WHILE there is a certain old-fashioned nostalgia about receiving a letter from a loved one in the post, for generation X (Y and Z) there's nothing quite as quick as texting, tweeting and emailing - technology is definitely our lifeline to the world.
And when it comes to studying, living, travelling, and working overseas, this direct line to anywhere is the thing that will keep you sane. Being abroad can be difficult especially if you are alone, settling into a new culture, sometimes a different language and a different way of living.
Having a direct link to your friends and loved ones DOES make life easier. You can connect with your family in a matter of seconds via the Internet, rather than having to wait for days for letters to be delivered by post.
The explosion of social media has made it possible for you to feel close to your nearest and dearest when you are separated by vast oceans and countless time zones.
Blogging has changed the way we communicate, giving you the potential to reach hundreds or even thousands of people instantly. News, photographs and videos can be delivered to email inboxes in seconds and messaging services allow instantaneous responses.
And although hearing a familiar voice is a welcome and warming feeling when you're alone overseas, there's nothing quite like being able to look at that person's face as you chat to them. Even if you're thousands of miles apart, thanks to inventions like Skype and Face Time, you can chat to your parents, friends, boyfriend or girlfriend as if they are sitting right beside you.
Ten years ago this wouldn't have been possible but with the way technology is changing every day, who knows what we'll be able to do another 10 years from now: reach through our screens and touch the person you're chatting with perhaps? 3D Skype?
Part of my role as Director of Only Student Concierge requires me to build relationships with people all over the world - from Australian students planning a move to the UK to schools in the deepest depths of Alaska in the USA - and if it wasn't for the technology we have at our fingertips, there is no way I would be able to carry out my job with such efficiency.
And it's not just international students who find these services invaluable: anyone who is travelling overseas can find themselves in the comfort of their parents' front room again at the click of a button, and international recruiters conduct entire interviews with candidates over Skype.
Smartphones, laptops and tablets which can be connected to WiFi networks anywhere in the world mean you literally have a lifeline to home in your pocket.
So if you take the leap and decide to study, travel or work overseas just remember: home will always be just a click away.
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