Whether your motivation is to travel overseas, work, retire, or study abroad, being an expatriate comes with its challenges. Alongside adjusting to a new country, one such difficulty is keeping in touch with your loved ones and friends. Thanks to technology, a quick call or message can keep homesickness at bay, and any distance can be instantly bridged.
With a wealth of different apps and options online, you might feel overwhelmed by all the different ways to communicate with loved ones back home. We have narrowed down our favourite and easy-to-use communication apps to best serve your purpose as someone living abroad, away from family. Install some of these to complete your relocation and moving checklist:
WhatsApp is one of the most popular communication apps, because of the multiple services it can provide all in one place. You can call, video call, message, and send voice-notes to all of your friends, with a straightforward interface; the cross-platform availability also means you can use WhatsApp on any cell phone or laptop. More than one billion people per day use WhatsApp to stay in contact with their family by sharing videos, photos or updating their status.
As an expat living abroad, you no longer need to worry about international calling rates or changing your phone number with WhatsApp. The app uses your phone number to register, but uses the internet or wifi to make calls. In addition, when you do need to change your number, all your contacts and chat history is saved. WhatsApp’s new update comes with another advantage: the app has increased the limit on video calls from four to eight people, which means you can talk to all the members of your family right at the same time.
Facebook is perhaps the most popular and influential social network, which makes it more likely you can connect to most, if not all, of your friends who have an account. As well as uploading photos or a status, however, Facebook provides a chatting platform named Facebook Messenger, which is a great way to chat with your family and friends privately. Facebook Messenger offers the same services as WhatsApp, including messages, audio calls and video chat with your loved ones, however there is no need to know someone’s phone number to connect as long as you are Facebook friends. Facebook Messenger is completely free, and all you have to do is simply go to your friend’s profile and click “chat or call.”
If you have managed to make it through lockdown, self-isolation or working from home without using Zoom, you need to try it now. Zoom is a must-have for expats moving abroad, as one of the best options for having video calls with your family. The service allows users to chat online and be in group calls of up to 100 people. Zoom is easy to use, and set up, by inviting friends or family through a link sent in an email or via another app.
Zoom has exploded in popularity since the coronavirus pandemic; it has been used by businesses and even schools, connecting employees or classes at home. As demand has grown, the service has been successfully developed to meet the needs of its users. The screen sharing option also allows you to watch home videos together, share photos, or perhaps take part in a family quiz online.
Skype is the veteran video-calling platform, and is well-established among expats. This app is ideal for group chats and offers free audio calls, video conferencing, and messaging; there is also the option to call mobile and landline numbers through the app for a fee. Communication with your family from abroad is comfortable and secure with Skype. Its messaging service can accommodate up to 25 video callers at once, so you can easily keep in touch with the whole family. With Skype, say goodbye to expensive international phone calls.
Whether you’re feeling homesick, or on top of the world living in your new country, make sure to keep in touch with the ones you’ve left behind. Hopefully these apps can help ensure that contacting home is a source of happiness, not a hassle.