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France phone help for French semester abroad

France phone help for French semester abroad

Oct 24th, 2007, 03:35 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Aug 2003
Posts: 267
France phone help for French semester abroad

Hello everyone,

I hope you can advise this Luddite Mom about cell phones. Our daughter will be spending next semester in Toulouse. She'll be staying with a host family, so perhaps they will have an internet phone service, but we don't know that yet.

She'll need to be in touch with her French family and friends, so she needs something local. And she needs to be able to call us and her American friends, just as we need to be able to call her.

I'm dumb as dirt about this stuff, so I would welcome your thoughts and suggestions. Many thanks.
jgmc is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 05:10 AM
Join Date: Sep 2007
Posts: 2,522
As long as she has a decent
internet connection she can
use Skype to call to other
computers worldwide. Free.
Have her take a headset.

For a couple of cents an hour
you can buy time with Skype
that allows you to call out
to other telephones, not just computers.

She can buy an inexpensive pay as you go cell phone once she arrives. You can always get an unlocked GSM cellphone (to work it Europe it MUST be GSM) either on eBay or somewhere
like TigerDirect before she leaves.

I bought a phone in Amsterdam this summer for 29 Euros and it included 15 Euros worth of talk time so they are quite cheap.


ParisAmsterdam is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 05:52 AM
Join Date: Nov 2006
Posts: 7,438
Our solution when our son spent a semester in Madrid was two fold. First, he bought a local cell service. His service only charged for outgoing calls and not incoming. Don't know if that is comon in France or not. That solved the local call problem.

Through our local LD carrier we had an European calling plan. Don't remember the exact details but it was $5.95 a month plus a per minute charge that was less than dime. More reasonable than his calling from Europe. With his class schedule he always had a break around 2 to 3, 2 to 4, so that was our calling time. Obviously did call everyday but that was our routine time to call if we were going to call. Second, if he needed to reach us, he just called us. And we would turn around and call him back since it was cheaper for us to call him.

Other than sleeping and eating he did not spend that much time with his Spanish family. I think it would have been inappropriate to send a lot of time on their computer/internet.
fmpden is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 06:13 AM
Join Date: Oct 2003
Posts: 32,690
DD spent 5 months in Spain and bought a phone when she got there. The plans in Europe are very different than in the US. Most are prepaid, but use charges vary depending which plan you select. Texting was cheaper between cell phones than calls, so that is what most of the students used. She needs to buy a phone there (quad band if you want to use it on future trips)and pick a plan that suits her schedule. When the minutes run out, you just add more.
kybourbon is online now  
Oct 24th, 2007, 06:37 AM
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 12,492
don´t count on using family´s computer but her uni will defintely have a place for students.

skype is to be looked into.

also, as mentioned, buy local cheap cell phone with prepaid card and minutes.
probably under $50 at any shop. they are usually called "packs" in spain.. not sure in france.

there are also phone cards that are very cheap when used from a landline if family allows that occasionally to call the USA, too. they use up minutes faster from a phone booth and are not that advantageous.

as a student exchange delegate, counsellor and past president of an organization, i recommend you not speak frequently and allow her to indulge in the language and society, blocking out as much english as she can.

i feel there is too much unnecessary communication nowadays. it has changed the whole experience of going overseas, which in the most part is for the worse, as so many students hardly improve their speaking ability because they hang out with their OWN, talk to their friends and family DAILY or twice daily.. and write emails in their native language for hours.

this is far from immersion.

got a bit off track here with my exchange student sermon, but.. at least if the students are aware of what they are missing out on by delving into their own language so frequently, they might be able to control it better.

i am sure she will enjoy her stay!

lincasanova is offline  
Oct 24th, 2007, 06:39 AM
Join Date: May 2007
Posts: 7,875
Your daughter will definetely need a mobile phone to stay in touch and text with her French friends or classmates.
Skype and emails are good enough to stay in touch with you, but cannot replace a mobile phone.

I don't claim to know any mobile phone plan in Europe, but incoming calls should always/ usually be free.
Roaming charges for incoming calls apply when that French cell phone is operated in another network, e.g. if your daughter was traveling in Italy.
Cowboy1968 is offline  
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