How do you deal with the homesickness and communicating with family and friends given the time difference?
This is an excellent question. The UAE is 9 hours ahead of Montreal. I have to say first of all that I have made a great group of friends here that keep me occupied and keep my mind of my family and friends at home. This really helps with the homesickness. Making friends is essential when you teach/live abroad. You must find a group of friends that you can laugh with, vent to and hang out with. This will be key to keeping your sanity especially when work is not going well.
Next I will say that social media and technology are you best friends. Here is a small list of a few essential items I would suggest you possess if you are teaching/living abroad:
1. Email--stay in touch with everyone. I have an iPhone and all of the following things I talk about I can access all day from my phone, all you need is data.
2. Facebook-- I only joined Facebookin April when I knew I was moving out here, it is wonderful way I stay on touch with everyone at home as well as join groups that keep me up to date with events in and around the UAE.
3. Instagram-- I share amy pictures and my friends do the same .
4. Skype-- I have turned my 70 year old mother onto Skype and she loves it, she gets to see my cute little face (her words not mine) I can show her my apartment and it feels like we are together again.
5. Whatsapp-- THE BEST! I can voice message my friends here and at home and it feels like we re having a conversation for free!
6. Magic Jack: this is an app and you can also buy the device to connect to your computer. I paid 10$ to have a Montreal number (on top of the roughly 70$ for the device) and I can call Canada and US as much as I want. My friends and fam can also call me.
I must admit the 9 hour difference is a bit awkward but I mostly call my friends and family when I get home from work ( it is the morning in Canada) I make it work.
Ten years ago when I was in Japan I had none of this so I really feel connected to everyone, it is almost like I never left!
Hope that helps! Feel free to leave any questions I love to answer them.