Bring Your Pen Pal Home!

Do you have a pen pal? Someone you’ve known for a long time, maybe years, but never met face to face? Sure, with today’s social media platforms most of us know people we’ve never met in person, but seldom with the same level of intimacy you get with a good, old fashioned pen and paper pen pal. A pen pal gives us a window into a lifestyle and culture vastly different from ours, more international. Calling someone your pen pal is high praise indeed.

There are many benefits to having a pen pal. The slower pace of writing by hand and waiting for mail to be delivered makes for a deeper relationship than many of our more immediate ones. The comfort we can gain from having someone to selectively share our lives with without fear of judgment has innumerable positive effects. Possibly the most important benefit, though, is the knowledge to be gained about life in another country and culture.

If you’ve known your pen pal for a long time, you’ve most likely know them very well. You’ve shared aspects of your life and culture with them that you thought they’d find interesting, and they’ve done the same for you. Eventually, you’ll want to have them visit you. Here are a few tips to help make the visit a successful and satisfying one for everybody;

  • Consider your pen pal’s interests and hobbies and try and plan activities that suit those interests. If your pen pal enjoys playing a musical instrument, planning to see a concert might be a good idea. Ask your pen pal what she would like to do while there.
  • Keep cultural and religious differences in mind when planning food, activities and sleeping arrangements. A devout Buddhist will not enjoy a fishing trip unless you don’t catch anything, for example. Also, different cultures have different expectations of privacy and sleeping arrangements. Make sure to discuss these issues with your pen pal before the visit.
  • Remember that your pen pal’s written English skills may be well ahead of her spoken skills. For him or her to fully enjoy her visit, it is important to make sure she has the means to communicate effectively and to understand the conversations around her. Practice spoken communication in advance of the trip to reduce language shock.
  • Make sure not to spend all of your money on making international calls to arrange a visit
    and the details. It won’t be a very fun visit if you can’t afford to do anything.

If you are considerate of your pen pal’s needs and anticipate potential difficulties, you are sure to have a wonderful visit with a very important person in your life.

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Jillian Johnson is a professional marketing content writer who blogs on a variety of topics. Follow her @MissWritey.

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