Keeping in Touch with Your International Student
Over the Summer and for Life!
As the 2016-2017 school year comes to a close, so does the time you have remaining with your international student before he/she goes home for the summer. Some students will be graduating high school while others will be returning in a few months to begin the next school year. Despite the amount of time apart, there are great ways to keep in touch with your international student once he/she leaves your home.
These methods for staying in touch are ideal for those who are used to spending a lot of time together. Each option is easy to navigate with lots of great features! By creating fun ways to stay involved you’re staying connected to keep the bonds strong.
Skype is not only a mainstay among top communication methods; but it offers the user an easy, reliable, and inexpensive way to communicate with loved-ones long distance.
Viber is a free text-based instant messaging service that also allows the user to make calls via Wi-Fi. What’s more, Viber allows the user to connect via cell phone and computer with push-enabled notifications providing control over when to get involved in conversations. Like other communication platforms, Viber supports one-on-one or group conversations and stickers!
WeChat is a messaging and calling app that allows you to easily connect with family and friends worldwide. It’s the all-in-one communications app for text (SMS/MMS), voice and video calls, moments, photo sharing, and games. WeChat is popular among our students from China and rivals Facebook’s Messenger.
If you want to stay connected with a group of people, these methods are creative, flexible, and entertaining. They can take a bit more time consuming, but offer alternative methods of keeping in touch.
4. Online Games
Who doesn’t love a good game? Games are great at keeping people in communication with one another, especially when separated by great distances. Like some of the options listed above, they also offer a chat feature where you can interact with the other players. Options range from live video to turn-taking puzzle games offering the users the ability to tailor play time to their schedules and interests.
Goal setting has always been a great way to stay involved with people; and research shows that the more you interact with the goal setter the more likely his/her chances of success become. Plan and set goals before your student leaves and then consistently check-in during the summer break to ensure that he/she stays focused, motivated, and feels supported. Apps such as MakeMe are particularly great at providing a shared experience despite being miles apart from one another.
Rising in popularity among young consumers are the various methods of video communication. They provide nostalgic tributes of your time together. Ranging from FaceTime mini-videos to vlogs to montages of video snippets and photos gathered when together; the possibilities are endless.
7. Collaborative Playlists
This isn’t the best way to have a deep conversation with your friends, but it is certainly a fun way to bring back old memories. Music platforms like Spotify make it easy to make collaborative playlists with each other; a particularly good option for music enthusiasts and musicians. Music options can include new music you think others will like, songs that remind you of good times, or tunes that you want to share from each other’s culture. Feel the vibes worldwide!
Old Fashioned Communication
For older family members, less tech-savvy individuals, or for those who’d prefer not to spend all their time on their phones and tablets, these methods are perfect. Sometimes it’s best to go back to the basics!
8. Long Distance Book Clubs
This one is ideal for the bookworms, literature, and ESL students among you. Most of your returning students will have summer reading requirements; which is a perfect segway into a long distance book club. You could also swap books in the mail or purchase digital copies. Then, when you next talk to each other, you’ll have plenty to discuss.
9. Care Packages
Care packages are perfect for sending little goodies, notes, gifts, non-perishable foods, and a variety of other items. Who doesn’t like receiving a special box in the mail from a loved one?
10. Good, Old-Fashioned Letters
Always a popular and timeless option; letters in the mail provide the receiver with notes and pictures from you. It is a great way of letting your student know you are thinking of them. This option is more personal since it is typically handwritten. A heartfelt letter or beautiful postcard can really brighten up the mail!
Hopefully these ideas can help keep the connections and relationship active with your student after they are back in their home country. It is always hard to say goodbye, but nowadays there are so many ways to keep in touch! Keep it positive and stay connected!