3 Tips for Staying in Touch While Studying Abroad

One of the hardest parts about studying abroad is being separated from your friends and family.

To make your transition easier, there are a few ways you can talk to people back home. And don’t worry, you don’t have to spend a fortune to stay in touch.

Ditch your American Cell Phone

Using your American cell phone to contact your friends and family back home is probably the worst option while you’re abroad. Even if your phone allows these calls, they likely cost a lot. If you have a data plan, this probably costs more while you’re abroad, too.

My advice is to take your American cell phone with you in case of emergencies, but to keep it off for the duration of your trip. There are plenty of better options for keeping in touch.

Emails and Blogs

The easiest way to keep a group of people in the loop about your life abroad is through a message thread (through email or Facebook) or with a blog. This will save you time if you have a number of people you’d like to keep in touch with because you won’t have to fill everyone in individually.

If you have a blog, you can write weekly entries and upload pictures to share with your friends.


While I was abroad, Skype was by far the most useful tool for talking to my friends and family back home – you can video or voice chat with other Skype users.

One of my favorite features of Skype is one not many people I’ve talked to use. For a few cents a minute, you can call landlines and cell phones around the world off of your computer. You can pay as you go or set up an account and pay monthly.

This came in handy when I needed to call my parents but they weren’t sitting at the computer. Google is also offering a similar feature that allows users to call phones off their Gmail accounts.

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Selma Haveric

Selma Haveric

Selma Haveric is a senior at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign studying journalism and Spanish. When she’s not studying, she loves reading, traveling and bike riding. She’s currently deciding whether to go to law school or to postpone her studies for a year and teach English in Spain.
Selma Haveric

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