25 November 2013

The World of Technology in Europe - A Lost Adventure

When I arrived in Europe I never thought about how much I rely on technology being a photographer. During my time here I have been uploading photos to my website Hannah Swick Photography, Facebook, and of course this blog. Unless I have perfect Wi-Fi connection it takes hours on end to upload my photos onto anything. It makes it difficult to share everything that I want to.

Before I left Colorado I unlocked my iPhone to have world access via Verizon. I thought that buying a SIM card ahead of time through UNC would be great! It promised too much and sounded like it wouldn’t be very expensive but boy I was wrong. The SIM card that you can buy through the ICIS card that I got from UNC was one of the worst things I ever did. It said that you would be able to call at a low rate but it charged me more than anything else. I made only a few essential calls and it cost me over 150 euros in two weeks. I wanted to cry. When I arrived in Italy I bought a specific SIM card for Italy. You bought the SIM for 25 euros, which included the first three months as a down payment, then after, that it was supposed to be 9 euros. If I didn’t have to try and call my credit card company who kept hanging up on me, and the calls kept dropping I would have been fine, but that wasn’t my case. WIND, one of the Italian phone companies here charged me an arm and a leg and my minutes were gone along with my entire down payment. So my dad found the app where I could call through until I could pay again for the month and everything was fine. Phones are complicated here. Recently I prepaid for my last month here in Italy (10 Euros) and before my contract restarted for the month, a Slovenian phone company charged WIND 12 cents for me apparently using their phone signal, even though I haven’t even been in Slovenia. Because Trieste is so close to Slovenia, this happens a lot. So I went to WIND to see what happened and they told me that there was nothing I could do about Slovenia picking up my phone signal so I owed WIND money. I found this not my problem but theirs, but I couldn’t win the battle. The minimum payment to WIND is 5 euros so I had to pay the 5 euros even though I only owed 12 cents. It was ridiculous.

Free WIFI in Europe does not exist. That has been a trouble of mine with blogging and uploading photos onto my website. I decided to not pay for an Internet card for my computer in my apartment the duration I have been in Italy because it thought it was too much. So I have only used my computer for iTunes and editing photos at home then I go to the University for Wi-Fi, which bumps you off every 2 hours until I found a local coffee shop named Kulp in Trieste that has fast Wi-Fi and a big comfy couch that I spend most of my time on when I am not at home or at school. Paying 2 euros for a cappuccino for unlimited Wi-Fi for roughly 6 hours (the time that I normally am in the Kulp) is much cheaper than paying for Wi-Fi or Internet at my apartment and I also enjoy the coffee! Compared to home, I can upload about 30 photos in 6 hours here in Italy, but at home I can upload 30 in about an hour.

If you have Apple products I would recommend anyone traveling abroad to buy the specific outlets for mac products! They are interchangeable and fit better in the plug-ins throughout the UK and EU than the all-in-one big bulky converters. The best apps that I have found while being abroad are WhatsApp, iTranslate, Duolingo, Skyscanner, CNN, Linphone, The Weather Channel, FaceTime, and Maps. CNN is always nice for me so I can stay updated with the United States and see what is happening in the countries I am in. I also don’t have television or the radio to stay updated (even if I did, it’s only in Italian).

One thing that I found very impressive was that FaceTime is a billion times better than Skype. I tried Skyping back home and the connection was awful. I couldn’t hear or see my parents, so we decided to try FaceTime. I had never FaceTimed before I was here in Italy but it works 99% of the time. I also use WhatsApp to stay in contact with not only my friends and family back at in Colorado, but almost everyone uses it here in Europe as well. It is a free texting app that connects to your contacts that have the app. I have friends from Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Colorado, and Oklahoma.

My view on technology has changed while being here. I have learned tricks by experience and hopefully I was able to let everyone who wants to study abroad or just travel some in on insight on what to expect in not only Italy but also Europe.

1 comment:

  1. Sounds like you are getting the feeling of using technology! Great info on the SIM card your university recommends...when traveling a better bet would to be a sim card from a local Telco or just pay your home phone provider their rate for over seas calls. Are there any settings you can adjust on your phone so that it only works with the "Home" network of the SIM card? - Michael