Ideas to keep in touch with your family and new AuPair-friends
So you are getting ready to leave your home country and become an AuPair in a different country. You are probably going through ups and downs of moods and feelings because you are going to leave your family and friends behind and you are going to meet lots of new people and live with a family that you hardly know. You will be glad to know that you are not the first to go through this and there are some great ideas here to help you to keep in touch with your “old” and “new” friends:
- Yes, WhatsApp Messenger seems to be a great way to stay in touch with your family and friends back in your home country. You can exchange text messages, voice messages, pictures, and videos and you can answer and send in your own time.
- Drawbacks? You may need to message multiple people or groups, you may have a different phone-number in your new country than you had before and data-rates may apply, and you may be woken in the middle of the night depending on your timezone-challenges (believe me, this is happening regularly to us right now)…
- As long as you are in a Wifi this is a great way to have a face-to-face group or personal conversation. You can even send files and pictures as well as text-messages.
- You can get a subscription to your home-country and that way call from your computer to landlines (and sometimes to cellphones). I (Anja) have a subscription for Germany and I also have a US-phone-number through Skype – depending which country you are from this is a great way to have people call you on a “familiar” local number that is then forwarded to where you are. Disadvantages? You need either a computer or a cellphone with lots of data.
Facebook Groups and Pages
- By the time one becomes an AuPair one often is member of multiple AuPair-Facebook-Groups (your organization, your AuPair-year, your flight-date or orientation-date,…) and fan of pages like Crazy-AuPairs, The Funny Nanny, The AuPairs Chronicle, …
Keeping them organized may be difficult but it’s worth it to keep in touch with friends, family, and groups of like-minded people!
Your personal profile may be the ideal place to post pictures and current information for all your friends and family to see. Hey, you can even create a page that one (everyone!!!) can like and where you provide information. You need a computer or a smartphone for Facebook including lots of data or WiFi.
- I know you know and do it and I just want to remind you of it: Make sure all your content on your profile is only posted to your friends and not to the whole world, especially when you post pictures and information about your host family and kids!!! Talk to your host parents what you are allowed to post, especially when you post to a public page. Make sure to like Crazy-AuPairs because we will bring some information about this topic soon!
- You are on one of these pages (I use Dogado and 1&1) and up on top you have a link for other AuPair-pages. You can buy a website (e.g. at 1&1), have it hosted at places like WordPress, or create a blog with some blog-page. Some require you to know a little bit about computers, servers, HTML and so on other give you the opportunity to drag-and-drop and easily add your text and pictures to them. These pages may need a little bit more work and you may get another login but they offer you to be quite creative, too. Just look at all the different templates out there and you may even be able to use your smartphone to make quick posts to your page. For websites and blogs, please read the reminder above in the Facebook-section, too. You are responsible to keep your host family safe here!
- Why business cards???? They are a great option for offline-contact-keeping!!! Yes, you do not need a data connection and people without smartphones (your grandparents for example 😉 ) can put them on the refrigerator or in their contact-book. Business cards are great to give out to your family and friends at home and especially at the orientation. They are quick and easy 🙂
- Here is our recommendation: Do not print your business cards too early (especially if you match early), we recommend about one month before is good. Why? Well sometimes a phone number may change, you may decide to create a website/blog, your host family may move or change (happens seldom but it does happen),…
- How to do business cards? Use the link below for some great designs or go to your local store to have them printed or buy your own business cards to print at home.
- What to put on your card? Put what you know and where you want your new/old friends to contact you at – you may not need all of these:
- First and Last name
- Host families’ name (e.g. The xyz-Family)
- Country you are from
- Your address at your host family
- Your phone-number (either your own, your future number, your host families number (ask them if people can contact you there),…)
- Your Skype-name
- Your Email-Address
- Your Website address (URL)
- Your Facebook-Link
- A picture of yourself (this can help people remember you)
- A QR-Code – That is a little picture that people can scan to get to a website you defined
- Similar to business cards these are quick and easy and you can create them at home, too. We gave a sheet of self-addressed stickers to our grandparents so they can just attach them to snail-mail – it worked very well 🙂
- If you have a phone and it works in the country you go to, then take it – it is a great way to keep in touch. Make sure you update your list of contacts before you leave (phone-numbers, addresses, pictures,…).
- At the orientation or when you meet people, open your contact list and add them on the spot as a new contact. Add a picture of them so you can easily remember who they were. Then let them enter the information themselves, that way you don’t spell anything incorrect. Also get their birthdays – that way you have a reason to contact them again!!!
Scan business cards quickly
- If I receive a business card, I take a picture of it quickly so I will not loose it. I either put the picture into my contact list or I use Evernote to keep the cards together.
Send a snail-mail or postcard
- Yes, this is still a great idea, especially on holidays or for birthdays – including for your parents or grandparents! Cards and letters are a great memory after the year, too.
What ways to stay in touch with your family and friends did I miss and you use?