Stay in touch with those from home

By Samantha Boyle, Assistant Daytime News Editor

Keeping in touch with friends and family overseas seems to be getting easier and easier as technology continues to develop. Sure, getting a handwritten letter from a family member or friend is still exciting, but with Snapchat, FaceTime, Facebook and so many other social media platforms, you can get ahold of anyone almost instantly.

Pretty much every social media outlet has a private message aspect to it, which is convenient because all you need is Wi-Fi or data to stay in touch with friends who are hundreds of miles away, and the University conveniently has campus-wide free Wi-Fi.

There are also plenty of apps you can download on your smartphone that act as their own messaging app. I have used an app called WhatsApp to keep in touch with family and friends I have who are living Germany and I am also currently using it to keep in touch with a friend studying abroad in Australia.

You can also make calls and video calls through WhatsApp. This is nice if you have an iPhone but your mom, for example, has an Android and you want to video chat (without downloading another app).

Since there is a pretty significant time change, setting up a time to call or video chat would be best. That way there is not as much frustration if someone on either end of the call does not pick up.

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I tend to call my mom when I am finally done with classes and walking home for the day, just to catch up. I never told her I would do this nor did we establish a time to call, but I think eventually she knew this was the time I would call her and she started picking up almost every time. However, establishing a time right off the bat may be easier and take away some of the stress.

At the beginning of the year, you may feel the urge to call and talk to those from home more. As the year goes on, though, you will make so many more friends and this urge will disappear slightly, which is completely fine. Your friends from home who are also at school, are most likely having the same experience.

So, if your daily call with your best friend turns into a once-a-week call, don’t feel bad, that is normal. You can also more casually keep in touch through texting, Snapchat, Facebook or whatever else you can update friends with.

If you schedule a call, don’t feel bad if it falls through because you are busy in this new environment. Your friends and family want what is best for you and are also probably busy themselves, so a call or two will fall through every once in a while.

If you are not a fan of new apps, social media or any of this technology, you can still send handwritten letters and receive letters from family and friends. If you are living in University Housing, the address to your particular building can be found by going on the University Housing website. There you will see how someone should address mail to you.  

You can find where to drop off your mail and order stamps on the Illini Union website. If you choose this method, your communication will be limited as it takes a few days for letters to arrive, however sometimes being old fashioned is nice.

Before you know it, though, it will be winter or summer break and you will be back home with your friends and family. Then you just have to worry about keeping in touch with all the friends you made on campus. Luckily, these methods will work the same way when you are back at home.

Samantha is a sophomore in Media.

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