Social media help to ease “Expat Blues”

The recent 2010 Expat Explorer Survey reports that for expatriates emotional worries cause much greater concerns than practical issues. More specifically, the survey results indicate that re-establishing a social life (41%) as well as feeling lonely and missing friends and family (34%) are topping the list of the most common expat concerns.

Given these data, the amount of blogs, communities and forums in the internet related to expatriate life do not seem surprising. All these technological possibilities may ease socialization and cultural belonging. Moreover, social media, especially those facilitating instant interaction, are useful for connecting expats with their friends and families. The great importance of social media is captured in the words of one expatriate from Scotland cited in a December 2010 Financial Times article:

“Being able to actually see my wife and kids via video makes a massive difference. If Skype didn’t exist, I don’t think I would be out here. It would be just too tough.”

Similarly, 71% of the 2637 respondents of the 2011 Global Professionals on the Move Report  argued that social media/instant messaging helped ease homesickness whilst overseas and made the transition easier.

However, despite the spread of technology and the radical changes it has brought to the way we communicate with each other, the likes of Skype or Facebook are unlikely to substitute face-to-face communication. As the 2011 Global Professionals on the Move Report shows, although social media help to connect people, relations with family and friends continue to lead the ‘list of things to miss’ for 70% of professionals already abroad.

201 thoughts on “Social media help to ease “Expat Blues”

  1. Anectodally, those of us on the front lines of moving individuals around the world can definitely attest to the growing use of social media tools to connect. Even as a business, it’s one of the primary ways we stay in touch with and on top of the needs and concerns of transferees-with whom we are speaking nearly every day. So 71% saying yes is consistent with what we are experiencing. The more people responsible for global relocations and businesses providing ancillary services understand this, the more successful they will be!

  2. Yes it is absolutely true, things like facebook or skype does not solve the problem, but definetely makes the symptoms much easier. I’m now in distant relation and I really feel that just few years ago when communication over the web were not so easy and facebook and skype did not exist, I wouldn’t be able to be in such relationship. It is slow, but these things and modenr ways of comunication changes our society on really base levels and it will have bigger impact than anyone now can imagine.

  3. Making a decision to live abroad – especially out of the U.S. – is an important one. Every country is different. Wherever you live, there are going to be negative and positives experiences. Sharing these experiences is part of the life experience.

    Current social media technology makes sharing these experience like never before. School systems should train children (and there parents) on the proper use of the technology.

    Not only are we using this technology for personal communications, but these same tools have changed the way business is conducted – it has really changed my online video sales training business.

    I cannot wait to see what will be the next major change in technology.

    Thanks for letting me share my thoughts.

  4. Here’s one good advantage of social media… but on the other hand if people who are abroad only depend on social media to socialize than the benefits and gains of being abroad also disappear…

  5. Social media and technology can be both a blessing and a curse. It can bring people closer together but strangely at the same time, further apart.

    All too often we rely too heavily on technology to communicate when it is often much more personal to just pick up the phone and have a chat.

  6. In this world of technology internet connects the human being from millions of miles away ,feeling like sitting in front of mom , dad or friends. and talking to them via text or voice chat with 1 cup of coffee. …………. feeling there warmth

  7. I agree social networks like Facebook or Skype can help. I’m now in distant relationship and I think this never could be possible before. Sure all this modern social media is changing our societies.

  8. Yes, I agree. It is not easy to communicate to your love ones through this technology and social medias but at least it could subside your loneliness or feeling like homesick. So, let’s just thanks them for producing this kind of media.

    1. Well said Relationship Manager, lets thank them as there is nothing worse than being away from your home on business for long periods being stuck in a hotel not being able to communicate.

  9. I totally agree. Living here in the US by myself, it is important to me to check back with my family. Skype enabled us to chat in a way face-to-face without spending hundreds of dollars for flights. It does not replace an actual visit, but makes it bearable for sure. Same goes for long distance relationships.

  10. It has had a huge impact on the way we view our friends and family who live some distance.You can now keep up with their daily activities instantly. I remeber only speaking with family on the holidays because the long distance rates were so costly. My have times changed

  11. I think the new communication technologies help a great deal. When I was living abroad, there was no email, skype, facebook, none of that. I used to spend hundreds of dollars every month just talking to my girlfriend on the phone.

  12. Its nice to see with all the emerging technology these days that there are people out there who are overseas but can still see and talk to their family. A prime example of that is the part where you talked about the family using Skype to talk to each other.

  13. Today it is so easy to stay in touch and feel close to your loved ones when you are away. I travel a lot because of my work, and with msn messenger I stay in touch with my wife and have video calls so I can see my children, talk to them and even play with them a little. Great stuff!

  14. As an expatriate myself who do not have a single friend who grew up with me, I can relate to this article very well, because I have not seen the friends who grew up with me for 9 years. However thanks to Social Media like Facebook, Hi5, linkedin and Skype, I can now reach out to these friends again without any notice. I just remembered not long ago, just 2005 it was almost impossible to communicate with these friends without the use of the traditional telephone. I recently spent 5 hours with a friend who left our native country 10 years ago and I could see him crying. I was overwhelmed and this is thanks to social media medium like facebook.

  15. Totally agree. Living away from our love ones is really hard. With the use of social media at least it eases a little and be able to survive with constant communication through skype, yahoo messenger and MSN. We are able to update our friends, relatives with their latest activity through facebook and other social media sites.

  16. This is a interesting article, cause rises the problems faced by expat but there are much more than that.
    Feeling lonely its a small one and contacting friends or family sometimes isn’t possible in cases of people like me that can’t afford the cost of a long distance call.

  17. I also totally agree. Nothing will ever replace face to face contact in my opinion. I will say this..Social Media does make it easier to meet other expats in the new area you are located. This really helps when you have questions that need your immediate attention (like registering your kids for school..lol)

    What is really interesting to me is that it is only 5% “Mostly No” and the 3% “Definitely No” That is a really small percentage.

    I think anyone can become homesick being away from friends and family. I think Social Media really does help.

    Great article.

    Thank you.

  18. For many of us, social media is a lifeline, telephone calls just do not offer the frequency or immediacy of contact that we crave in this 24/7 world. How many of us have not had the frustration of a disconnected call.

    Of course nothing beats the human touch and face to face is and always will be the best form of contact but we are so lucky to have all the social media otpions to connect and share even though many miles and hours may seperate us.

    Great post and interesting stats!
    Thanks
    Charlie @ Social Media X

  19. This is a interesting article, cause rises the problems faced by expat but there are much more than that.
    Living away from our love ones is really hard. With the use of social media at least it eases a little and be able to survive with constant communication through skype, twitter, yahoo and other communications sites.

    Great article

  20. Point agreed. Very interesting research. I believe nowadays the term ‘socializing’ would mean more to internet socializing. It’s kind of sad when we compare with the real socializing with families and friends. But this internet socializing lights a little bit.

  21. As a former traveling salesperson, I can tell you that it would have helped immensely if social media had been available while I was on the road. A trip to Italy a year ago was an eye opener! I was in daily contact with family and friends using public wi-fi and my smart phone, so there was, in effect, no additional cost to me. I loved that they could experience my trip as it was happening, and that I was able to keep up with what was happening at home.

  22. I can tell you that being away from my wife and kids (i was in america, they were in canada) was very difficult back in the early 90’s when the im & video chat did not exist, now n days, it’s much easier to feel connected to family over skype or facebook.

  23. Yes, definitely helps. I still remember it was so hard when I was studying oversea, but now looking at the younger generation, we talk almost everyday! Even doing business and getting client oversea, and all we need is a computer + internet assess!

  24. Human reliationships and meeting with friends is the most important part of our social life. Social media makes it virtual. We are not computer or not “0” or “1”. We are human, so we are social being. We need to look at our families’ or friends’ faces in real life, not on lcd screen. Yes maybe some softwares is help us to communicate with our friends with keyboard or webcam but it only expands the inevitable end. So we need people.

  25. does social media have helped as a means of distance communication, but still up whenever face to face is the best means of communication, it is because our emotional concerns, and it is different from face to face and not.

  26. I agree to a point that face to face is a much better way of communication, but being able to talk to a person over social media and connect over video to see that person is the way of the future. As a retired military person, I recall having to talk to my wife over a SAT phone in the early in the 90’s but today we are able to chat over Facebook and Skype to keep in touch. Times are great when you can click a button and see someone on the screen.

  27. Being away from my family, they were in The UK and I was in Canada was not easy back in the 80’s, currently with all the new technology, it’s much easier to feel connected to family

  28. Yes, definitely helps. I still remember it was so hard when I was studying oversea, but now looking at the younger generation, we talk almost everyday! Even doing business and getting client oversea, and all we need is a computer + internet assess.

  29. As a retired military person, I recall having to talk to my wife over a SAT phone in the early in the 90′s but today we are able to chat over Facebook and Skype to keep in touch. Times are great when you can click a button and see someone on the screen. – See more at: Cara Upgrade OS Android

  30. I agree face-to-face communication won’t be replaced by new technology. And shouldn’t even be considered, for example some companies don’t even have a phone number for you to call. It’s either email only or online chat system. This is horrible customer service and just builds a wall between you and your customers.

  31. These days most business operators use social media but very few get any real results and often wonder if spending their valuable time to take part in this activity is worthwhile. By working through an example in this article, you are given one way that success has been achieved; and it may be in a very different way that you would expect!

  32. Nice blog. I very agree face-to-face communication won’t be replaced by new technology. And shouldn’t even be considered, for example some companies don’t even have a phone number for you to call. It’s either email only or online chat system. Thank you

  33. It absolutely helps but it still relies on how you measure effectiveness.
    At Asktogo, we work with many expert companies in the social media sector.
    In all cases, we have had average to great success to in building social interactions and raising brand and service awareness. One of the strategies that worked better was to build social community experts that would both engage the targeted community and produce relevant content that added value to our potential clients. Good luck!

  34. As one who is currently traveling abroad, the use of things such as facebook, skype and other messengers has become an invaluable resource. Does it make it any easier being away from family? Slightly, yes.

  35. thanks for sharing great article Social media helps us to expedite our work and I agree face-to-face communication won’t be replaced by new technology

  36. As one who is currently traveling abroad, the use of things such as facebook, skype and other messengers has become an invaluable resource.

  37. I think social media is great. I am addicted to it. It has helpd me a lot to communicate with my friends and relatives. A few years ago I couldn’t communicate with my friends and families who were far away in another countries, but now we are speaking together with skype all the time and we are in touch by other social media. It has changed my life a lot and I am happy for that.
    thanks

  38. Yes, definitely helps…Current social media technology makes sharing these experience like never before. School systems should train children (and there parents) on the proper use of the technology.
    Thanks for your helpful content

  39. With the use of social media at least it eases a little and be able to survive with constant communication through skype, yahoo messenger and MSN. We are able to update our friends, relatives with their latest activity through facebook and other social media sites.

  40. I am a follower of your website and I come across a new and informative matter in your site every time I brows it
    This matter is highly valuable to me and I would like to receive new matters every day from your website.
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  41. The social network for people who are away from their families has made communication easier. Maybe not to replace human emotions, but it is easier to follow.

  42. Hi, thanks for interesting post, indeed being away from a family has its difficulty, technology innovation truly makes life easier with free voice and video calls, messaging and email technology advancement.

    Kind Regards
    George

  43. In my opinion social media has improved people knowledge via sharing information. On the other hand, social media has changed our life because we can have very easy and great communication with our friends and relatives and other people. In this case face to face communication is really exciting!

    Thanks for great website.

  44. The displacement of people refers to the forced movement of people from their locality or environment and occupational activities. It is a form of social change caused by a number of factors, the most common being armed conflict. Natural disasters, famine, development and economic changes may also be a cause of displacement.

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    Estimates on the number of IDP estimates are often very rough, and they tend to differ greatly in terms of the source (governments, international agencies, non-governmental organisations). This is partly because IDP movements, in contrast to forced migration, typically involve short distances and often short time frames. In addition, internal movements are much less recorded than international movements. One reason is that the inherent interest of a receiving country in who is entering is absent in the case of internal movements, which are free of restrictions and subject to fewer administrative hurdles. In addition, considering that they are still living in the country where they have been persecuted, the internally displaced may be less willing to register than those who enjoy the protection of their asylum country

  45. Thanks a lot. Really interesting post. Using social media in any form of communication is a great facilities for who really knows the value.
    One of the major challenges today is the growth in the number of internally displaced persons (IDPs) worldwide.
    I agree to a point that face to face is a much better way of communication, but being able to talk to a person over social media and connect over video to see that person is the way of the future.

  46. As one who is currently traveling abroad, the use of things such as facebook, skype and other messengers has become an invaluable resource. Does it make it any easier being away from family? Slightly, yes.

  47. Building an online community is a great way to ease the “expat blues”. Social media is a powerful way to do this, and you often don’t need your own website to do it. Many expats I know personally have built out massive online followings and made a lot of new friends by becoming an influencer on social media.

  48. In this world of technology internet connects the human being from millions of miles away ,feeling like sitting in front of mom , dad or friend or my sister and my brother
    I think the new communication technologies help a great deal
    I do appreciate you.

  49. I totally agree. Living here in the US by myself, it is important to me to check back with my family. Skype enabled us to chat in a way face-to-face without spending hundreds of dollars for flights. It does not replace an actual visit, but makes it bearable for sure. Same goes for long distance relationships.

  50. I totally agree. Living here in the US by myself, it is important to me to check back with my family. Skype enabled us to chat in a way face-to-face without spending hundreds of dollars for flights.
    this is right for people.
    thanks for article.

  51. I am a follower of your website and I come across a new and informative matter in your site every time I brows it
    This matter is highly valuable to me and I would like to receive new matters every day from your website.
    Thank you very much

  52. I agree to a point that face to face is a much better way of communication, but being able to talk to a person over social media and connect over video to see that person is the way of the future.

  53. I personally think social media if being used correctly will bring relationship between family and friends closer. It is a great tool for us to keep in touch with each other if we are not being side with our loves one or our parents. However, we should not abuse it as it will also lead to negative problems such as addiction and health problems.

  54. I can tell you that being away from my wife and kids (i was in america, they were in canada) was very difficult back in the early 90’s when the im & video chat did not exist, now n days, it’s much easier to feel connected to family over skype or facebook.

  55. I think the new communication technologies help a great deal. When I was living abroad, there was no email, skype, facebook, none of that. I used to spend hundreds of dollars every month just talking to my girlfriend on the phone.

  56. I totally agree with all of you. Many people enjoy communicating via social media or just surfing the web & learning about trends and new ideas. Very informative blog!!

  57. Great article Sebastian! Living abroad can be tough sometimes to adjust for sure. Social media today really helps bring people and cultures together but especially family and friends.

  58. Yes, I agree with you All these technological possibilities may ease socialization and cultural belonging. Moreover, social media, especially those facilitating instant interaction, are useful for connecting expats with their friends and families.Also in social media, people explore the own business by the SEO.

  59. Yes, I agree with you the social media is one of the best ways to connect the people. Social media helps to drive traffic to a website and increase reach. We just need to do it in an effective way.

  60. Hi
    good time
    Yes, I agree. It is not easy to communicate to your love ones through this technology and social medias but at least it could subside your loneliness or feeling like homesick.

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  69. It is often said that we live in a small world. That’s truer today than at any other time in our history. Social media has blurred geographical and regional boundaries. You can make a connection with anyone in any part of the world and interact real time. Social media connection…next best thing to being there.

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  72. t is often said that we live in a small world. That’s truer today than at any other time in our history. Social media has blurred geographical and regional boundaries. You can make a connection with anyone in any part of the world and interact real time. Social media connection…next best thing to being there.

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  74. for sure one of the best ways to communicate with people and show share your life is by means of social media. social media has already made everything easy undoubtedly for expats the story is much easier these days.

  75. For many of us, social media is a lifeline, telephone calls just do not offer the frequency or immediacy of contact that we crave in this 24/7 world. How many of us have not had the frustration of a disconnected call.

    Of course nothing beats the human touch and face to face is and always will be the best form of contact but we are so lucky to have all the social media otpions to connect and share even though many miles and hours may seperate us.

  76. As one who is currently traveling abroad, the use of things such as facebook, skype and other messengers has become an invaluable resource. Does it make it any easier being away from family?

  77. Here’s one good advantage of social media… but on the other hand if people who are abroad only depend on social media to socialize than the benefits and gains of being abroad also disappear…

  78. t is often said that we live in a small world. That’s truer today than at any other time in our history. Social media has blurred geographical and regional boundaries. You can make a connection with anyone in any part of the world and interact real time. Social media connection…next best thing to being there.

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