'Connecting with friends and family back home is easy when you’re studying in the UK. You can get good deals on international calls from the UK and international parcel delivery is very reliable. High speed internet access is also available in your UK place of study and many libraries, shops and cafes. '
The cheapest way to make international and UK phone calls is usually with a mobile phone. Many packages offer discounted long distance call rates and you can even find deals designed for international students.
Typical UK mobile phone packages include:
- Pay-monthly plans: you sign up with a mobile phone network and agree to use the network's service for a minimum period at a fixed monthly cost. You will usually be offered a choice of free or paid-for phones and different amounts of inclusive minutes, text and video messages to use each month.
- Pre-paid plans: you sign up with a network and pay a minimum of 12 months' service in advance, at a cheaper rate than monthly plans. If you use the phone more than the agreed amount, the network will bill you monthly for the extra time/calls.
- Pay-as-you-go plans: you buy credit for calls and messages in advance, either directly from the network or in the form of vouchers. You use the phone until the credit runs out and then you buy more credit. No contracts or bills are involved.
Long distance call rates from the UK
You can save money on international calls from the UK on land-lines at your place of study or accommodation. Just call between 6pm and 8am and between midnight on Friday and midnight on Sunday and the international phone rates will be cheaper. Calls within the UK are also usually cheaper at these times.
If you make frequent international calls home you could buy a pre-paid international phonecard or account-based card. Compare cards carefully as rates differ. Making long distance calls using a card could work out cheaper than using the main telephone service provider.
Another option for low-cost calls to landlines and mobiles is to use Skype. You can use Skype software to make free video and voice calls, send instant messages and share files with other Skype users. To use Skype you’ll need access to a broadband internet connection.
You can find out more and register on the Skype website
International postage from the UK
If you prefer to write letters or send presents home, the UK has excellent international postage and shipping services. Post offices are usually open from 9 am to 5.30 pm Monday to Friday, and from 9 am to 12.30 pm on Saturday. Stamps are available at newsagents, supermarkets and special vending machines.
For more information on international delivery services from the UK visit the Royal Mail website.
UK internet services for international students
Internet usage is widespread in the UK. The majority of UK institutions provide free internet access and e-mail accounts for their students. Rooms in halls of residence may also have an internet connection provided at a set fee for the entire term or academic year.
While you’re studying in the UK, you should find that most high streets have internet cafés where you pay for web access by the hour. If you have your own laptop, wireless internet access is available for free in many coffee shops and public places. Some train services also provide this facility for a small charge.
- Money Supermarket - www.moneysupermarket.com/MobilePhones/default.aspx
- Royal Mail - www.royalmail.com
- Skype - www.skype.com