When it comes to being an expat, there’s a common nagging fear that often goes undiscussed. That is, the fear of losing ties with your native culture. This is especially troublesome if you’re raising children about and don’t want them to “miss out” on the traditions that you hold so dear.
Rather than worry about losing touch, expat mothers should instead consider the easy, simple tasks and habits they can form to encourage them to stay connected to their homelands.
As such, we’ve highlighted five ways to do so that require little effort, most of which can be done with the help of smartphones and social media.
Stay Updated on Issues Back Home
Perhaps one of the easiest ways to understand day-to-day life back home is by following current events. While you might be laser-focused on what’s going on around you, bear in mind the big-picture issues impacting your friends and family.
Subscribe to Facebook pages, email lists and relevant news podcasts so you have a constant pulse on happenings and politics in your home country. For expats from the United States, bear in mind also that you can still participate in voting as long as you fill out a Federal Post Card Application 45 days before an election.
Document Your Expat Journey
Starting a blog or vlog series which followers your adventures in a new land is a common move for many expats. Such documentation is more than just a vanity project: it’s a fun way for friends and family to follow what you’re up to on a daily basis.
Whether it’s a blog, Instagram account or YouTube channel, creating a digital journal costs you next to nothing. All you need is a smartphone and Internet connection to get started.
Also consider the benefits of blogging as a form of therapy to help fight the phenomenon of expat loneliness and translate your expat journey into something artistic.
Block Off Time to Talk with Family
Although scheduling might take some time to iron out, having regular conversations with your family back home is arguably easier than ever. This is especially true as your relatives are little more than a Facebook message, email or Snapchat away.
Beyond small notes back-and-forth, strive to block off a weekly conversation where you can catch up and stay in the loop. Resources like Skype and FaceTime make for more personal conversations that you can even have on-the-go.
Teach Your Kids About Your Native Culture
Helping children learn about culture is obviously important, especially if we’re talking about your children.
There is no “right” way to do so, but a few ways to mix cultural education and family fun include…
- Teaching your children your native tongue: the benefits of being bilingual speak for themselves, including long-term implication for your child’s future career prospects
- Sharing stories, fables and fairytales that are rooted in your home country
- Frequently go through pictures and photo albums, digital or otherwise; likewise, you can include your children in your conversations with family back home
Stay Connected Through Your Kitchen
Food is a critical aspect of any culture and likewise represents a brilliant way for families to bond. Recreating your favorite childhood dishes can help introduce your children to new and exotic flavors that simply aren’t available abroad. On that note, you may need to do some prepping and shop online to find the appropriate ingredients for your favorite dishes.
Just because you’re away from home country doesn’t mean that you have to lose all ties to it. With the help of these tips, you can keep your culture alive and well in your new homeland for both yourself and your children