It's easy to lose contact with a friend once he's moved to another country. The great distance between the two of you creates a new barrier and makes keeping in touch a challenge. Living in different time zones, for instance, can cause confusion on when to call or chat online. Additionally, if your friend has to learn another language, she may not have time to make regular contact. In the interim, both of you will have moved on in some way---different jobs, different apartments, different phones. Drifting away is common, even if it unintentional. However, you can find your friend and get back in touch; follow some specific steps to help you do that.
- Skill level:
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Things you need
- Pertinent information about your friend
- Access to someone who speaks the language (if it's other than your own)
Gather what you know about your friend---his name, profession, workplace, address and so forth. Make note of any remarkable characteristics your friend has, such as a unique tattoo, scar or personality trait. The more you know about your friend, the better the chance you'll have of finding her.
Search for your friend online first. The Internet is a powerful tool, and most people are connected with it, even abroad. Look for a Twitter, Facebook or MySpace account using what you know about your friend. Make use of search engines designed to comb through public records to locate your friend. Searchemail.com is an excellent resource that searches for new e-mail addresses based on account holders' old ones. People-search-global.com is a people finder that allows you to search by country. Whitepages.com allows you to search international phone numbers and addresses. (See the References section for links to all three of these services.)
Check with your friend's last place of employment. Chances are she's still there, and even if she isn't a co-worker or manager may remember her and be able point you in the right direction. If your friend has left that job, the company may still need to mail his tax information to him. The address they have for your friend, even if not current, will get you a step closer to finding her.
Contact the Chamber of Commerce, town hall, post office or local library in the area your friend last lived. Provide all the information you have on him. Because such agencies record personal information for tax and census purposes, your friend's addresses and phone numbers should remain on file.
As a last resort, check with the local police department and hospitals. You most likely will not need to file a missing person's report; however, life happens in other countries just as it does here. Your friend may have sprained an ankle or got a speeding ticket during her stay. A thorough explanation of the situation combined with a knowledgeable description of your friend could yield results.
Tips and warnings
- If you don't speak the language, get an interpreter. Ubiqus.com provides a database of interpreters who offer their services for a fee. Ask your local college for staff interpreters or students majoring in foreign languages for free help.
- Police departments and other official institutions may have restrictions on giving out personal information. In this case, offer to leave your own contact information and ask that the agency give it to your friend, if possible.
- Most search engines are not free; you will likely either have to pay a onetime fee or buy a membership in order to obtain a full report on your friend.
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