study abroad apps

Calling All Students! Download These 13 Study Abroad Apps

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do,” Mark Twain once wrote.

We can’t help but agree with him. That’s why it’s vital to have amazing adventures while you’re still young!

As a study abroad student, you’re about to have one of the most thrilling rides of your life.

From tackling school life in a new country to being immersed in a culture that speaks a different language, studying abroad offers students an amazing opportunity to learn about life away from home.

Studying abroad is a time when we become free from the bondage of our own culture and start to experience the diversity of the world.

It’s crazy, it’s wild and it’s awesome.

And while change is inevitable, there are lots of things we can do to help ease the
transition from the comforts of home to the unpredictable world abroad
.

 


 

How to Prepare for a Study Abroad Trip

Studying abroad is not akin to “partying abroad.” It needs to be treated with a decent amount of seriousness and preparation for you to have a good and productive time.

Here are some things you can do to enter your study abroad program ready to immerse yourself in the experience.

  • Learn the language. If you’re going somewhere with a different native tongue, you should strive to learn some of the local language. This will be of immense help when you go out to explore the area, because most people in the world don’t speak English. Being conversational in a language will provide a significantly better cultural experience than not even attempting it.
  • Learn the culture. Don’t walk into a new place and think that the culture is going to assimilate to your cultural identity. That’s not only naïve, it’s arrogant. Every culture has different things that make it unique. Learn what they are, and strive to understand how people use those cultural markers to interact in daily life. If you come prepared with this knowledge, the culture shock will be a lot less dramatic.
  • Make sure you have your paperwork. Visas and other legal entry documents are often a nightmarish hurdle to overcome. Make sure you leave yourself enough time to get all of this in order. Also, check with your local government about which vaccines are required for entry in your study abroad country. While rare, it’s possible to be denied entry across a border because you don’t have the right vaccines.
  • Download the best study abroad apps. Apps are lifesavers. They’re indispensable tools that allow us to maximize efficiency and perform otherwise complex tasks with ease. Studying abroad has a lot of obstacles, but many of them can be subdued or overcome just by having the right application at the right time. Tip: Download these apps now while you still have Wi-Fi!

Calling All Students! Download These 13 Study Abroad Apps

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Best Study Abroad Apps for Language and Culture

FluentU

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

FluentU takes a fun, interactive approach to language learning.

It takes videos like movies and TV shows in your desired language and creates language courses around those videos.

This strategy not only teaches you language skills, but since media is a reflection of culture, it also teaches you about the predominant cultural identity.

FluentU has videos in all levels, from beginner to native. The videos are subtitled in your target language. Simply click on the subtitles, and you’ll see a translation you can then add to a flashcard set.

At the end of each video, you take an interactive quiz to make sure you’ve absorbed all the material in that lesson.

This is a unique and effective way of picking up conversational language skills that no other language learning app can give you.

FluentU has nine different languages to choose from, and one account will give you access to all of those languages. This is great for people studying abroad, because you probably want to travel on weekends and holidays. Now you can learn languages for the other countries you visit, too.

FluentU has a 15-day free trial, and then it costs $15 or $30 per month, depending on your plan.

TripLingo

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

No traveler should leave home without downloading TripLingo.

It’s an essential application for people who frequently immerse themselves in different cultures around the world.

One great thing about TripLingo is its phrasebook. With common phrases for everything from dining to flirting, you’ll never get stuck in a situation where you won’t know how to at least say some basic phrases.

TripLingo also has a detailed guide on culture, covering things like history, political climate and cultural traditions. This will help you quickly assimilate into any new culture with ease.

This app comes prepackaged with a lot of tools for travelers like a currency converter, Wi-Fi dialer, voice and conversation translator and image translator. It also provides safety information with emergency services information, embassy information and translations for common medical needs.

TripLingo is free for the basic version, and the pro version costs $99.99 per year.

Google Translate

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

If you’re studying abroad somewhere people don’t speak your language, you’ll frequently find yourself needing a quick and effective translation.

Google Translate is one of the most popular and most robust translation apps, featuring over 100 languages. It’s a staple in every smart traveler’s toolkit.

It comes packed with free features that many other translation apps make you pay for, like camera and real-time conversation translations. There’s even a handwriting translator when you find yourself needing to translate a non-Roman, character-based script.

It also gives you the ability to translate something, then store that translation in a phrasebook you can review later.

Google Translate works offline, so you can receive translations even in the most remote and undeveloped corners of the globe.

Google Translate is free.

Best Study Abroad Apps for Experiencing the Local Scene

Citymapper

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

Getting from place to place in a new country is always a challenging task.

Citymapper is an intuitive transportation and map app, and it serves as a phenomenal alternative to typical mapping apps like Google Maps.

This app gives you directions for walking, cycling, driving and using public transportation. It also provides an array of different kinds of maps, from subway maps to bicycling maps.

It gives you push notifications when there’s an issue with your commute, and it offers a lot of amazing customization options for tracking personal journeys.

Citymapper offers detailed map-based statistics. For instance, as you walk around, you can see how many calories you’ve burned, how many trees you’ve protected and how much money you’ve saved by walking. You can also race against yourself from previous trips.

Citymapper allows you to store your maps and directions offline so you’ll never get lost, even if you don’t have access to data.

The big downside to Citymapper is that it’s only located in 33 cities around the world. But if you’re studying in one on those cities, you need to download this app.

Citymapper is free.

SitOrSquat

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

Sometimes nature calls at the most inconvenient times. That’s why it’s helpful to know where the nearest bathroom is located.

SitOrSquat was created by the toilet paper manufacturer Charmin with the sole purpose of mapping out where all the public bathrooms are.

Simply open the app and turn on your GPS to find the location of the nearest public restroom. It’ll give you a map of all the bathrooms nearby and provide directions.

There’s a rating system of “Sit” (good) and “Squat” (bad), so if there’s more than one bathroom nearby, you can find the one that’ll provide the most comfort.

When you’re done using the bathroom, you can offer your own rating of “Sit” or “Squat” to help future bathroom seekers find the most comfortable public toilet experience possible.

SitOrSquat is free.

Time Out

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

The best part of studying abroad is exploring all the fun things a new place has to offer. When it’s time to go out and have fun, you need to be prepared for maximum exploration mode.

Time Out is an internationally renowned guidebook and resource for finding recommendations on restaurants, bars, clubs and various activities in hundreds of cities worldwide. They now have an app that offers the same thing from the convenience of your mobile device.

With this app, you can find out about events and interesting cultural experiences that not only appeal to tourists, but are also geared toward locals. This way, you can immerse yourself in the local scenes that define that culture.

Time Out will give you a full view of a city’s cultural scene, so you can explore the city like a local.

Time Out is free.

Uber

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

If you ever find yourself stranded somewhere at an inopportune time, simply open up Uber and order a ride to wherever you need to go.

As the pioneering ride-sharing app, Uber maintains its stronghold in over 600 cities around the world.

In places where public transportation is either slow or non-existent, getting around with Uber is easy, fast and affordable. Every day, people use Uber to go to school, go to work, go shopping and get from point A to point B quickly and cheaply.

More often than not, Uber costs significantly less than a taxi, and the fare is decided by a meter on the app. This removes the possibility of being scammed by a local taxi driver who will try to overcharge foreigners for a ride—something that’s all too common in many countries..

Uber has expanded its operations to include some taxicab companies and even offers food delivery services in certain areas.

Because ride-sharing has become such a popular business, many local alternatives have sprung up in certain locations. Check for Uber alternatives like DiDi in China and Grab in Southeast Asia and download those instead.

This app is free, but it costs money to ride.

Groupon

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

Studying abroad isn’t cheap. And being a student isn’t profitable. That’s why it’s important to save as much money as possible.

Groupon lets you know about discounts on all kinds of things, from restaurants to travel deals. You can find coupons for clothes, new tech tools, Uber rides, fitness classes, entertainment services and a whole lot more.

This service exists in 48 countries around the world, and having recently acquired another popular discount app, Vouchercloud, Groupon is poised for for an even larger international expansion.

Let Groupon’s community recommendation guides lead you to the right experience, then use the app to find the perfect discount. Check out the “Featured” or “Deals of the Day” sections to find the best and most interesting deals.

Never pay full price again. Go out and explore some of the best discounted experiences your new city has to offer.

Groupon is free.

Rayka

Website | iOS 

study abroad apps

Studying abroad is a unique experience because you get to take in new and exciting cultures while you’re still young. And traveling in your late teens and early 20s is a lot different than traveling in your 50s and 60s.

That’s why Rayka has created a resource specifically designed for young travelers and study abroad students.

This app gives you peer-reviewed recommendations on bars, nightclubs and restaurants. It’s focused on a young audience, not the stuffy older crowd most city guides focus on.

Rayka is a bit like a social network. You can find and make new friends and create lists of places you think are cool. Share these lists with your connections and make plans to go exploring together.

This will help you build a social network with similar interests based around the coolest and most interesting parts of your new city.

Rayka is launching fall 2018 and is free.

Best Study Abroad Apps for Communicating

WhatsApp

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

WhatsApp is the most used messaging app in the world.

You can use it to send text, audio, video, emojis and GIFs. You can also make voice and video calls to other people who are using the app.

While there are region-specific communication apps like WeChat in China and Line in Japan, in many places around the world, WhatsApp is the primary form of all communication.

But besides using it to connect with locals, WhatsApp is a phenomenal way to keep in touch with your friends and family back home. Because it’s a Wi-Fi/data-based app, you don’t need to pay for expensive roaming or international charges with your phone company to instantly text or talk with those in your home country.

One of the best things about WhatsApp is its data encryption software. Everything you send via WhatsApp is highly secure.

WhatsApp is free.

NordVPN

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

Because internet privacy is a crucial aspect of staying safe when studying abroad, you absolutely need to use a virtual private network (VPN).

VPNs re-route your internet traffic from your location to a data center elsewhere in the world. This helps keep you anonymous and untraceable when doing anything online—from mundane things like doing homework to sensitive tasks like entering passwords and banking information.

Also, many countries in the world have internet restrictions and blockages on certain websites. Because a VPN changes your I.P. address, you’re able to bypass most government censors and visit websites you can’t access from inside the country.

Another great function of a VPN is its ability to access websites that can only be accessed in your home country, like Netflix.

NordVPN is a fast, secure and reliable VPN with thousands of data centers all over the world. Unlike a lot of free VPNs, they don’t keep logs on browsing history, and they offer a lot of advanced security features for those needing extra privacy.

With one NordVPN account, you can add VPN protection on all of your internet-connected devices.

NordVPN costs $6.99 – $11.95 per month, depending on your plan.

Best Study Abroad Apps for Being a Smart Student

Evernote

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

Evernote has been one of the world’s best productivity apps for many years, with user totals that rival Snapchat’s.

But this is more than a simple note taking app. Evernote is a flexible, powerful and customizable database of all your important information that needs safe keeping.

Evernote was designed for note taking, organizing, archiving and making task lists, and the number of features it comes with is ever-increasing. You can set reminders, add voice memos and attach files like pictures and spreadsheets to notes.

You can even scan text via your phone’s camera, and the app will pick out the words and turn it into a note.

One great thing for students is its ability to sync up with all devices instantly. You can take notes in class, sync them up on all of your devices and share those notes with classmates. This is a super efficient way to facilitate study groups and cross-class collaborations.

Evernote’s basic plan is free and comes with 60 MB of data. Other plans cost $34.99 – $69.99 per year.

My Study Life

Website | iOS | Android

study abroad apps

Studying abroad can be an organizational nightmare. You have tests, classes, various homework assignments and other logistical hurdles that can be hard to keep track of.

My Study Life is a free course planner app that’s a godsend for students trying to take control of their organizational habits.

This simple app helps you schedule all your pressing engagements in a powerful and attractive user interface. Set reminders to remind yourself about class times, exams, homework assignments and appointments, and My Study Life will alert you when things are coming up.

There’s also a tasks section that lets you define tasks, set due dates and even attach tasks to certain events. This is helpful when you need to review a lesson for an exam.

My Study Life works offline and syncs up with all of your devices when you go back online. This is extremely useful when you need to schedule on-the-go and don’t have access to Wi-Fi.

My Study Life is free.

 

Studying abroad is one of the most memorable times in a person’s life.

With these 13 study abroad apps, you can heighten all those memories to make sure that you have the most well-rounded and productive study abroad experience possible.

So download these apps, experience some great culture, study hard and make sure to have some fun!

 


Eric Michelson is a nomadic, philosophizing, peace-minded pluralist. He hopes to help bridge the divide between the diverse factions of the world by exploring various perspectives brought on by personal experience. You can follow Perspective Earth to learn more about him and his work.

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