Skype has totally changed my life and has abolished so many barriers, physical and emotional, the kind of barriers that any expat will experience at some point in their adventure abroad. I wouldn’t say that I felt the same need at the beginning of my expatriation some 14 years ago but nowadays I have a much greater need for interaction with my friends and family.
There are many ways that I use Skype in my everyday life as an expatriate and I would like to share with you some of my favourite applications and usage.
– Making conference calls and video call with my friends and family
Amongst the expat population, Skype is my main mode of visual and oral communication with the people in their country of origin or people around the world. As an expat myself, first and foremost I use it to catch with my friends and family anywhere in the world.
I am not exaggerating if I say that I “communicate” every day with people on Skype. It goes from a couple of Skype instant messages to hour long conversations, I even something invite diferent people to join in and we have a 3 ways conference call, with a monthly subscription you would even be able to do video calls and see all of them. For instance, I love to be able to see my 18months old nephew on the screen and be able to interact with him, even though we are some 10.000 km apart.
– Conduct business and job interviews
Skype is also great to use in a business setting. I coach and offer my consulting services to clients that are based all around the world. In our industry, it is very common to interact with Clients in different time zone and calls to a land line would be very expensive so most of the times I consult via Skype.
While looking for an overseas job, applicants are often asked to conduct the first interview on Skype. A company will very rarely make an overseas recruitment decision solely on a job interview via Skype (video call) but it allows them to make a first selection of candidates without involving travels. For most of my expatriations, I first decided on the country then looked for a job in that specific country and Skype has been instrumental a couple of times as a way of going through job selection without having to travel to the company.
Now you can even use Skype to check your Facebook account and see all your friends’ statuses without even log in into Facebook which can save a lot of time, especially since I have set up Skype to open as soon as I log in to my computer. So that the first thing I do when I open my laptop is to check Skype and then I open my browser.
– Instant messaging
Very often before a Skype call, I send a quick instant message to make sure the person is there or to see if they can pick up the call on their computers. I also use Skype instant messaging system to send files (photos and documents) during a Skype call and as long as the other person is online, they will receive the files.
– Making traditional phone calls and send text messages
One of the reasons why I started using Skype over other conference call and video call software was its affordable price for local and long distance calls. I love the fact that with just a little bit of credit on my account (and without having a monthly membership), I am able to get in touch with anyone, independently of the fact that they are connected or not. For instance, if the person is not connected on their Skype account, I can call their cell phone or land line number (which I have previously manually entered) or I can send them a text message directly from the same interface.
I know that there are other service providers of conference calls and video calls but for its ease of set up, price and popularity among my friends and family around the world, Skype has become my #1 internet tool that changed my life as an expat. I could not imagine my life without free long distance video calls.
What about you? Let me know how you use Skype.
Check out my other indispensable internet tools, here.
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