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Staying in Touch

When you find yourself miles away from home, separated by an ocean or continent, with a different culture and possibly a different language, you might find that keeping in touch during your study abroad with friends and family is a challenge. There are several things you can do to ensure you don’t lose contact with the ones you love. Skyping, Facebook, blogging, snail mail, and prepaid phone cards all provide options for staying connected during your time at the BISC.

There are three ways in which you can pay for a mobile phone service in the UK:

Pay Monthly

This is the least flexible option and you will be tied into a contract of between 18 and 24 months. If you choose a pay monthly deal and leave before your contract has ended you will almost certainly be charged for early disconnections.

Pay as you go (PAYG)

PAYG is very popular amongst students. You buy a handset and then pay in advance for a set amount of calls and texts. This usually is not the cheapest option, but it does offer great flexibility and is the best way to keep track of how much you spend.

SIM only

These packages are an intermediary between PAYG and contract phone. You will be provided with a SIM card but no phone, and you will only be committed to a rolling 30 day contract.

There are currently several major mobile phone providers in the UK: 3, O2, EE and Vodafone. However, some of the smaller providers, such as Tesco Mobile and Giff Gaff are also worth checking out. Each provider has its own range of packages so it is important to shop around when you are deciding on the best option for you.

The first thing you need to consider is whether you actually need a new phone handset. If you don’t, you could make a big saving by opting for a SIM only deal. If you have brought your phone with you, it may be worth continuing to use that phone but with a UK SIM card. You may need to get your phone unlocked as some phones are locked to the network from which the handset is purchased. Speak to your provider about this. Alternatively you could buy a new phone handset in the UK.

Before deciding, take a look at an Ofcom pproved price comparison site, like MobilePhoneChecker – this is an easy to use site where you can compare deals across several networks and compare the different services (pay as you go, pay monthly and SIM only). Take a look – you’ll see you can often get a SIM only deal for half the price of a pay monthly contract!

The Carphone Warehouse is a shop in the UK that caters for all mobile networks so may also be a good starting point for comparing the various options.

When you are researching your mobile options, make sure you take into account whether they offer an international calling plan if you expect to make regular international calls. Many providers will offer this as an extra service on top of a monthly subscription, but some are available to PAYG customers too.

Before committing to a contract, make sure you know that the cancellation policy is, and what you are paying for each month.

Calling international numbers from the UK can be expensive, especially if you decide to use your cell (mobile). With apps like WhatsApp, Microsoft Teams and Skype you can make free voice or video calls to practically anywhere provided the person you are calling also has the app. Be aware that this can use a lot of data quite quickly, so make sure you are connected to Wifi instead of using your mobile data. You may also consider bringing an ethernet cord that is compatible with your laptop to ensure a good internet connection. 

If you need to call someone who does not have internet access, you can use Skype as one example, to make cheap calls to their landline or mobile phones. You can pay for these calls after you make them, or save more by buying blocks of minutes to a specific country.

If you have an iPhone or iPad, then Facetime is a good option – again, it is better to use this only when connected to Wifi to avoid big data charges. Android users may prefer to use WhatsApp for video calling.

You can use international calling cards to make cheap calls from landline and mobile phones, and they are very widely available. You can usually find them in convenience stores and supermarkets. You are recommended to compare different cards to find the one that offers the cheapest rate to your country and has the lowest connection charge, so be careful to select one with the most appropriate access number.

White phones in Bader Hall

These may be used to call the International Operator and to place calls using a calling card with an 0800 or other freephone number access. Dial ‘9’ first to get an external line.

  • The end of B1: extension is 4429.
  • D1, near the lift: extension is 4428.
  • C0 (basement), near the Music Room: extension is 4454.
  • C1, opposite the C1 Computer Lab. Please reserve this phone for emergency use only as conversations can be a distraction for those studying.

Your mailing address while at the BISC is:

Room Number, Bader Hall
Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
East Sussex
BN27 1RN
Any received mail will be made available at Bader Reception.

To send post you can purchase stamps from Bader Reception and post the correspondence in the red letter box outside Castle Reception.

The Bader International Study Centre (Queen’s University, Canada) is committed to creating a safe and inclusive environment that is fair, positive, and supportive for all members of our community.
We strive to ensure all members’ views are valued and shared in a secure environment through a commitment to upholding equity*, diversity**, inclusion***, and advancing indigenous initiatives.
The BISC supports the fair treatment and opportunity for all by asserting the importance of non-discriminatory treatment either directly or indirectly on the ground of age, disability, gender identity, marriage and civil partnership, pregnancy or maternity, race, religion or belief, sex or sexual orientation.   

*Equity: Substantive fairness for everyone thereby ensuring that members of equity-seeking groups are able to achieve full participation in the university (BISC). 

**Diversity: The representation of the population with respect to designated groups. 

***Inclusion: The climate and acceptance of differences that comes with diversity i.e. different ways of living and working. 

Land acknowledgement: Queen’s University, Canada is situated on Anishinaabe and Haudenosaunee Territory.

Bader International Study Centre
Herstmonceux Castle
Hailsham, East Sussex
United Kingdom, BN27 1RN
Phone: +44 1323 834444
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Undergraduate Admission and Recruitment
Gordon Hall, 74 Union Street
Queen's University, Kingston, Ontario
Canada, K7L 3N6
Phone: (613) 533-2218
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