Staying in contact with my friends and family was a big deal for me when I was coming abroad. Thankfully we live in the age of technology so I have the luxury of things like Skype to be able to catch up with my family. As far as contacting home though, you want to pace yourself. Yes I am sure that you miss home and you want to talk to your friends and family but don’t fall victim to the convenience of Skype and other such applications. If all you are doing is talking to people back home, you won’t be able to meet anyone new. Also, if you are talking to your family all the time, you will run out of stuff to talk about. So then you’ll just be sitting there. In silence. Staring at each other. Not as fun as it sounds folks. So try to figure out a Skype schedule with your friends and family. Mine is once a week. That way I talk to them fairly frequently but I am off actually doing things so I have stuff to talk about with them!
However, when it comes down to it, nothing is as awesome at connecting you to other people to the good old fashioned phone (well cell phone, so technically not that old fashioned.) I knew I would need something to keep in contact with the people I met here in Reading and to have in case of emergencies. It was pretty easy to get a phone here. Just a simple pay-as-you-go phone (they call it top-up here, by the way, so just remember that). The phones are not the high-tech phones you may have from back home, but let me tell you, these bad boys can take some serious abuse. My phones taken a tumble more than once and is barely scratched, I love it. The main thing to remember when dealing with top-up phones is pacing yourself. I seem to have this issue where I run out of credit faster than anyone else. I think it is because my name is Claire Turner, and I am a text-aholic. I didn’t realize it until my texting was actually counted but I am texting all the time. So here is a tip you will use often.
Only text when you need to! Not when you’re bored or because you’re trying to deal with awkward silence, only when you actually need to tell someone something. (Also, calling is usually cheaper so call them maybe?) Myself and my other fellow ISA students here at Reading seem to use Facebook as our main means of communication that helps a lot to keep your credit to last longer.
The two main top-up phones that I have come in contact with while here is Lycra and Lebara. My phone is Lebara as well as a few of the other students in my group. There is free Lebara to Lebara communication so that is really nifty. Although a tip I learned the hard way. The free Lebara to Lebara does not start until after the first time you top up. Communicating with people while in Reading, both here and back home is really simple you just have to remember to pace yourself! And the great thing about the University of Reading being a campus is that everyone is so close. So no need to Skype, call, or text, just pop over to their flat and knock on the door and have a chat face to face!