Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Social media a cure for loneliness?

For expats around the world the months between Christmas and the next public holiday can be some of the loneliest. Your loved ones may be hundreds or thousands of miles way and everyone is feeling the pinch too much to consider that next trip home. The rise of the global citizen means more and more of us are geographically separate from our families so is it any wonder that a plethora of expat services have appeared all offering help to the lonely...

Dubai’s new Fairy Godmother Club is one such service. The brainchild of British expat Andrea Guy, the group introduces experienced older expats to new expat families in what has been dubbed a grandparent surrogacy. The scheme is mutually beneficial with older empty nesters finding solace in providing a service and younger mums appreciating the friendship and advice that can come from an older woman who has been through the expat transition.

Perhaps the most prolific and obvious outlet for expat isolation is the internet with social networking and services like skype removing the miles between distant loved ones. The demand for online expat communities has resulted in 1000’s of blogs & websites designed specifically for expats to share collective experiences of readjusting to their new foreign lives.

We came across an interesting article this week which describes the UAE as leading the way in social networking websites designed to help expat integration. The transient nature of the UAE workforce can make it harder for expats to establish friendship groups and so networking sites like socialcirclesuae.com and LinkExpats.com have emerged aiming to help match arrivals with existing residents who share the same interests.

There is no doubt that social media has provided the expat community with a constant connection to the country they left behind. However be warned, your mother once proficient in facebook will forever grace your page with links of kittens doing amusing things. Sometimes you may just want to turn it all off and enjoy the solitude of your new surroundings!

Tell us how you keep in touch with your loved ones by taking part in our blog poll...


  1. Skype is definitely the most used by us. After getting the family used to using it, we now use video calling quite regularly. I've also used it to buy a phone number in the US to reduce calling costs for family to call us directly. I then have Skype set up to forward calls to my mobile if I don't happen to be in front of the computer.

    Things have changed quite a bit over the past decade and it is nice to have these kinds of tools to communicate.

  2. ya its right skpye is now also famous in asian country like india,china and japan and also pakistan


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