Keeping in touch!
It’s not too hard, whether you’re in the States or abroad, I promise!
The world’s pretty big, and suddenly, you know people from all over when you go to college. Summer comes, and your friends scatter to their homes or to summer opportunities. But, it’s easy to keep in touch, even though it seems as though the distances are unfathomable (and look it when you see a world map…).
Anyways, I’ll start with the States, actually! While I was home, it was super easy to keep in touch with everyone simply by using Facebook, and even Skyping every once in awhile! Not only that, but regular phone calls and text messages work quite wonderfully as well, particularly if you might be driving toward the city your friend is in at that exact moment.
However, over the past year, one super cool business has been expanding its services. Guys, Megabus is the best service you can find in order to travel across the country. Why? If you reserve seats well enough in advance, it only costs $1 (and a 50 cent reservation fee) to travel one way… No, I kid you not! Trust me, being a Tennessean, the minute it expanded its services from Nashville to Knoxville and Memphis, well, I jumped at the opportunity. Even if the city you want to go to is not a direct trip from your nearest big city, if you have the time, it is super cheap to travel across the entire country in order to see your friends! That’s what I did during the first few weeks of summer. I took a nice trip to Memphis for a friend’s birthday, I had the chance to see family friends and an old friend from my hometown who had moved, plus, on the way home, I stopped by Nashville to see another Vandy friend staying on campus! Best part of it? It’s super comfortable: the buses are clean, many of them are double decker (yes, double decker, like those fancy buses in London), and free WiFi!
So, now what about when you’re abroad? Same thing goes. Some Facebook, Skyping when you figure out a good time (with the consideration of different time zones), but texts and phone calls become a bit more complicated, right?
Well, that’s wrong, to a certain extent. Why? Let’s just say that Google is wonderful. They have this wonderful, cheap phone system through Gmail! You simply check what country you would like to call, see how much it costs for a land line and for cell phones (or whatever other categories they might create, such as certain phone companies), and then you buy credit.
Considering that I only have access to internet at work and on the weekends at family (meaning, I cannot Skype), this works wonderfully. My parents and I have set up a system where I send them a text message saying that I am free, and they go to the computer and call me then, if they are at home and free, too. That, or if you find it difficult to text someone that you’re free (for whatever reason, they don’t receive international texts), then you can inform your family and friends a good time to call you (maybe when you’re bored in a train) ahead of time (perhaps when you have internet, but no Skype), and voila! An easy way to keep in touch with people, even when you are stranded without the internet!
Of course, everyone’s experiences abroad are different, but using Google has worked wonders for me. Basically, just look around, and you’ll definitely find a way to keep in touch with everyone, one way or another. :)