Don’t forget to check in with your parents, friends, and family! Depending on where you are, keeping in touch with home can be a bit more challenging. WiFi in rural Africa or the Himalayas is going to present a significantly different communication challenge than a 4G LTE connection in Buenos Aires. With that in mind, here are some tips for keeping in touch:
Ensure that you have access to Pitt Passport: The University now uses a multi-factor authentication system to access ANY University resources. This means that you will need to have multi-factor authentication set up before you go. You should also consider working with the Technology Help Desk to make sure the Duo Mobile will work in your host country or to obtain a FOB.
Remember that you need access to your Pitt Passport for your email, PeopleSoft, and more.
Be responsible for yourself: This means checking in with your providers, etc.
Set up communication services that work over cellular data AND Wifi. WhatsApp tends to be the most popular app for students, faculty, and staff. It works on just about every mobile platform, across WiFi and cell networks, and in just about every country where our students travel. Text messaging is available and voice and video calls are possible with a stronger connection. Best of all, it’s free (except data charges)! Just keep in mind that your friends and family back home will need to download the app.
Other options include Skype, Google Hangouts, Facebook Messenger, etc. Talk to your program manager about which option would be the best for your host country.
Have multiple communication options ready. Always have a backup plan! Your Pitt email might not work well on a slow connection, or Gmail might be blocked in a country that you are traveling to. WhatsApp servers can go down or Skype might be blocked. Make sure that you have more than one way to get in touch with home!
Keep a blog! You might not want to spend all of your time on the phone with your friends and family telling them what’s going on, but a blog can be a great way to keep everyone updated. We have a lot more information on what to think about when blogging here.