Studying abroad is a truly exciting time regardless of your destination. The fact that you’re traveling the world and building unforgettable memories while you make important connections and hone valuable skills make the experience truly one of a kind. However, there is one issue that troubles potential participants as well as their families – a lack of communication while in another country.
Of course, there is the option of using your cell phone abroad, but that comes with a huge bill that most travelers would definitely like to avoid. Fortunately, it is entirely possible to stay in touch while studying abroad, especially now that wireless internet is available nearly anywhere in the world. You just have to know how to work with the options available to you while you’re on the move.
Yes, using your wireless phone to make calls while in another country is expensive. However, there are ways to use your phone for calls and SMS-like messages that don’t involve incurring these debts.
- Using free calling apps
- Buying a prepaid phone card
- Upgrading your plan ahead of time
The most direct way to do this is by using any one of a number of free smartphone applications that can be used to make phone calls on Wi-Fi networks. When it comes to the question of how to stay connected to the while traveling, this is the most practical, direct solution.
If you’re traveling in an area that doesn’t have access to Wi-Fi services, however, those apps will be largely useless to you. That’s why it’s a great idea to have a prepaid phone card on hand as a second option for using your phone while traveling abroad. You simply pay for the card up front and then use the minutes you’ve purchased for no additional cost. Once those minutes are used up, you can always choose to buy another in order to make more direct calls to friends and family.
Is your phone plan based in the US? You may even have the option to temporarily upgrade your phone plan to one that supports international calling. This will, of course, make your monthly bill a bit higher, but you’ll be able to change it back once you return home.
While traveling abroad, you’re going to find yourself busy more often than not, especially if your stay is a short-term one. Therefore, it might behoove you to use a communication method that you can participate in during your scarce free time. While making phone calls involves calculating time zone differences and arranging call times with your loved ones, you can send an email – and read your responses – at any time (assuming you have internet access, of course).
If you don’t have the time to send individual emails, messages or phone calls to everyone on your list, using a social media platform might be a good alternative. This allows you to reach out to your loved ones in a whole new way.
- Update everyone on your status at once to save time
- Upload picture of your adventures
- Share videos you’ve taken during your experience
- Easily see and answer messages from friends and family
Keep Your Wi-Fi on Hand
As you can see, many of these suggestions rely on having access to the internet. While this is a service you’ll normally have in hotels and other accommodations, it might be wise to keep a portable Wi-Fi device on hand at all times, just in case. These give you an anywhere, anytime Wi-Fi hotspot, allowing you to access the internet with your phone, tablet, laptop and other devices for a small daily fee, no matter where your travels might take you.
Aside from paying bills, the snail mail service likely isn’t something you’ve used much recently, especially when it comes to communicating with your loved ones. It’s slow, not always entirely reliable and is inconvenient at times. However, this is one of your only options that doesn’t involve the use of wireless internet. If you find yourself in an area that is devoid of Wi-Fi access (a rare possibility, but a possibility nonetheless) and have no way to purchase a prepaid phone card, you may need to resort to sending and receiving letters the old-fashioned way.
When you stop to take a look at the resources available to you, it becomes clear that staying connected while traveling can be as easy or difficult as you want to make it. How you want to approach the issue is entirely up to you, your travel budget and your loved ones.
However, one thing is for certain – you should never let the worry of a lack of communication prevent you from pursuing this rewarding experience. Learn more about the places you can visit while studying abroad and contacting International Business Seminars with any questions you might have.