Matthew Benczkowski is an official CAPA blogger for fall 2016, sharing his story in weekly posts on CAPA World. A molecular biology major at the University of Pittsburgh, he is studying abroad in Sydney this semester.
In this week's post, Matthew shares his top 6 tips for staying in touch with family and friends back home while you're studying abroad.
“Homesickness hits hardest in the middle of a crowd in a large, alien city.” – Christos Tsiolkas.
Homesickness really hasn’t hit me yet, at least I don’t think so. I have been in Sydney for three weeks, and yet it feels like I have been here for about five days because time is moving so fast. I am caught in the hustle and bustle of it all, but I still remember that my family is almost 10,000 miles away and they worry. Keeping in touch is not hard, especially in a country where wifi is easily accessible. So let me share some of my tips on how to stay in touch, not only with your family, but all your friends as well!
1. INTERNATIONAL PHONE PLAN. My number one way of keeping in touch with my family is my Australian phone. I am on a prepaid phone plan through Optus Mobile, which very conveniently offers unlimited international calling to the US. This has come in handy because you will probably not receive calls because the person calling you will get charged. When you call the US, the other person does not get charged, only the caller does. This allows you to pick and choose when to call and who to call. In Australia, I am currently 14 hours ahead of my hometown of Erie, PA, so there are limited times when I can actually call my family. I have to call between 8AM and 12-noon, or 10PM and midnight Australian time because that means it is 6PM to 10PM, or 8AM to 10AM back home. So far I have called my grandparents and my mom and dad, and because only my mom is on Facebook. Every call can last well over an hour because my family wants to hear about everything happening so far!
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