Getting around and staying connected in Bremen, Germany: your tips, tricks, and general advice for a semester abroad.
A younger sibling of mine, a sophomore in college, will be spending the upcoming spring semester in Bremen, Germany with fellow students from his college (they will be housed together in a dorm-type living facility that includes a cafeteria). He has never traveled to Europe/anywhere requiring a passport before but is cautiously excited about this opportunity. He will have had one semester of German upon arrival and will continue to take German as one of his courses there. He anticipates devoting most of his time to his studies and isn't anticipating a lot of side excursions - but I am gently trying to encourage this.
As the family member who has most recently traveled abroad, I am the go-to resource for the black hole of information his college has somehow failed to provide. He's a great kid but not always completely on top of things organizationally so I'd love to take advantage of some hivemind wisdom. Relevant blog or forum resources are also appreciated!
1. Cell phone logistics. He will be bringing an iPhone 3GS that is not currently attached to a US contract plan. His plan is to purchase a SIM card and install it upon arrival in Germany, and then top up as needed during the semester. He plans to use WiFi for data needs and Skype to call home; he mainly wants to be able to keep in touch with traveling companions as needed. How does this sound? Any recommendations for vendors/places to purchase/top up ? I saw this link
from this post
2. I don't know that he is signed up for an ISIC student card. I had one a few years back when I spent some time in London and found it very useful; should I recommend it?
3. General (Bremen- and Germany-specific) travel tips for the uninitiated? I haven't traveled extensively but things I learned quickly and wasn't initially "aware of needing to be aware of" included personal item vigilance, always carrying cash vs. using a debit/credit card to pay for everything, and being mindful of communication costs (e.g., is it cheaper to text or call my family in the US? what about people traveling with me?). Anything else you'd recommend?
Thanks in advance hive, look forward to hearing your tips!