Keeping In Touch

Tips and tricks to communicating with someone from another country.

Erika+Stenberg+and+Anna+Ward+outside+a+restaurant+in+Orlando%2C+Florida.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Keeping In Touch

Erika Stenberg and Anna Ward outside a restaurant in Orlando, Florida.

Erika Stenberg and Anna Ward outside a restaurant in Orlando, Florida.

Anna Ward

Erika Stenberg and Anna Ward outside a restaurant in Orlando, Florida.

Anna Ward

Anna Ward

Erika Stenberg and Anna Ward outside a restaurant in Orlando, Florida.

Hang on for a minute...we're trying to find some more stories you might like.


Email This Story






Last school year my family hosted a foreign exchange student from Sweden. Her name is Erika and she was 16 years old. She attended our school as a junior and got the full American high school experience. Over time we became extremely close; I now consider her to be one of my sisters. We spent many nights together staying up late watching horror movies or talking about boys. I’m kind of a wimp so every time we’d watch a horror movie I’d insist on staying the night in her room. Some of my favorite memories are our many mall trips or our spring break trip to Disney. We shared so many laughs, secrets, and even tears. I couldn’t imagine ever having to say goodbye to her but that was inevitable and it was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.

I couldn’t imagine ever having to say goodbye to her but that was inevitable and it was by far one of the hardest things I’ve ever had to do.”

So when the time came to say goodbye we promised each other we wouldn’t lose touch and that we’d talk every day. But I had no idea how much work would actually have to go into that. It seems like an easy thing to do right? We would just text each other and talk on the phone every day but I soon learned it’s not that simple. You see there are some factors that you must take into consideration when keeping in touch with someone from another country.

Anna Ward
A screenshot of Anna’s World Clock screen on her phone.

The first thing you need to keep in mind is the time difference. Erika lives pretty close to Stockholm, the capital of Sweden and the time difference there is 6 hours ahead. So finding a time where we can both talk can be difficult. Even without taking the time difference into account we both still have school and other daily activities that keep us busy. After many weeks of calling and texting each other at the most random times, we figured out that the best time for us to talk was around 1 pm for me and about 7 pm for her. So just about every day during lunch I go out in the hallway near the cafeteria and we talk on the phone through lunch.

Another obstacle that comes with communicating with someone from another country is that purchasing an international phone plan is extremely expensive and unreasonable especially considering both you and the person you’re communicating with would have to purchase one.

Anna Ward
A screenshot of the WhatsApp Messenger app page on the app store.

But luckily there are simple solutions to this problem. There are many apps that can be used to communicate with people from around the world. One of the most used and my personal favorite is WhatsApp. This app gives you your own phone number and allows you to text, call, or video chat with virtually anyone. Snapchat is another app I heavily depend on when communicating with Erika and pretty much everyone our age uses it. A few more examples of apps you can use are Skype. Houseparty, and even Instagram.

After figuring all of these details out and overcoming these obstacles I can thankfully say Erika and I talk regularly and maintain a close relationship. Now sadly our relationship can never be what it was when we lived together but distance doesn’t have to destroy it.

You just have to be willing to put forth the time and the effort and so does the other person in that relationship.”

I feel like many people’s attitude towards long-distance relationships whether it be a romantic one or something more platonic is negative. Many people believe it is next to impossible to maintain a healthy relationship when so much distance is involved and while it is most certainly not easy it is not impossible. You just have to be willing to put forth the time and the effort and so does the other person in that relationship. It is definitely a difficult two-way street but when both people put forth the effort you really can make it work.