You should contact your provider before you leave to see if you need to update your phone and purchase a global traveler plan. For example, I had to upgrade from the Blackberry Curve to the Tour before going abroad.
There is always the option of buying an international phone when you get there and many programs will offer you one in the first few days. While this can be a good way to communicate with local businesses and people, you really need to feel out the popularity of these phones in the program. If the majority of the program is in the BBM club, you could be left out of the loop the first few weeks when people are getting to know each other and planning to go out.
Skype is the best option for long distance calls to the U.S. Purchasing minutes ahead of time can really save you money on long calls to family & friends back home or on job interviews for your summer internship. There is now a Skype app for the iPhone. Check out our iPhone apps post for a list of free chatting and texting apps.
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