Ohio University

Cellphone Policy

Emergency Communication Plan - Cell Phone Requirement 

The Office of Global Opportunities requires that all students participating on international programs have a cellphone capable of making and receiving international and in-country calls while abroad. This ensures that students are prepared for communication during an emergency. Please note that relying on WiFi does not satisfy this requirement.

Students should develop a communication plan for themselves in case of emergency and add all relevant health & safety numbers to their phones.  

It is important for students to research international cell phone plans to ensure that they meet OGO's cell phone requirement. Popular options used in the past include:  

  1. Adding an international plan to a current cell phone line - Students may consider placing an international plan on their current cellphone line. Depending on provider and phone plan, this option may be more expensive. However, over the years the cost of placing an international plan on a cell phone line has dropped. Speak with your service provider for more information. 
  2. Purchasing a local phone or SIM card - Purchasing a local phone or SIM card may be an affordable option for some students. This process is highly dependent on in-country facilities and access to purchasing a phone/SIM card. Students are encouraged to research options in their country of travel. OGO does recommend for students planning to purchase a local phone or SIM card in-country that they have a plan on how to communicate in the hours/days before they are able to purchase an in-country phone or SIM card.  
  3. Renting a phone or SIM card with an international plan - Renting a phone or SIM card for international travel may also work for student. Some students have used an organization called CellHire to rent a phone/SIM card for a monthly fee. Students can find out more about CellHire by visiting  https://www.cellhire.com/edu/.  

Several factors may affect which option will work best for a student, from destination(s) to length of time abroad. Student may find it more effective to enable their international plan if going for a short-term program, or they may be able to rent an additional phone or SIM card in advance for their country of travel. If a student is away for a whole semester, they may choose to buy a local phone and purchase minutes as they go. 

For more tips and resources, visit  https://traveltips.usatoday.com/use-cell-phones-abroad-1457.html.

You may also wish to review the Parents resource on our website for more information on keeping in touch https://www.ohio.edu/global/goglobal/resources/parents/parents.cfm.