Keep connected back home while studying abroad

“Keep connected back home while studying abroad”

by Julia Moreno via “Vidette Online”

(Archive Photo) Despite all of the technology that helps staying in touch easy, writing and mailing letters to loved ones while studying abroad makes for more personal communication.

Studying in a foreign country and being away from loved ones for an extended period of time is not easy; however, several computer and smartphone apps are now making it more convenient and accessible to stay in touch with friends and family.

The following are some of the best technology solutions that can help ease any feelings of homesickness when a college student is studying abroad:


This is a video app that is downloadable on smart phones or computers. The application is free and can be downloaded from the Internet. People with the application can call each other and not only hear but see the person. FaceTime is also another option for iPhone and iPad users. Wifi is a necessary thing while using this app.


A texting application that is free for both Android and iPhone users. It’s free of charge and both users can send and receive texts regardless of where each person may be located.

“Viber is also available to download on computers, making it very nice for parents who aren’t tech savvy,” Haley Daignault, a study abroad advisor with the Office of International Studies and Programs, said.


Kids Studying Abroad Are Now Never Out of Touch

Kids Studying Abroad Are Now Never Out of Touch

by Beth J. Harpaz via “ABC News”

A generation ago, students on semester abroad were practically incommunicado, aside from airmailed letters and one or two calls home. These days, from the minute the plane lands, kids studying overseas are connected with home via Skype, Facebook, and messaging apps like Viber and WhatsApp.

Has technology altered semester abroad by making it impossible to immerse yourself in another culture? Or does staying in touch simply increase comfort levels, easing both homesickness and parental worries?

Jane Tabachnick of Montclair, New Jersey, remembers airmailing letters to her parents when she studied in Paris for nine months at age 21, long before the cellphone era. “I knew they were worried and that they’d be waiting by the mailbox,” she said. “It seemed like an eternity between letters.”

It was different when Tabachnick’s 21-year-old daughter lived in Russia and Paris as part of her studies at Rutgers University. They often conversed by Skype or GoogleChat. “My daughter is very mature and level-headed and I’m not a big worrier, but I’m a parent, and she’s across the world, and it was just so easy to be in touch,” Tabachnick said.

On the other hand, she said, the less she heard from her daughter the better, and not because she didn’t miss her: “When I hear from her a little less, I know she’s out having fun.”

Robbin Watson was forced to give up screen time with the home crowd when her laptop was damaged during a semester in Italy six years ago, when she was 19.

“I was devastated at first, wondering to myself, ‘How will I know what’s going on at home? How will I Skype my friends?'” she recalled.

But as time went on, her experience in Rome “drastically changed. I began to go out more, no longer running home from class to hop online. I no longer thought about what was going on at college and soon, I began to not even care.”

Looking back, she’s grateful that her laptop was damaged. Her advice for semester abroad: “Get rid of your smartphone. The whole point of studying abroad is to immerse yourself in the culture, the people, the language. Once you have Skype, Facebook and constant calls from parents, I think it really takes away from the experience and becomes a huge distraction.”

Staying in touch is important to Daniele Weiss, 19, a New York University student who spent spring semester in Florence and is now in Israel for the summer. “My mom needs to hear from me every night before I go to sleep,” she said.

From Italy, six hours ahead of her parents, she’d call in the morning before her dad went to work, and then text throughout the day. She said most of her fellow American students also “stayed in contact with everybody from home. It was very comfortable and so easy. It’s not like I felt like I was missing out on the immersion. But I wanted to share things with my mom.” . . . .