How to use Skype while studying abroad
I’ve gotten a few visits to the site lately from people who are looking for info on using Skype while abroad. First off, I just want to stress how great Skype is. It’s easy to set up and free to use. All you need is a web cam and you’re good to go.
What is Skype?
Never heard of Skype before? Here’s a description that I ripped right off the website:
“Skype is software that enables the world’s conversations. Millions of individuals and businesses use Skype to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. Every day, people also use Skype to make low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles.”
This is what it comes down to. You can use Skype to make video calls for free, and you can make calls to landlines for a fraction of a penny – seriously.
Why is this great for people studying abroad? It’s a pretty easy question to answer. International calls to your friends and family back home will cost a small fortune, and it’s also useful to call your friends at your abroad University. (If you do get a cell phone overseas – highly recommend that you do – you’re probably going to have to sign up for a pay as you go plan which can still cost you up to 15 to 20 cents a minute.)
Here’s how you get started on Skype:
- Head over to Skype.com. You’ll land on a page that has buttons galore that read “Download Now”. Click any one of them. The setup and installation will probably start on its own. Don’t worry if it doesn’t. Skype has instructions at the bottom of the page for self installation.
- It only takes about a minute and a half, and the only thing you should have to do is pick a username and provide your email address. When the installation is complete, it should put a shortcut on your desktop so all that’s left to do now is launch it.
- Now that you have Skype installed, you’ll need a web camera so people can actually see your face when you call them. I recommend Logitech for the simple fact that I’ve never had a problem with any of their products, whether it was a web cam or anything other of the 20 things I’ve bought from them.
- As for buying a webcam, almost all cams now have a resolution of at least 5 MP, shoot at 30 fps, and in HD 720p. If its main purpose is going to be video chatting, most options will have everything you need, but if I were to recommend one, it would have to be the Logitech HD Pro C910.
Look into getting a calling card. It’s really useful if you don’t have your laptop with you (like when you’re traveling). You’re ISIC can be used as a calling card, but if you don’t go that route be sure you can make international calls with the card you buy. And don’t forget, you can buy credits and call landlines directly from Skype.
If you have any questions or comments, please feel free to leave them below and I’ll get back to you!