When students move away to university in the UK, they may only see their friends and family from home every three months or during reading weeks and term breaks. In between these long terms, students can use a range of methods for contacting home and this is no different for students who study abroad.
Make a phone call is one of the easiest options as the majority of adults own a mobile phone, however it can also be the most costly. Before moving away, contact your mobile phone provider to see if there are any deals to make phoning home or certain numbers cheaper. Better yet, there are cheap international or European phone cards that you can purchase to use on public phone booths.
Whatsapp is a great app that Android and IOS users can use to call and text their loved ones for free via WiFi. However a word of warning, this app requires the internet to work so use only when you are in an area with safe WiFi to avoid an extortionate monthly bill.
Nobody can fault the old-fashioned method of sending a letter to keep in touch, there is something exciting about sending a letter to someone and awaiting their reply. If you do choose this method of communication, don’t send money or sensitive information as it can lost on the way.
E-mailing is s safe, fast and instantaneous way of contacting your loved ones. Simple to use and completely free, you won’t receive the charges or waiting times that come with other forms of communication. For students living abroad, it is best to e-mail on a computer when you are connected to a secure internet connection, if you complete the action on your Smartphone you could end up going over your internet usage (which can be costly!)
Millions of people have social media accounts and this is another great way to keep in contact and update your loved ones that you are safe and well. Updating your Facebook or Twitter account is simple enough and it shows people on your friends list that you are having a great time!
Skype is a more personal way to keep in touch. It is a program that offers video messaging by connecting to the internet and it can be used on most mobile phones and computers. Completely free, it allows you to physically see the person you are talking to which is a fantastic way to overcome any feelings of homesickness.
If you’re feeling quirky you could alway send postcards with snippets of information and get your family and friends to keep them for when you come back. You can save them as a reminder of your time studying abroad! Remember to not write any sensitive information on them as they’re very easy to read or pick up.
Fly back home
Another way to stay in touch is to actually travel back home for those important celebrations or unexpected events. Travelling back during term breaks, reading weeks or even for a long weekend is a great way to keep in touch with your loved ones.
Leave the right information
Before you leave, write down all the important information that your friends and family need to know. This will include your university telephone and email address, the address of where you are studying, the number of the local police or authority department, the telephone operator services, all of your contact details (mobile, landline, email etc.) and the contact information of any friends you meet during you time studying abroad.
Write everything down
We have become heavily reliant on technology but it can sometimes fail us. It is vital to write down everything you need before you leave such as friends and families mobile numbers, Skype names, addresses and other important information in case you lose your phone or laptop. Keep a copy in your suitcase and place it somewhere securely in your room when you arrive in case of emergencies.