Friday, 28 September 2012

Guest Blogger Series: Introducing… Laura Parsons

This week’s article is written by Laura Parsons of The Expat Hub. In this blog, Laura shares five ways to get the most out of social media when moving abroad

Five Ways Social Networking Sites Can Help Expatriation

Image source: Creative Commons/ AslanMedia

Keeping in touch with loved ones
Staying in touch through social networking sites costs less than a phone call and takes far less time than sending a letter. What’s more, for many expats, it’s the reason they joined social media sites in the first place. Tweets, status updates and wall posts are fantastic ways of having little casual conversations, and can make a lonely expat feel like their loved ones aren’t so far away.    

Making friends
Social media sites not only help expats keep up with old friends, but can help them make new ones too. Many expat communities keep in touch through forums, Facebook groups and Twitter feeds, which provide a fantastic, quick and simple opportunity to meet fellow expats and locals alike. What’s more, it’s also a great way of sharing experiences, offering or receiving advice, or advertising expat-geared events or favourite expat spots.

If there isn’t a social network for expats in your area than make one! Chances are you’ll be pleasantly surprised by how many people welcome the effort and join up.

Finding work
Some companies will advertise jobs via Twitter, Google Plus, Facebook and especially LinkedIn, so take advantage of all networking opportunities. You can use them to find out which jobs are available in your new area, pose questions about particular job markets, qualification requirements, typical wages, working conditions and working hours, all of which then build up a realistic picture of what your overseas career could be like.

Finding a home and getting to know your area
People renting out properties or wanting to take part in a home exchange are using social networking sites more and more. It’s much more personal (and cheaper!) to let a house in this way than to use an agent, and it’s often easier to find somewhere or someone to fit your requirements.

You can also use social media as a brilliant source on your local area. Ask questions, ask for recommendations (and hopefully get a personal response from a local in the know!), and keep up-to-date with local events.

Getting involved
As any Twitter addict will tell you, it’s all too easy to get caught up in the digital world. For expats feeling out of place in a new environment, talking to family and old friends online can be a huge comfort, but it’s important not to become too reliant on it. Make sure you leave time to get to know your culture and neighbours.

About the author
This article was written by Laura Parsons at The Expat Hub. Follow them @expathub

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