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Technology 'curing home sickness among expats'

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Digital technology has fuelled all sorts of innovations in recent years, from the ability to transfer money online from country to country to communicating with people on the other side of the world in real time.

This means that while many people who have opted to move abroad may once have felt isolated from their friends and family back home, this is not as much of a problem today.

Indeed, research by NatWest International Personal Banking (IPB) has found that innovations such as Skype and Facebook are enabling many expats from the UK to stay in regular contact with their loved ones. As a result, they are less likely to feel out of the loop and homesick than people may once have done in previous years.

Dave Isley, head of NatWest IPB, commented: "Whilst moving abroad either to work or retire used to mean missing those milestone family events, the reality is that technology has lessened the extent of the emotional trauma or guilt of not seeing an important family event."

Indeed, he noted there is a "plethora" of online resources that are now available and have made it much easier for British citizens to relocate to another country without losing touch.

According to figures from NatWest IPB, 68 per cent of the expats it surveyed in 2008 cited missing friends and family as an issue for them.

However, just 47 per cent gave the same response in this year's poll – a reflection perhaps of the growing popularity of online tools and increased connectivity around the globe. Google documents were also said to be widely used by expats, along with Twitter, Picasa, webmail and YouTube.

Nevertheless, the poll did show there were some things about the UK people miss when they have relocated overseas, such as its television, groceries and pubs, as well as the British sense of humour.

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