We recently took a look at the process of repatriating an overseas inheritance, something that is increasingly likely to occur with an estimated 4.9 million British nationals living abroad. This isn’t unique to Britain; according to the UN report on International Migrant Stock from 2015, people from right across the globe strike out to live and work in a new country. The reasons range from better educational and career opportunities to retirement in a more temperate climate or perhaps a more relaxed pace of life.
The result of this migration is that many people, whether they travel or not, are likely to have connections all over the world. From international in-laws to friends and colleagues all over the planet, our connections all go towards building a global society. Improved communications technology means that distance is no longer a barrier to keeping in touch. Gone are the days of expensive long-distance phone calls with an awkward time delay. Services such as Skype allow people to see each other as well as chat anywhere there is an internet connection.
Technology can make both the emotional connection and the practicalities of overseas relationships easier to manage. Grandparents can log in to Skype to watch their grandchild blow out the candles on their cake, for example, and join in the singing of happy birthday as if they are there in the room. Equally, they can use online facilities such as an international payments account to send money in local currency for gifts at the click of a button. The same solution could be used to help out a friend or family member stranded overseas or for someone working overseas to send money back home to the UK.
One of the criticisms of internet technology is that it is creating a generation who are glued to their screens instead of exploring the world. However, those same connected screens also support distant adventures, allowing everything from finances to business meetings and even gossip sessions between friends to continue to take place, wherever in the world they live.
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