By Ashley C., guest blogger studying French in Lyon, France
I bought a calling card, thinking that my card would knock down the price of my calls on my USA phone from $1/minute to just a few cents/minute. Not true. You have to actually buy a French phone and then use the calling card on the local French phone in order to use the calling card properly. I racked up a good $500 phone bill by making this mistake! Whoops.
Which brings me to my next point, try not to have a boyfriend/girlfriend when traveling to France! (or if you do, make sure to take the following advice):
1) Use Skype!
I don?t have internet at my apartment, which is a bit troublesome, but there are several internet cafes around and, my favorite, Haagan Dazs! Whenever I need internet, there?s also always a reason to have some ice cream! Win, win (but not for my thighs).
2) Buy a French phone:
The phones are cheaper than the states (I bought mine for 29 Euros), but the phone plans are much more expensive. I use my French phone only to text my friends locally – i.e. “Where are we meeting up?” texts, etc. The French phone plans are simple, easy, and are as follows: You put a certain amount of credit on your phone (e.g. I put 10 Euros on my phone) and then your phone will stop working when you?ve spent the amount of money you put on it. You want to be able to connect with your classmates, but don?t actually call them, and definitely (unless it?s an emergency) don?t call home on your French phone without a calling card.
3) Write emails/Facebook messages/anything other than calling:
I?ve had to resort to emailing some of my best friends due to my incredibly horrific phone bill the first
month of my stay here. If I could do it over again, of course I would have just emailed/facebooked during my first month. Don?t get hit with a bad phone bill. Your friends will still be there when you get back (or, wait!, I haven?t tested this out yet), and you need to save your pennies when you?re a student.
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Read all of Ashley's blogs from Lyon France.