Since Internet was born on UNIX machines, you find plenty of nice and easy-to-use applications under Linux. Here are just some:
pineto handle your email; both programs have on-line help. For short messages, you could use
mail -s "hello mate" user@somewhere < msg.txt. You may like programs like
xmailor some such.
slrn, both very intuitive and self-explanatory.
ftp, ask your sysadm to install the full-screen
ncftpor a graphical ftp client like
arenaare graphical web browsers; a character-based one is
lynx, quick and effective.