Required Cell Phones Abroad
For safety and security abroad, all CSB/SJU study abroad students are required to have a cell phone that works abroad, even when NOT connected to WiFi. This means you need a phone that is connected to a calling or data plan that works abroad. You are required to have your cell phone with you, turned on, and charged at all times, including when traveling outside your program location. We recommend you explore multiple options and obtain a phone and plan that meets your usage needs.
Generally speaking, you have 3 options for obtaining a working cell phone for study abroad:
- Use your current phone, but add on a plan that will allow for international use. This may be an international plan with your current phone provider, or you may choose a new provider who has an international plan that is more affordable, or better meets your needs.
- Unlock your current phone and purchase an international SIM card when you arrive onsite or an Esim prior to departure. This SIM will generally come with a prepaid data or calling plan, and is frequently a low cost option for students that allows them to use their current smartphone on data or cellular networks, while abroad. An eSIM is an embedded/digital version of a physical SIM card that allows you to gain more data service abroad.
- Buy an inexpensive local phone when you arrive on-site, along with a prepaid calling plan. This is also a low cost option, but note that if you plan to use your current smartphone for WiFi only, and a local phone for phone service, you will always be carrying 2 phones.
In all of these scenarios, data roaming can be very expensive, so try and use WiFi networks whenever possible. Save data and battery by turning data roaming off; you can still send and receive texts while your data roaming is off. Be sure to track your phone usage to avoid expensive overage charges.
Some programs have specific cell phone requirements. Your Program Director will notify you if that is the case.
Staying Connected using Apps and Internet-Based Tools
Past students and families have found apps and internet-based programs to be an easy and inexpensive ways to stay in touch. Some useful apps are listed below. These apps allow you to communicate with others using either data or while on WiFi, and can be easily downloaded from the iOS or Droid app stores.