Being a student is tough, but even more so when you come from another country. In addition to coursework, you also have to deal with language barriers and being far away from friends and family. Thankfully, technology has made the international student experience much easier than it used to be. With so much information out there, it can be hard to know where to start. But if you’re looking for specific ways to improve your student life, look no further than the phone in your hand! Below, we’ve highlighted five helpful apps to improve your study abroad experience.
1. Google Translate
English isn’t the first language of most international students studying in Canada, the US, the UK, or Australia. Even advanced English speakers may still have difficulty with local dialects and slang. Thankfully, translation apps like Google Translate can help you make sense of difficult words or phrases. The app translates over 130 different languages through speech, text, or handwriting. There’s even a quick access download option so you can have certain words and phrases ready at all times, even offline. Best of all, Google Translate is totally free!
If you’re a music fan, streaming services like Spotify are almost required downloads. With unlimited access to millions of songs, there’s something on Spotify for everyone. You can build and share playlists for any taste or mood and download songs to your smartphone to use less mobile data.
Yes, you do need to pay for a premium subscription to get these features and an ad-free experience. The good news is students get Spotify for half-price! Visit the official website to find out more.
3. Cite This For Me
Cite This For Me is an app designed to make referencing sources in your assignments and papers easier. You can use the Cite This For Me Google Chrome extension to automatically cite webpages in APA, MLA, Harvard, or Chicago format. You can then copy the citations directly into your Works Cited page.
Not using a digital source? Don’t worry–just photograph the barcode of any book or journal, and Cite This For Me will create a citation. It even has a plagiarism checker to help give you peace of mind before handing in your assignment. If you find creating citations annoying and tedious, you need this app!
There are many messaging apps out there, but WhatsApp is one of the best. This free app is great for staying in touch with family and friends in your home country, since WhatsApp uses a Wi-Fi connection or your mobile carrier’s data network to make voice and video calls. This means you won’t need to pay expensive long distance fees. You can also create group text chats with family and friends.
The only limitation is you can only make calls to other WhatsApp users. However, since the app is easy to set up, it won’t take long to help your family set it up on their devices before you leave!
5. Circle of 6 / Circulo
Campus safety is a major concern for universities and colleges. To help ensure your study abroad experience is as safe as possible, it’s important to be proactive. It’s best to never walk alone at night, to stay aware of your surroundings, and to keep trusted friends nearby and aware of your location.
Technology can make this easy. These apps (Circle of 6 for Apple users, and Circulo for Android users) were first designed to help college students prevent sexual violence, but can and should be used by anyone.
The app lets you add up to six people from your contacts to join your “circle”. From there, you can send quick notifications to your circle like a ping with your GPS coordinates, or a message asking them to call you as an interruption or distraction. It’s a way for friends to stay safe, so it’s important your circle only includes people you trust.
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