Our daughter is having the most amazing experience studying abroad in Italy. She picked a progam- CEA, that is not a part of her college, CU Boulder. She did this because of the location that was offered, how it fit with her major, recommendations from other students, and careful study to be confident the credits would transfer. Her school is in Florence, and she has taken advantage of traveling as much as possible to other countries, including staying in Prague, Berlin, Amsterdam, Paris, Dublin, London, and Barcelona soon. Her program has provided day trips to other locations in Italy including Rome where she said she was in awe of the rich history and it opened up a complete new appreciation for history and culture. I strongly feel this experience will enrich her life and learn about the world in a way that could never be gained in a classroom.
Here she is in Vienna, one of my favorite of her many photos that we anxiously wait for.
Keeping in touch has been pretty easy. Her apartment has wifi, so we video chat for free on either Skype of Facebook chat. There is also a free App on her iPhone called WhatsApp. As long as she is in a location with wifi, she can text us for free. But the global calling plan on her iPhone was very expensive so she does not use it for phone calls. Rather, we selected a rental phone service promoted by CEA called Cellhire that promoted it as an inexpensive way to keep in touch. She has carried this phone on her in case of emergency, especially when traveling. Well this cell phone has turned out to be the one major glitch of the whole trip. While traveling in France, the phone was stolen. Within a few short hours before she realized this, someone wracked up over $1,800 in 2 large roaming charges on the phone, and Cellhire is holding us responsible. Per the agreement, roaming charges were $15/MB and we are responsible for all charges on the phone until is it is reported missing. Apparently the sky is the limit on potential roaming charges (which she never used once) and we are sick about this. The charge hit our credit card within a few days and does not fall within the protection our credit card gives us for fraudulent charges. A rental phone like this has no long term relationship with it's customers to want to make things right. We feel they most likely rely on scenarios like this and figure erroneous charges for study abroad students is cash in the bank for them. After many emails and calls complaining, Cellhire has agreed to refund half of the charges, which helps, but we still feel completely ripped off and will continue to pursue it.
Enough complaining, living vicariously through her trip has been a treat for our family and her clear enjoyment and appreciation of the experience makes it all the better.