Studying abroad can be exhilarating, especially when you're immersed in a culture for a period of time. To ensure that you stay healthy mentally and emotionally--and minimize culture shock--you'll certainly want to stay well-connected to your friends and family at home. Consider some of the following resources when you're trying to communicate cheaply with your loved ones.
Find Counseling Resources
If at any time, while abroad or here at home, you need support and counseling, you're welcome to contact K-State Counseling Services via phone at 785-532-6927 or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Counseling Services sees students with a wide range of problems from stress, homesickness, career decision-making and relationship problems, to more serious concerns such as eating disorders, trauma, or depression and anxiety disorders.
University Life Café was created to engage college students to promote emotional wellness that can lead to academic success. This includes identifying symptoms that lead to the prevention of suicide; the identification of chronic stress, depression anxiety and substance abuse, and the encouragement of constructive help-seeking behaviors—to enhance positive experiences and success while in college. This interactive website is one part of a comprehensive, campus-wide support plan that includes programming and training for students, faculty and staff, and the services of the Counseling Services at Kansas State University
Make International Calls
Mobile Phones and Devices
Your mobile phone or device may not work abroad, so contact your current provider to learn where your device will work. You also may rent or buy an international cell phone or a prepaid SIM card abroad. You can find international country codes at countrycode.org. For discounted phone services, visit the PicCell Wireless website or the Cell Hire website.
Skype is a great way to communicate cheaply. Calling from one internet-enabled device to another is free, and rates for calling a U.S. telephone from another device are relatively cheap. You may also use Skype for sending instant messages and chatting with friends or family. Visit www.skype.com to download the application to your device for free.
My VOIP Provider
MyVOIPProvider.com is a large computer-to-phone VOIP (voice over internet provider) service search engine that will allow you to find, compare, and rank a company’s calling rates for the destination(s) you wish to call. As many VOIP companies exist, this website may help you get the best price for your needs.
You may purchase phone cards in most general stores, in airports, or on the Internet. These cards are often customized for the destination you wish to call, and therefore may be cheaper than other services. Phone cards are especially useful when you can’t find a readily available internet connection. Visit www.phonecards.com to compare rates for different companies and locations.
Internet Cafes and WiFi Hotspots
Internet cafes and WiFi hotspots are widely available abroad and offer access to the Internet, e-mail, and messaging services, often for a fee. Cafes may have booths where you may make domestic and international calls. Although convenient, cafes and hotspots may be expensive when used for a length of time. Visit www.cybercafes.com or www.wifi.com to search for access.
Although it’s comforting to communicate with your friends and family from abroad, constant calls home may worsen your culture shock. Stay in touch, but make the best use of your time abroad!
Download the Making International Calls flyer (PDF)
Share Your Experiences
Use social media while abroad! Consider taking pictures or videos and posting them on a blog. Join Wildcats Abroad on Facebook, follow K-State Education Abroad on Twitter, add to Wildcats Abroad on our Pinterest page, or contact us to add your videos to our YouTube channel.
Vote in U.S. Elections
Although you may not be in the United States, you still have the right and opportunity to vote, provided that you are an American citizen over the age of 18. Be sure to apply for an absentee voter ballot to be mailed to your location overseas.
If you are a resident of Kansas and wish to vote by absentee ballot:
1. Download an application form, fill it out, and print out a copy.
2. Address a stamped envelope to the county in which you claim permanent residence (addresses for each of the counties in Kansas are included on the second page of the application form).
3. Mail your application (standard mail only--not online) so that your county receives your application by the deadline printed on the application. Be sure you are aware of the rules and costs of mailing from your host country by contacting a local post office.
You will then receive an absentee ballot at your overseas address, which you must fill out and mail back to your county of permanent residence. Your county must receive your ballot by no later than the closing of the polls (in Central Standard Time) on Election Day. The Kansas Secretary of State provides deadlines and further information.
If you are a resident of a state other than Kansas and wish to vote by absentee ballot:
1. Find absentee voter information on the website of your state. The easiest way to do this is to do a web search of your state's name and the term "absentee voting." Every state is different, so you may have to do some research. Most states offer voting information through their Secretaries of State, Boards of Elections, or by county of residence.
2. Check the deadlines for the absentee ballot application. In some states, this deadline may be very soon, so be careful to apply early.
3. Download, fill out, and mail the application form(s) to the appropriate agency in your state. You should receive your absentee ballot soon thereafter, which you must fill out and return by a certain date, depending on your state's voting laws.
Be sure to take the time to vote! Contact the Education Abroad Office at (785) 532-5990 or by email at email@example.com if you have any questions or would like us to help you find out more about how to vote.