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Keeping in touch while living in Russia

Hello everyone,

What are the best ways you've found for keeping in touch with friends and family back home while living in Russia? How frequently do you stay in touch with loved ones?

Are there local equivalents to common instant messaging and online video calling services that you prefer or are more widely used?

If there is a sizeable time difference, how do you manage this?

Do you make international phone calls from a landline or mobile phone from Russia? What do you think of the cost?

Thank you for sharing your experience.

Priscilla

I tend to use FB Messenger, just because so many people use it, and I can keep it minimized on my computer at work.

For international calls, I use Skype dialing. It's easy and relatively inexpensive, and I don't make enough calls like this to ever worry about the price.

To access US websites that may otherwise be blocked, I use the Hola VPN plugin for Chrome.

One annoyance was that my bank in the US blocks all calls from here - possibly for good reason but annoying nonetheless. I'd recommend keeping some money at home but also getting a Sberbank account here if possible; with it you can often pay people using just their phone number (not all vendors take cards here).

I have a daughter still in the US. (I'd like to bring her here for at least part of the year.) Calling is difficult because she goes to school just before I get off work, I go to sleep just before she gets out of school, and she goes to sleep just before I wake up. Daylight savings time will shift the schedule slightly, but not enough to make much difference. For that reason we leave little messages during the week but talk mostly on the weekend.

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