad. Then I’m sure you know that it can be hard to keep in contact with all of them. So, I’ve shared some tips on how to stay in touch with your international friends.

I have been doing this for more than six years now so I would say I have done pretty well. Follow these, and you will be absolutely beautiful!

Make Good use of Social Media

I have all my international friends and family on all my socials, this includes Instagram, Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and whatever else there is! Use these tools to your own advantage.

They are relatively easy to use and free (as long as you have internet). It can also be used at any time of the day, month and year. I like to watch my friends and families stories. It sparks up conversation, rather than the long-winded how are you and hi conversations.

Treat WhatsApp Like Your Best Friend

Use WhatsApp to make calls and message of course! Why I like this app is because you can send voice notes, which can make someone feel like they are right next to you. The app is pretty much free as long as you have internet! The time difference might be a significant pain in the neck – so I would suggest making time for your friends or family. Book in a time when you can speak. Or message them they will get it when they wake up.

If you’re like me, you sleep with your phone in your hand (literally) so are always awake to speak to your loved one.

Arrange to meet in a different country

The other two are being pretty obvious things to do, but this is the best tool I can give you. I have been meeting one of my international friends every year since my study exchange in Singapore. That was in 2013. We have met in several countries around the world, which has been amazing to catch up. Read – 8 Things To Know Before Studying Abroad.

Pay them a visit

Me in New York I visited my friend Ivy

Why not head over and pay them a visit? I love having international friends because it means I have several countries to visit and get this – accommodation is free! I recently went to New York and was able to stay with my friend that now lives in Manhattan! I’m also lucky to have family that live in Nigeria and a Dad that lives in the states. Free accommodation!

Send Christmas Cards or Postcards

I only started this last year, and it seemed to work out really well. It can be quite expensive, but if you can send them why not? I live in the UK (London), so I sent Christmas cards that had a London Theme. It’s an excellent small token gift for your loved ones.

Do you have international friends? How do you keep in contact with them?

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The Perfect Tools on How To Apply for a Study Exchange

Are you thinking of applying for a study exchange?

I always say ‘studying abroad is such an amazing opportunity’. You meet people from around the world, embrace a new culture, and possibly even learn a new language. There are so many advantages to studying abroad before you can get to that once in a lifetime experience. I have to be honest and say there is a lot of work to be done. Applying for a study exchange can be daunting, especially if you don’t know where to start.

studying abroad is such an amazing opportunity

I remember the application process being quite long, hard and complicated. However, in all the longness, I still managed to get through the process, and honestly, if I can do it, anyone can.

Assess your degree plan

I didn’t know anything about a study exchange when I started university/college, but when I was told about it, I JUMPED on it like a HULK! If you want to do a study exchange, I would definitely suggest assessing your degree plans. Talk to your tutor/advisor from the minute you start.

You want to be sure that whichever study abroad program you choose has classes that can fit into your degree plan. You don’t want your study exchange to delay your graduation – unless you don’t mind.

Pick the right location for your study exchange

This, in my opinion, is the most essential thing to think about on your study exchange. It can also be one of the hardest decisions you make. I was only given 4 options which where:

  1. Hong Kong
  2. France (had to speak French)
  3. America
  4. Singapore

I originally went with Hong Kong, but changed my mind at the last minute and decided Singapore was the best option. Looking back now, I was grateful I picked Singapore because it was so easy to travel around Asia from. In selecting your location, I would ask myself the following questions:

  • Can you speak the language?
  • Do you enjoy the food?
  • Do you want to travel?
  • How far will you be away from home?
  • Would you be flying back home regularly?

Picking the right type of program

There are many different ways to do a study abroad. I don’t know every single programme and I am pretty sure it’s changed since I did mine. Check out what your university/college has to offer and don’t be afraid to talk to the program advisors! In fact, bug them from the minute you start.

As I said before, I didn’t know about study exchange/abroad programmes, but after speaking to the relevant people, I was confident enough to know what I was doing.

Picking your courses

I’m sorry to say this, but this too can be one of the hardest parts. You want classes that are challenging, yet that you will understand easily. Remember you will be in a new and different country. I picked courses that I felt wouldn’t cause me too much trouble to get into.

Also, check with your university/college on how credits are converted. I was upset when I was told that my grades would be counted as a grade lower than the original grade – for example, an A meant a B for me. This may impact your overall grade, so find out all the small details.

Finally, Apply for that Study Exchange!

If you’ve answered those questions successfully, then you know what you are doing. You may have to get a particular grade to pass for the study exchange, so be sure to study hard!

I hope you find those tools helpful. Have you done a study exchange, or would you ever consider doing one?

Related Posts:

7 Things I Wish I Did Differently for My Study Exchange Abroad

8 Things To Know Before Studying Abroad

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7 Things I Wish I Did Differently for My Study Exchange Abroad

I like many other study exchange students, wasn’t prepared for my study exchange. Back in 2013, I flew out to Singapore for seven months and studied at the National University of Singapore. While I had done a little research on Google I didn’t really know that much about the country. I was flying abroad blindfolded with no plans for what I wanted to do while I was in Asia. I was blessed enough to meet people who pushed me to go on trips.

Sometimes I look back now and have some regrets about things. Things I wish I knew and did before and during my stay.  

Created a list of things to do in Singapore 

I know I mentioned earlier, doing a bit of research on Google, but my research was limited. I had heard that Singapore had a number of laws and was a lot stricter than the UK. This scared me to memorise all the laws. Things like not bringing chewing gum or eating on public transport where things to note. I spent ages going on about the injustice of not being able to have chewing gum that I didn’t make time to think of the things I could do whilst living in Singapore.

Don’t get me wrong. The first month or so I did the Singapore Sling, ate some amazing street food. And when my family came down, I went to the Singapore Zoo. I still wish I did more. I recently went back to Singapore this year and realised how much more of the country I could have explored. Taking the time out to read up on some blogs may have helped me see such a beautiful country.  

Here are a few things I wish I considered before moving to Singapore:

Packed what I needed  

When my airline told me, I was only allowed one suitcase. Nearly grabbed my chest! I was so upset how can I only take one suitcase! I, of course, shipped another suitcase to meet me in Singapore.

At the time it felt like it was needed but in reality, I wish I had thought through what I needed to take. Maybe ask questions like ‘Ade are you really going to wear this?’ There were a number of things that I didn’t end up wearing and didn’t actually need. Depending on how long your study exchange is. You will need clothes to cover your time whilst you are out there. Pick clothes or things you can layer for any climate.

I say this because I spent a few days in Australia and met quite a cold country. Well for someone who had been living it a hot climate. Think about things you have to take and stock up. As a black girl, there may be products you won’t find abroad so stock up on them also.

Don’t make your bag heavier than it’s needed.  

Started a YouTube Chanel or a Blog  

This is something I have mentioned in my previous post like ‘Feel the Fear & Do it Anyway’. I do wish that I started a YouTube channel. My study exchange was a period of my life that should have been shown, but like every young person, I allowed fear to stop me. Don’t get me wrong I am so happy where I am with my blog now. However, it doesn’t stop me thinking about how cool it would have been if I started My Breaking Views back then. I could have talked about all the countries I visited in South East Asia. Even if you don’t want to have a social media platform it’s a good idea to keep a journal. That way you can look back at your experiences.  

Knew when to stop  

There were a few times like other study exchange students, that I let a little too loose studying abroad and ended up regretting it the next day. Wish I had known my limits and understood that going out didn’t have to mean doing the most. I remember a study exchange student going out every single night! I wish I had the energy to do that myself.

Taken that job  

I was in the final year of my degree whilst living in Singapore so I had a lot on my mind. One was looking for another job! Funny enough I did actually get a job out in Shanghai, China. Unfortunately, my mother was adamant that it was a bad choice and put me off it instantly! I wish I had a bit more backbone then and decided that it would have been a good move for me.

Abroad you will be introduced to a new set of people from around the world. Take it in and use the time to network and connect with people.  

Taken a photography class and invested in a good camera  

Back when I moved to Singapore, I was terrible with the camera. I had a little small iPhone 4s and thought back then that I was doing bits! Wish I knew then the importance of good quality pictures. I started to become more and more concerned with how I looked in a picture. And almost half the pictures (if not more) I took were of me standing in front of this or that doing the same pose!

I wish I had learned more about photo composition and what makes a good quality photo before I moved abroad. Singapore has some absolutely amazing photo opportunities that I see people taking even today. I missed the opportunity.

Chilled out a bit more  

I don’t know if I ever told you the story. The one where I had a break down in the middle of a jungle.

No, I haven’t? Well to cut the story short me and four of my friends decided to go hiking to see a waterfall. My friend fell and had a minor concussion and I literally panicked for my dear life and experienced a breakdown. Thankfully, my friend came around and to my surprise wanted to keep going. Once we got to the waterfall it was like nothing ever happened. I wish I was just a bit calmer sometimes.

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These are the seven things I wish I knew before going on my study exchange. I try not to dwell on things too much. However, I sometimes wonder where I would have been today if I had started my YouTube channel back then or even started the blog.

At the same time, I think I can still learn from my mistakes and encourage someone not to make the same.

I tend to only speak positively about my study exchange hence why this post wasn’t the easiest. I guess it only means another post is coming up!  

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