Tag Archives: contact

How can I stay in touch with my family cheaply?

Communication tools - Two mobile phones, a landline phone and a laptopThis week we have a guest blog post provided by Dean Reilly, Deputy Editor of Ofcom-accredited comparison site www.cable.co.uk, suggesting ways of staying in touch with friends and family cheaply while you are in the UK:

Keeping in touch with your friends and family while you study in the UK is essential for your general wellbeing. Luckily there are lots of great ways for you to stay connected to your loved ones that are fast, simple and cheap.

Not all communication needs to be conducted over the phone, but if you want to keep your handset, or have a landline, there are a number of ways to save on your telephone bill. Many landline providers have packages that offer cheaper rates for international calls, and mobile phone providers usually offer additional international packages, SIMs or bolt-ons that reduce the cost of international charges or give free international minutes.

If you’re considering purchasing an international call plan for either a landline or your mobile, you can find more information and prices from cable.co.uk’s guide to making cheap international calls.

Another way to cut the cost of calling home is with an international calling card. These are pre-paid phone cards that can be topped up with credit and, in general, offer cheaper rates to international numbers than a standard landline or mobile. Calling cards are available in most phone shops and even some newsagents, especially those in communities with a large student population.

If you have a good broadband connection, making calls over the internet might be a cheaper method. Using a VoIP service, such as Skype or Rebtel, is free if the person you’re calling is using the same service. Skype can also be topped up with credit and used to make international mobile and landline calls. Another great feature of VoIP services is the ability to make video calls, so you can have face-to-face chats.

Staying in touch doesn’t have to cost a lot, especially if the majority of your conversations can be conducted over a VoIP service, or you find a cheap international calls package.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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How can I improve my spoken English in the UK?

Students socialisingToday’s blog post is in reply to a question from a student on the Question Wall:
“I think my reading and writing can improve in the UK through studies but how can I improve my speaking?”

In most universities and colleges in the UK there will be opportunities to improve your academic skills in reading, writing, speaking and listening in an academic context, particularly through the work that you do in seminars, lectures and through reading for and writing course assignments. There may also be extra classes that you can attend, which focus on these skill areas. However, international students might need to make an extra effort to find opportunities to practise speaking English informally, especially to improve their fluency. The best way to do this is obviously to make new English speaking friends and take every opportunity to speak English with them. Making new friends can take a little time so you might want to consider joining a few of the many clubs and societies run by your Student Union to help you meet people when you arrive. You may find new friends who are from your own country but if you want to improve your spoken English, it’s important to socialise with people who don’t speak your language too.

When speaking English informally, don’t be shy or afraid about making mistakes when you speak. To improve your fluency in particular, it’s more important to communicate and practise than to speak without making mistakes. Communication involves listening as well as speaking and many international students find that the first skill they notice improvement in is listening.

If you have a question related to academic life and study in the UK and you can’t find the answer in the Prepare for Success learning resources, write it on the Question Wall and we will try to answer it here in the blog next time.

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