Communication in Poland

While you are abroad it is important to find ways to stay in touch with family and friends. They will all be anxious to hear about your experiences, and you will want to know what is happening at home. A quick phone call or e-mail can make them feel much better.

It’s important to consider that being in touch as soon as you land might not be possible. So, don’t promise that you will call as soon as you land, because then when you don’t, they’ll panic. Instead, let them know you’ll get in touch with them as soon as you can after you get settled-in. Send a quick text or email when you can to ease their nerves, until you can make that call so they can hear your voice.

Some students have said that it is helpful to set up a communication plan with family and friends so everyone will know when you are available to make a call or receive a call. With time differences, inconsistent internet access, and the many excursions and activities you will be participating in, sometimes it can be difficult for you and your family to connect. Keep in mind that you are only abroad for a short time in the grand scheme of things, so you will want to make the most of it and be present for every experience that you have.

One way some students have stayed in touch and shared their experiences is by keeping a blog. This is an excellent way to keep folks at home updated, as it touches many people and can be read by friends and family at any time of day (like, when you’re fast asleep).

Communication Apps
Internet cafes are available in major cities in Poland and Wi-Fi facilities are also available in hotels, cafes and many public areas. Therefore, smart phone apps also work very well and allow students to text and call back home with ease. Viber, Whatsapp, and Facetime are all recommended. The most common communication tool however, is Skype, which allows for free calling from one Skype device to another or very inexpensive calling from Skype to a landline or mobile phone.

#Cisabroadtip add $5 to your skype account before going abroad to make calling phones back home easy right from the beginning. Have a Skype tutorial with your parents and other family prior to your departure. This will help them feel more at ease with how to communicate with you while you are abroad.

Cell Phones
Experienced travelers all agree: it is best to buy a phone and SIM card in-country once you arrive. Mobile services are widely available in Poland, and coverage is provided by GSM networks. Local SIM cards can be purchased from mobile rental agencies and a few local shops. Top-up cards (pay-as-you-go/pre-paid SIM cards rather than contracts) are available for purchase at phone shops, newspaper kiosks and few ATMs.

You can bring your American phone with you in case you need it in an emergency, but be sure to speak with your cell phone provider before you travel about their international data and calling fees.

#CISabroadtip: do your homework, familiarize yourself with the country calling code before you go! To call Poland from the U.S enter 011 and then 48 (country code) followed by the area code and phone number.