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Cell Phones and Communication
Feel free to share your study abroad experiences with family and friends by phone and social media, but remember to be present in the moment.
Access to wireless internet (Wi-Fi) will likely determine how much you can communicate for free or affordable prices. Across borders, Wi-Fi is a luxury and not assured. It may cost €20 an hour in a Paris café, or be free in a Beijing hostel.
Before you leave, run through the following tips to help you communicate while overseas.
Tips for communicating while abroad:
- Check your cellular plan rates for international calls, texts, and data before you leave (they can be really expensive!). Make sure you understand how much data you regularly use before buying a data package.
- It's cheapest to put your phone in "airplane mode" and rely on free Wi-Fi, especially for short programs.
- Spending all of your time on electronic devices chatting with friends back home will make you homesick and take time away from the present. Remember you went abroad to see and experience new things!
- Try to use only your laptop/cell phone when you really need to for class or updates back home. Spend your free time exploring the city, people-watching, journaling, etc.
- Cell phones and laptops can be attractive to thieves. Be discrete when using them and be careful where you store them.
- Stay in touch with NWACC on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter (@nwacc).
- Inspire other students to study abroad by tagging
@nwacc and using #NWACCAbroad when posting on social media.
Cell phone apps for staying in touch:
If you bring your cell phone and have access to Wi-Fi abroad, here are applications to consider:
- Skype allows video calls, voice calls, and texting for free while connected to Wi-Fi. You can also add money to your account and call land line or cell phones directly from the Skype app at an affordable rate.
- Viber also allows video calls, voice calls, and texting for free. Your Viber ID is your phone number, so there's no need to make an account name.
- WhatsApp is for texting and messaging, not audio calls. It connects to your phone's messaging system, showing alerts. The app costs $1 per year.
- Facebook Messenger can work at home or abroad for messaging and file sharing.
Remember, both you and the person with whom you want to connect generally must have the app installed and open when you're trying to connect.
Technology is always changing, feel free to do your own research as well.