My semester in Australia is wrapping up and I am heading back home to Boston in less than a month. Over the course of the semester, my habits of communication slowly changed so that I talked to people at home less and less. After only a few weeks, I was giving my parents less thorough updates and messaging my friends every couple of days rather than every day. I continued to Skype my family approximately every other week, but I only Skyped friends a couple of times the whole semester. Because I am contacting my friends and family less often as time has passed, when I do message them it is usually something that is more urgent and needs a response. Therefore, I have noticed the time difference more as I have more often been waiting for responses for hours and sometimes will plan to send a message when I know they’re awake so I can get a response faster.
Skyping with my friends
Since the time difference is so big between Wollongong and Boston, I feel like I am missing important things in my family and friends’ lives back home. I feel like I can’t stay in contact with people back home as much as I’d like to since it is difficult to find the time to have a conversation with them. I also feel like I am always behind in finding out what is going on in my friends’ lives or with my family. For example, when my cat died while I was in New Zealand during mid-session break, I did not find out for almost a day after it happened because of the time difference as well as the limited internet access I had. It is also a challenge to remember to wish people a happy birthday on the correct day, and I fear accidentally forgetting important days like that because of the time difference.
Although for a short period of time my dad suggested using Viber, Facebook, GroupMe, and Skype have worked well for me to stay in contact with people, so I have continued using the same forms of media throughout my time abroad. Therefore, I feel that lists such as this one are becoming shorter and less relevant as the number of apps and social media sites needed to stay in contact while abroad are dwindling.
As I prepare to go home, I hope to stay in regular contact with the friends I have met here in Australia, including people from Australia, Ireland, and the United States. This could prove to be difficult due to our varying schedules and the time differences, but I will put in the same effort that I have to contact home while I’ve been abroad. My experiences communicating with family and friends in the United States while I am studying abroad in Australia has been fueled and made easier by Facebook, GroupMe, and Skype. Hopefully I will be able to stay in contact with people I have met in Australia through similar mediums of communication upon returning home in November.
Click here to see Sam’s experience communicating with friends from abroad after returning home.