Affordable options to stay in touch for students taking a gap year in the UK

by ManoloMongeloes

Travelling means that you’re away from friends and family, and if you’re taking a full gap year you want to find the best ways to keep in touch for less.

There are a number of good options available and in this guide you’ll find information about some of them. In the article below you can read about the use of social media, mobile phones, VoIP systems from providers like Vonage UK, and messenger applications. What method would you use to contact friends and family back home?

Using social media to stay in touch

Facebook and Twitter have boomed in recent times and are viable options for international students taking a gap year in the UK. You can update people on what you’re up to, post pictures and keep in touch via private messaging. The downside of social media is the lack of interaction, however Facebook does have a nifty messaging service so you can chat to people in your network if they’re online. The real benefit of both is they don’t cost any extra on top of the internet connection fee.

Using facebook
Using facebook

Messaging and emailing

Another option is to use your laptop for messenger services like MSN. You can arrange to set up a chat with a friend back home and type live messages to each other. An alternative is to send long emails, updating all of your friends and family on what you’ve been doing. Using messaging and emailing is a relatively expense free system so is a good option when you’re not craving the more personal approach.

Using a laptop for messenger services
Using a laptop for messenger services

Mobile phone plans

You can use your current mobile phone or purchase one once you’re in the UK. You should be able to get a good deal if you’re planning on using the phone for a year, so in this case it’s probably better to set up a package when you arrive.

The best thing to do is to contact your network provider to see what package they can offer you and then compare it to the one you might be able to get in the UK. Although you’ll be spending money, you’ll be able to hear the voices of your loved ones back home and sometimes this can be priceless.

Mobile Phone
Mobile Phone

Set up a VoIP system

All you need is an internet connection, VoIP adaptor and touch tone telephone. You’ll pay a set monthly fee and then make huge savings on international calls. With some packages you can even get free calls (excluding the fee) depending on what deal you have and what country you call.

VoIP systems are great for international students in the UK, whether you need to make cheap international calls to Turkey, Australia, Spain or somewhere else in the world. They work by routing calls through an internet connection and are a great way of saving money compared to mobile phone plans.

What method would you use to contact friends and family back home?
Useful links

Visit Britain
Website giving you info about all the things you can do when you visit Britain.

International Students
Guardian section on international students.

Education UK
Everything you need to know about studying in the UK.

Updated: 11/02/2012, ManoloMongeloes
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