The best apps to use when studying abroad

Phone apps

Studying abroad is an exciting, new and sometimes daunting experience. With all that tech about, you might as well use whatever you can to make your time there as eye-opening, easy and enjoyable as possible. Apart from the obvious apps such as WhatsApp and Facebook Messenger, here are some of the best apps that really helped me keep connected to home, stay on top of my finances, and find the best ways to plan my travels.

Staying connected when you’re half the world away

1. Skype

This is a fairly obvious one, but Skype is indispensable when texting or calling just isn’t enough. Sometimes you just want to be face-to-face, and this is the closest you can get when you are far from your loved ones. With apps such as these, you learn to manage the time difference and distance between you with somewhat of a schedule. When I was 9 to 11 hours ahead of the UK, those evening and late Skype calls stopped me from feeling too lonely.

2. Netflix Party (Google Chrome)

Netflix Party is a Chrome extension which allows you to watch your favourite shows and films with your friends and use the built-in chat feature to communicate while you watch. This makes for an exclusive experience with your friends, family, or your long-distance bae. It can really help you feel that much closer to those you love. For more info, click this link.

Money money money (and how to manage it)

3. TransferWise

TransferWise is an absolute blessing, and not a lot of people know about it. It allows you to convert currency with the exact conversion rate and minimal charges involved. It is rapid, easy, and charges you no more than a few quid to complete. Honestly, I say this would be one of the most useful apps you could use when living abroad. It operates as both a website and an app. For the website, click here. 

4. XE Currency Converter

When you’re abroad, using a different currency should not be a worry. This app is particularly good for keeping track of currency rates and having the best idea about how much you’re spending with each purchase. It takes a long time to get aware about a new currency, and this app really helps with that. It has a very simple interface and can display up to 10 different currencies on the main page.

5. Yolt

Living in a country with a different cost of living and currency can make keeping track of finances difficult. Yolt helped me manage my finances in Australia, a country with a higher cost of living and enabled me to know when I had to be stringent. Apps such as Yolt helped me see how much disposable income I had, as well as keeping track of my bills and direct debits. That’s why a budgeting app such as Yolt is very useful!

Leaving on a jet plane: my favourite travel apps

6. Skyscanner

Similar to Kayak, Skyscanner compares flights from many airlines to find you the cheapest flight and the best time to fly. During my year abroad, I booked a few trips at a certain time purely because it would cost be £50-75 less than it normally would, and Skyscanner is a great app for finding those deals. Skyscanner operates as both as website and an app (available on both iOS and Android – much like all the apps mentioned in this post). For the website, click here.

7. XE Currency (again!)

XE Currency can not only help you think in your new currency, it can also help you keep numerous currencies in one place. When backpacking, XE Currency Converter is great for logging all the currencies that you will be using over a holiday, with the ability to place up to 10 different currencies on the home page. I especially loved this feature when I went around Asia, as I ended up dealing with 7 different currencies within one trip!

8. Google Translate

Google Translate can not only help you if you’re studying in a country with a different language but can also help you with deciphering certain phrases and signs when you’re travelling. Don’t be afraid of making a fool of yourself when interacting, it’s all a learning process!

9. Citymapper

Being originally an app for a select number of British and American cities, the navigation and transport app Citymapper has been expanding their list to cover many other cities around the world. Their growing list now helps you with up-to-date train and bus schedules, as well the quickest transport routes. Citymapper now covers selected cities in the UK, USA, Canada, Australia, Belgium, France, the Netherlands, Germany, Italy, Portugal, Denmark, Spain, Sweden, Russia, Turkey, South Korea, Brazil, Japan, as well as Hong Kong and Singapore. There is a good chance you could be in very safe hands wherever you are!

Not sorry for the song references in the headings! 😛

From Sophia with Love x

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