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Study Abroad Student-Approved Methods for Staying in Touch

Alexis Cobau
December 10, 2013

As my first semester at IES Beijing comes to a close, my friends and I have just about mastered the art of staying in touch. With technology enabling all kinds of interaction across the world, I guess I really just don’t even understand how people used to stay in touch before the internet.

Best for Texts- Viber — A free app downloadable to almost any kind of smart phone. You use it with wifi and you can even make free international calls as long as both parties are connected to the internet. The only downside is you  both parties (you and the person you’re texting) both have to have viber downloaded. I didn’t find this much of an issue though (just force your friends to do it before you leave haha!). The international calling isn’t usually of the best quality but I use the texting on a daily basis.

Best for Calling – Skype — While skype definitely is what first comes to mind when people talk about communicating over long distances, did you know that you can buy a subscription and call mobile and landline phones with skype? The subscriptions are ridiculously cheap but totally worth it when you can make unlimited calls to anywhere in the U.S. for less than 5 dollars a month.

Best for Face to Face Contact – Tie – Skype and Facetime — The only downside to facetime is that, of course, you and the person you’re facetiming both need to have iphones (or apple computers), but, as far as my knowledge goes, it’s the only one where you only need an apple phone and wifi to do it. Skype, of course, is the old reliable in this aspect.  Free and so easy, even your grandma can figure out how to do it.

Know any better communication platforms? Leave a comment below if you have any suggestions!


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Alexis Cobau

<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">Alexis Cobau is a Junior at the University of Michigan, majoring in Chinese and International Studies with a concentration in International security, cooperation and norms. She is excited to be returning to China for the first time since her original foray into study abroad in Harbin, China on an NSLI-Y State Department scholarship as a rising senior in High School. This will be her sixth year studying Chinese and she can&#39;t wait to spend it exploring Beijing. When not practicing her Chinese characters and tones, Alexis enjoys reading, writing, drawing and cooking.</span></p>

2013 Fall
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University of Michigan - Ann Arbor
Asian Studies
International Studies
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