Computers and Phones

Know Before You Go: Computers and Phones

We are often asked about electronic gear overseas. Specifically, whether people should or shouldn’t bring a laptop, phone, etc. and what they can expect when dealing with electronics while living and traveling abroad. It is definitely true that the right electronic gadgets can make your life overseas much easier and your teaching job all the more pleasant. Here are a few things you should know about electronics overseas when you move abroad, no matter what your destination country or job is.

Laptops Abroad

– a.k.a. DVD player, TV, library, file cabinet, stereo, telephone, and more
Whether teaching overseas, living abroad, or traveling around the world you’ll likely find that your laptop is your new best friend. You may not have realized just how versatile a dependable laptop really is; preferably one that is small and light, for easy transport. You can store e-books and movies, keep photos, scan and save important documents, write your travel journal, store and play music; use it as an international phone with Skype to keep in touch with family back home, and of course do your teaching prep work on it.

All laptops automatically operate at the correct voltage even if the voltage is different locally than where you bought the laptop from, although you will need the appropriate converter to enable your laptop’s plug to plug into a foreign socket. In addition, when choosing a laptop that you will take to your teaching job overseas, try and buy one with a 2-pronged plug instead of a 3-pronged plug, as 3-pronged converters are harder to find should you lose the one you brought.

Cell Phones Abroad

When teaching overseas or living abroad you will definitely want a cell phone overseas for emergencies as well as practicality, as text messaging (often known as “SMS” abroad) is often more common than email abroad. But, you may not be able to just take yours with you for use in another country. Most US cell phones operate on a different frequency bandwidth than the rest of the world. In addition, cell phones purchased directly from US cell phone provider are usually locked and cannot be used with any other cell phone company unless they are first unlocked by your provider. Some U.S. providers will unlock the phone for you if you tell them you are moving abroad. Or, you can either buy a phone locally or purchase an unlocked quad-band phone to bring with you. Once you are at your new location simply insert a locally purchased SIM card into your phone and you are all set.

Digital Camera

A digital camera or a camera on your phone is a MUST for teaching and traveling abroad! Look for something small and compact as well as something not too expensive, as cameras are easily broken or stolen overseas and you won’t feel as bad if it didn’t cost very much money.