Transitioning to a foreign country is often easier if one stays closely connected to their loved ones across the globe. Below is some information that may help plan how to stay in touch with family and friends while you are studying in the United States.
CELL PHONE PLANS AND TELEPHONES
In the United States, most phone numbers require you to dial all 10 digits of the number, which includes the area code. The first three digits of a telephone number is the area code of a specific city, county, or area in the United States. You may find that some students have cell phones with different area codes because they obtained their phones when living in another state, which has a different area code.
Cell phone coverage is generally charged by the minute so depending on the amount of conversation you think you may need, you should look for the plan that offers you the best deal. Some cell phone plans have great rates for calling certain countries and allow you to prepay your minutes. Be cautious and ask questions before you sign a contract, because there may be hidden costs and some services may be limited to specific regions.
If you would like to connect a local phone line in your home, you can ask your landlord if there is a preferred local phone line provider that the building has a contract with. Another option is to get a digital phone line. Following the trend of Skype (skype.com) and other internet based voice communication systems, companies like Vonage (www.vonage.com) and Comcast (www.comcast.com) offer digital phone services at a flat rate for local and long-distance calling within the U.S. and Canada. These plans also offer cheaper international phone calls than regular cell phone providers.
You can purchase long-distance phone cards from some convenience stores. Most grocery stores sell a variety of phone cards so make sure to ask them about the best card to call a certain country.
INTERNET AND CABLE TV
There are also a number of internet and cable providers in the United States. Upon admission to TCSPP, you will be given a campus-specific International Student Resource Guide with more information about internet and cable companies in your area.
Once admitted to The Chicago School, your will receive more information about telephone plans, internet companies, etc. specific to the the campus you will be at.