One of the first tools international students shop around for when they arrive in the United States is a cellphone. Cellphones are an easy way for students to connect with friends and classmates at school, keep in contact with their work study employer and conduct personal business, whether it’s planning a group outing one evening or calling a landlord to get something fixed.
If a student is interested in calling internationally from the United States to keep in touch with friends and family back home, it is recommended he/she invest in calling cards because they tend to be a less expensive option than adding international fees on a cellphone bill.
There are many options for investing in cellphones. The most basic option is the USA Sim Card, which can plug into international phones brought over by students. This is a prepaid plan, and provides your phone with a new USA-based number.
The next options are monthly prepaid plans with nationwide coverage. This option is best for students who plan to use the phone for limited calls or emergencies, but the cost of the cellphone itself is separate from the plan. Services providers will offer a set amount of minutes – per a specific time period. If those minutes get used up, extra charges could occur. After that, the plans become more complicated, and it’s good for students to undertake some research before making a purchase.
Providers often offer a contract – usually for two years, which works for students studying under the HTIR Work-Study USA program. This contract can cover everything from the cost of the phone itself to minutes, texting and data usage. These plans are more expensive, and really are only recommended for students who need to have a smartphone with Internet access.
For more information, visit some of the larger cellphone service providers, including AT&T, Sprint, Verizon, T-Mobile and U.S. Cellular.
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