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Students calling home from abroad


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I mentioned this in another post, but I decided it would be more useful in a post by itself. 

 

While studying abroad, my college student has used a Skype subscription that allows her to call the US as much as she likes for $2.99 a month. It works exactly like a regular phone call on my end, and pretty much like a normal call on her end. This works great for us, because she knows there is one day a week that I wait for a child at one place for 30 minutes and then at another place for another 30 minutes. Even though this was a great time for her to talk to me, I don't have to have a computer/device with Skype on it for a video call during this down time. A regular phone call works great. She can also talk to her sibling during the time we drive between activities and on the way to pick up another sibling. Then she can talk to the 2nd sibling during the 25-minute drive home. Once we reach home, she talks to anyone at home.

 

Also, if I need/want to talk to her about something, I send her a text asking her to call when she has time, and she calls as soon as she can. This is helpful when things come up that are easier to figure out in a conversation rather than e-mail. 

 

Info on this plan is at the bottom of this page. https://secure.skype.com/en/calling-rates?wt.mc_id=revamp

 

There is also a 30-day free trial for the unlimited world subscription, which is normally about $15 a month. Here is the link https://www.skype.com/en/offers/unlimited-world-calling/

 

 

One of my high school kids is going on a multi-country summer trip, and I may enable the data on his phone, so he can call me when he wants/has time. He will only be gone 2 weeks, so I have not decided yet if he would even have time to call. (International data & texting is included in our phone plan.)

 

Before she discovered this plan, it was difficult to find a time for my daughter to call home when we would be home and a computer would be available to take her call. After she discovered this plan, she called whenever she wanted. It has definitely helped us to stay in touch during her study abroad time. So, I wanted to share this information with anyone whose student is travelling abroad. 

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Thanks for this--just signed her up.  

Our original plan for my China-bound daughter was to do the international SIM card, either buying one when she gets there or getting it off of Amazon in advance, but the program people say there have been issues with the cards lately.  They strongly advised using an international option on your existing cell phone plan instead.  I was never clear on exactly what the rationale was for that, but out of an abundance of caution, we signed her on for the $40/month international add-on with Verizon.  Now we also have the $2.99 Skype plan for back-up, so thanks, LC.  In my heart of hearts, however, I just wanted to go with something that will require nothing from her once she lands, 'cause I know that, left to her own devices, she will never bother to figure out a way to contact me!  She'll just come back in 9 weeks and say, "Oh, it was fun," and that's all I'll ever get from her.  This raising your kids to be independent and self-reliant has its downsides!

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When I was an exchange student in Russia in the 90s I called my parents TWICE. The whole trip... several months-- TWICE. I was a horrible child...

 

I talked to my parents once a month I think during the year I was in Japan? I wrote very few letters, I was horrible at it!

 

 

This was back in the 90's as well :)

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When I was an exchange student in Russia in the 90s I called my parents TWICE. The whole trip... several months-- TWICE. I was a horrible child...

Yes--you were! I trust that they never let you forget it???

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I mentioned this in another post, but I decided it would be more useful in a post by itself. 

 

While studying abroad, my college student has used a Skype subscription that allows her to call the US as much as she likes for $2.99 a month. It works exactly like a regular phone call on my end, and pretty much like a normal call on her end. This works great for us, because she knows there is one day a week that I wait for a child at one place for 30 minutes and then at another place for another 30 minutes. Even though this was a great time for her to talk to me, I don't have to have a computer/device with Skype on it for a video call during this down time. A regular phone call works great. She can also talk to her sibling during the time we drive between activities and on the way to pick up another sibling. Then she can talk to the 2nd sibling during the 25-minute drive home. Once we reach home, she talks to anyone at home.

 

Also, if I need/want to talk to her about something, I send her a text asking her to call when she has time, and she calls as soon as she can. This is helpful when things come up that are easier to figure out in a conversation rather than e-mail. 

 

Info on this plan is at the bottom of this page. https://secure.skype.com/en/calling-rates?wt.mc_id=revamp

 

There is also a 30-day free trial for the unlimited world subscription, which is normally about $15 a month. Here is the link https://www.skype.com/en/offers/unlimited-world-calling/

 

 

One of my high school kids is going on a multi-country summer trip, and I may enable the data on his phone, so he can call me when he wants/has time. He will only be gone 2 weeks, so I have not decided yet if he would even have time to call. (International data & texting is included in our phone plan.)

 

Before she discovered this plan, it was difficult to find a time for my daughter to call home when we would be home and a computer would be available to take her call. After she discovered this plan, she called whenever she wanted. It has definitely helped us to stay in touch during her study abroad time. So, I wanted to share this information with anyone whose student is travelling abroad. 

 

If you get Iphones on both ends, you can talk on Facetime, both video and/or audio, at any time without extra expense. That's what we do.  Of course, you both have to be in wifi (so at home, for us), or you will get charged on international minutes.   An IPod or iMac will work too.  We used the old iPod for a very long time until it quit. 

 

Edited by TranquilMind
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I have family outside the US whom I keep in touch with using Viber or Line. Using these apps abroad does depend on wifi being available. Only dh has a data plan while dc and I depend a lot on our home wifi and free wifi outside the home to stay in touch with each other. Best of all, it's free. When we went to London a few months ago without ds, we were able to text and talk to him using Line's calling feature.

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When I was an exchange student in Russia in the 90s I called my parents TWICE. The whole trip... several months-- TWICE. I was a horrible child...

 

I don't think you were horrible.

 

My daughter was in New Zealand for about five months in 2011 as part of a junior year semester abroad.  We communicated via Skype (video not phone) as well as by email; she did not have a phone during that time.  I feel fortunate that there are so many modes of communication available to us these days.

 

Regards,

Kareni

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First time dd went abroad, we signed did the international through our Verizon. She used it zero times. We Facetimed. Now, when she is overseas, we just keep connected with Facebook messages. For some unknown reason, Facetime will not work on our phones anymore.

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It's interesting how times have changed as to what we expect our children to do while they're traveling.  (And I expect it too!   :D))  When I traveled to Europe and lived there for several months in the 80's, I called home only once.  Of course it was very difficult to do that back then.  I had to first call an operator, and then wait around at the phone center in the local post office for about an hour while the operated connected the call.  When my dh and I lived in the Middle East, also in the 80's, I was not able to call home once.  Only snail mail then!

 

Now we have an emergency cell phone that works internationally with a global sim card and about $10 credit on it.  My kids generally use it only once or not at all on an international trip.  The rest of the time they can FaceTime or Skype for free.  I love hearing from them, but I also like to be respectful of their international experience, and not make them feel like they have to stay too connected to home during that time.   :)

 

Edited by J-rap
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Of course, being the 90s -- constant communication was not the norm. No e-mail. No cell phones. Etc.

 

I think I did write to them.... but I think I wrote to my boyfriend a lot more LOL

 

In the 90s, my dad purchased a 1-800 number to convince us kids to call him. We could call anytime, anywhere. No need for a LD plan.

 

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Did it work?

 

 

WE called him. Every other week? Sometimes every day when it was exciting. Sometimes we'd let 3 weeks slip by when life got busy.  So yeah, it worked.

 

And my parents were not rich. They were not doing this with grocery money,  but they prioritized this.

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I am in one EU country, eldest boy is in the USA, and middle boy is in a different EU country.

 

We have had better connections through FB calls than Skype. But most communication is through FB messages.

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