Don’t let worries about losing touch with friends and family stop you from teaching English overseas. There are plenty of ways to stay in touch:
Instead of sending out impersonal mass emails, or worse, falling out of touch because you don’t have time to email everyone, why not set up BootsnAll blog? Friends and family can check in for news and pictures when you update and when they have time.
Mobile phones in most of the world can send sms — but if you will be texting someone in the US, check that their phone can send and receive international sms. I currently pay about 17cents to send international sms from Slovakia with a pre-paid SIM card, and incoming calls are always free. If you are set on bringing a phone from the US, go ahead and ask your provider, but be warned that it is frequently cheaper just to buy a new phone and SIM card after you arrive than to buy a multi-band phone and then pay roaming.
If you’ll have any internet access at all, consider downloading Skype for free and buying a $10 earpiece-type headset from an electronics store. Skype-to-Skype calls are free, so get your friends and family download it too and you are set to go. I was slightly suspicious at first — why would something that is usually so costly (international phone calls) be offered for free? However, Skype does charge for Skype-to-landline calls (which for many international locations cost 2 cents a minute) and by people buying Skype voicemail or “real” phone numbers. Also check out some nifty Skype phones on the Business Travel Logue. Yahoo and MSN offer similar services.
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It really is that simple.
I know. But don’t laugh too hard; it can be nice to receive mail in a new place. Be careful with the address you give though: I once gave out an address and included the name on the doorbell, which I assumed matched the one on the mailbox. First of all, it didn’t match, and second, it turned out that “Hisnik” meant “janitor” in the local language, and so my one and only letter was returned to my friend, and via Kuwait, no less. The postman must have had a good laugh at the envelop (To Katie, c/o The Janitor). If you have an urgent letters or packages that need to be delivered, consider having them sent to your school.
With all these options you might just end up being better connected to friends and family from abroad!