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Skype offers face-to-face communication across borders


By Kevin Matienzo – Collegiate Staff

When my grandpa left Grand Rapids in 2011 to move back to Mexico, it was difficult for me to say goodbye. I was 15 years old at the time. My dad passed away in 2013 and my grandfather feels like a second father to me. The moment he stepped out the door and left, I thought I was going to lose him. When he arrived in Mexico he decided to Skype my mom and I asked if I could talk to him. After I got a chance to talk again with my grandpa I felt more calm and didn’t feel as if he was completely out of my life.

Facetime and Skype have helped me stay in touch and catch up with my family in Mexico.

Before these communication platforms came into my life, I was only able to call my family in Mexico through my mom’s phone because she was able to make unlimited international calls, but I wasn’t able to on my phone.

I started using Facetime when I was 15 years old and it was mostly for communicating with my girlfriend at the time. I found out that one of my aunts in Mexico got an iPad and I told her that I wanted to Facetime with her and catch up. My mom told me that my grandparents got a Skype account and I decided to make one of my own. Now I use Facetime and Skype almost daily.

Being able to communicate with my family in Mexico through video calling has been really beneficial for me because even though we are not in the same country, it is still very nice to be able to see their faces. Whenever I am having a hard time in my life and I need someone to talk to, I can almost instantly Skype my grandmother from my phone.

When I made the Dean’s List in college for the first time, my grandparents wanted to congratulate me over Skype and the best part of the video call was when they told me that they were proud of me. I love taking the time to Skype my grandparents on Mother’s and Father’s day and make them feel as important as they are like my second parents.

A new door opened in 2012 when I met my Aunt Rosa for the first time through Skype. My mom had always talked so much about her and mentioned that she was by far the sweetest Aunt I had. I felt very fortunate just to be able to at least meet her through Skype. I could definitely tell that my Aunt Rosa was sweet and kind when I heard the tone of her voice. My favorite part of meeting my Aunt Rosa through Skype was when she said to me, “I love you so much and I cannot wait to meet you in person.”

Overall, I have had such a great experience using my Skype account to communicate with my grandparents. I honestly enjoy being able to hear their voices and see their faces because it makes me calm.