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14 Inexpensive Ways to Connect Back Home

Communication with friends and family members is important for students living in a foreign country. As technology improves, it makes it easier and cheaper for students to maintain contact with home. Especially when they first arrive and get settled in. Contacting home at this point is very important because families often worry about their loved ones. Here are some of the more popular communication technologies students use:

Cell Phones: You might find it is less expensive to buy a cell phone with international calling plan or USA Sim Card in your home country. The USA Sim Card, which can plug into international phones can be bought overseas and brought to the US.  Read more about cell phone service in the US

Google Hangouts: Use the internet to make free phone calls on your Android phone

Skype: Skype has a free service that connects people around the world through video and voice calls. It also has free instant messaging options as well. This works well for making video calls, allowing students to show what their living environment looks like, and providing families back home with a chance to see how their loved one is doing.  Some new smartphones have Skype apps so you can Skype via your phone.

Line Me:  Free service that connects people via instant messaging or video and voice calls.

Viper: Free service that connects other viper users via instant messaging or video and voice calls

What's App:  This is an internet phone and messaging system that you can set up on some new smartphones.

Ooma: Low cost international plans

Truphone: This is an internet phone and messaging system that you can set up on some new smartphones.

Vonage:  Some students use vonage phone service.  You can buy an inexpensive international calling plan.

Lingo: This is a device that uses Voice Over Internet Protocol allowing (“VoIP”) to allow you to make local and long-distance calls using the interent

Magic Jack:  The magicJack device uses Voice Over Internet Protocol (“VoIP”) to allow you to make local and long-distance calls to the U.S. and Canada using an existing internet connection.

Email : As most of you know, there are many free email account providers like Hotmail, Gmail and Yahoo! .  You probably will also receive a free email account through your school. Most likely you will be able to keep the same email address you have been using back home. 

Instant messaging: Faster than email and cheaper than texting, there are many options for instant messaging. Some are offered through email services, and some universities have their own system as well.

& Social media :Twitter, Facebook, Google +, LinkedIn, etc. - there are many social media outlets students can use to post updates about themselves, telling family and friends back home what they're learning and doing in the United States.

For many students, this is their first time away from home. While studying abroad is a big adventure, homesickness is also very common. Having multiple ways to connect back home can help students keep in touch and share stories about their experiences.  However, we also recommend to try and limit your time back home because it actually can make the time to acclimate to the US longer, and therefore, you will experience homesickness longer.  /p>

 

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