One of the most difficult things about going abroad for an extended period of time is missing the things which you are accustomed to having access to every day back home. This can increase feelings of homesickness and can make life more difficult during the course of your stay. Here are a few ways to access those things which you may be missing from back home.
It’s one of the things which people miss the most when they leave the UK: good quality television.
Your new country may leave a lot to be desired when it comes to quality TV, especially when you are used to the big-budget dramas and documentaries shown so regularly back in the UK.
The best way to get access to quality viewing that you are familiar with is via BBC iPlayer, although there are also TV catchup services from Channel 4 and ITV.
The problem is that they are only available to people in the UK, and you will need a proxy service in order to watch them. This disguises your IP address which the TV catchup services use to work out where you are located, allowing you to watch whatever you want.
The BBC also recently announced a paid-for international version of the iPlayer (see news report here). However, at the moment this is only available in 11 European countries and only certain programmes will be shown so it is not a full catchup service. It is also only currently available on the iPad.
Radio does not come with the same problems as TV, and you can currently get access to nearly all that the BBC has to offer via iPlayer wherever you are in the world.
There is one notable exception – live sports. Due to licensing rights, you will often be unable to listen to live football commentary, and for this you will need to get a proxy as described above.
In some places in the world you may also be able to listen to the BBC World Service. However, this is no longer available all over the world so you may have to listen to it online.
If you want to watch Premier League matches when you are abroad then you may well be in luck. Due to the popularity of the league, you may end up finding more live football screened abroad than back home, even in countries which have popular domestic leagues.
Ask around in your new country and keep your eyes open, and you should be able to come across somewhere to watch live games. If you have cable you may be able to watch them at home, and then you can use the proxy trick to listen to English radio commentary over the internet at the same time.
Although it is never too difficult to come across English books when you are abroad, it can be a challenge to find books which you actually want to read.
The most basic advice is to take lots of books with you. That way they can be used to trade with other expats or in second-hand bookshops, both of which will often be easy to find in any large town or city.
But you may not even need to bother doing that any more. Now that you can take an e-reader like the Amazon Kindle with you, you can carry all of your books on one little device and download new ones when you feel like it.
Newspapers are often harder to source than books, but if you are in an area with lots of tourists then you may find that some papers are available. Sometimes they are printed out locally, and you may also be able to buy an imported copy of yesterday’s paper.
An e-reader can again be a very useful solution. On the Kindle you can now subscribe to most UK newspapers or simply buy a single issue when you feel like it.
Don’t Miss Out on the Things You Love
Going abroad is about experiencing a new culture and enjoying a different lifestyle. But that does not mean that you have to give up everything that you are familiar with back home.
Thanks in large part to the internet, you can now find all the TV programmes, radio channels, books and newspapers which you enjoy back home wherever you are in the world, which can be a great way to stave off homesickness and provide you with a more comfortable experience abroad.
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