An international contact network is extremely rewarding, but can also be experienced as challenging. Hundreds of miles of distance, language barriers and cultural clashes can feel insurmountable. Worth noting, however, is that you learn something new from each individual’s unique perspective on the world. International friends open doors to new experiences and give you the opportunity to understand and feel a sense of belonging outside Sweden’s borders. With a mix of today’s modern technology, a pinch of patience and a large dose of creativity, today it is easy to stay in touch with your international friends from home. You can enjoy meaningful and lifelong friendships all over the world – all from the comfort of your own home. We have collected 6 tips on how to stay in touch with your international friends from home:
- Plan a virtual movie night
Even if you are thousands of miles apart, with today’s technology it is possible to hang out together in front of a movie. Series marathons, parties in front of YouTube or movie nights – everything is possible! The online tools enable shared streaming of popular streaming sites, for example Netflix and YouTube. Watch each other’s favourite series, discuss and laugh together!
- Online quizzes and games
Video chat while gaming with your friends, call each other via Xbox, or search for random online quizzes that you can answer together. The multiplayer gaming tool Jackbox is also a fun option. One person needs to own the physical game, but anyone else can connect to it through other devices connected to the internet. Here you can compete against each other in rap challenges and solve murder mysteries together. After a while in front of Jackbox, you’ll laugh so hard your stomach hurts and quickly forget the distance that separates you.
- Stay in touch the old-fashioned way
Letters and postcards still fulfill their function of reaching out to friends abroad, and it can also be experienced as more personal in today’s otherwise digital world. Postcards often reflect and represent snapshots of landscapes around your life. After all, there are parts of each other’s world that friends don’t always get to see, but letters and postcards can make it possible to show off hidden parts of each other’s lifestyles.
- Start a book club
Choose a book that you read together each month. The type of book is up to you – either you choose a book that has many divided opinions (thus guaranteed to spark heated, but fun, debates) or you choose a book that discusses universal feelings to learn more about your emotional sides of friends. Schedule a video call once everyone has finished reading the book to follow up and discuss the book’s content (and to compare each other’s book club gossip!).
All it takes is investing some time in an exciting novel and for reflection. A small price to pay for such a valuable investment in your language skills and circle of friends!
- Be creative!
Studies show that the most effective way to learn a language is to engage the creative side of the brain while practicing the language. The Internet offers countless opportunities to be creative together with a friend at a distance. Why not start a vlog together with your international friends? Or learn to play an instrument together? Or maybe do an online training session in a group?
There are a whole host of apps for you who want to learn something new. Everything from podcasting tools to large doodle boards where you can doodle at the same time. You can even meditate together with the app Headspace. There is so much to do, so start thinking outside the box and be creative!
- Use social media
Of course, social media is extremely effective for keeping in touch with international friends from home. Share funny memes, send pep messages in the morning and create group chats where you discuss everything between heaven and earth. These platform gives students the opportunity to stay in touch even after their language course abroad has ended.