Moving to a new country brings with it a whole host of challenges, and for many people, one of the biggest is loneliness. While you may be opening yourself up to all kinds of new experiences and adventures, even the most sociable people can find it hard to feel like they have anybody around them who is more than just a casual friend for going out or doing activities with. Some people who are more reserved, or those who have moved somewhere where it is difficult to make friends anyway due to language or cultural barriers, or it simply just not being a very lively place, can feel it even more.
Online Gaming and Expats
Even once you have made new friends and settled in, you are likely to still miss the company of your old friends, or even just people who speak your native language, and this isn’t really something that ever goes away. For most expats, the pros of living somewhere they have always dreamed of being well outweigh these cons, though, and they find plenty of ways to use technology to keep up the connection with their old friends and their home culture. Online gaming is one of the things a lot of expats find really helps, and it can often become surprisingly important as a part of their lives.
Of course, most people who use online gaming as expats are people who were into video games or mobile games before they moved away from their original countries, but it really can become almost as key a way to connect with people from back home as the more obvious things like reading the newspapers from their old home online or talking to their friends on Facebook or Skype.
Social Online Gaming
Even for people who aren’t super into the more ‘hardcore’ video games, spending a bit of time on a mobile game is pretty much the norm when on a flight or train, waiting for something, or just relaxing a little. When you consider a lot of these games have a social element, where you can help your social media friends or compete with them, this can give expats something to do that helps them stay connected with their old friends in a way that is more natural feeling than a forced sounding ‘how are you doing’ message in their inbox every few weeks! While the most famous social games like Farmville have fallen out of fashion, there are still lots of online mobile games with lots of players that allow players to help each other out, play head to head, or just chat while they play.
One on One Online Gaming
If you have one friend you’d like to spend some online time with talking a bit more personally than you tend to on social games, there are lots of console type games that are great for playing against another person while you talk to them online in real time. From early fighting games like Street Fighter through to early RPGs like the first generation Pokémon games, one on one play has always been a big part of gaming, but now VoIP and online gaming are so much more stable, the experience is just as good with thousands of miles between you as it was via a link cable on your old Game Boy!
Massively Multiplayer Online Games
A lot of popular games have online modes where you and either your friends or some other people looking for a game can play together, and this can be a cool way to meet new people as well as connect with your old friends to have fun when you are far away. Games like Call of Duty and Borderlands 2 are so popular for online play that there are always people online waiting to join teams, so if you are lonely any time day or night there is always someone to play with. What can be even more interesting however are Massively Multiplayer Online games. If you join good World of Warcraft or Minecraft servers (to name just two of the biggest online games), there are all kinds of people who are heavily immersed in the game and spend a lot of time there. You can invite your old friends to join too and hang out with them in a virtual world, or just explore and meet new people!
It is strange how something as trivial as video games can really help expats feel connected as they start their new lives!