The several ways international students can plan to stay connected to home

Each year ten to twelve of thousands of international students travel to the United States to attend a college or university. Some travel great distances, across more than four times zones and two continents.

During an undergraduate or graduate program, many changes occur in an international student’s life. They experience new customs, food, music, people, and educational system all at once. As the years progress, students become more involved on campus in a number of activities and organizations, all with an increasingly busy class schedule. These experiences are often exciting, but at other times can be daunting, so sharing these moments with friends and family is essential to the well-being of an international student.

Here are several ways international students can plan to stay connected to home:

Regular Virtual Conversations, Phone Calls

Setting a regular appointment to chat with family and friends can make the distance seem less far, whether it’s virtually, on the phone or through text messages.

Another communication barrier relates to the high cost of long-distance phone calls and, sometimes, bad network clarity.

For example, some students add an international texting feature to their phone plan, which can cost as little as $10.00 per month, allowing them to send up to 100 international texts every month. Others rely on pre-paid calling cards, which can be purchased just about anywhere, from local grocery stores to the Internet.

Post on Social Media, Blogs, YouTube

Many international students start travel blogs and YouTube channels to capture their experience of studying in the U.S. – and in the process, also make new friends and inspire prospective international students to study abroad.

Video Calling and Media

The most popular and inexpensive way of keeping in touch these days is through video conferencing over the Internet using Skype. Skype is a free service when “calling” from computer to computer.

“The only problem is when occasionally there are so many people using Skype at the same time that it causes Skype to become slow or unresponsive.”

But there are plenty of other free options for chatting with friends and family as well, such as e-mail, Windows Instant Messenger, Yahoo Messaging, AOL IM, Twitter, and Facebook.

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