Useful Apps to Download Before Studying Abroad

The modern-day smartphone has often been described by the older generation as a tiny computer that fits in one’s pocket. This is probably because those who grew up without smartphones or easy access to computers understand just what a powerful tool a smartphone could be. Gone are the days when a home either had no computer or only one machine for an entire family to share.  Also, in the not too distant past, are the days when a computer and monitor setup took up an entire desk due to the sheer bulk of both pieces.

Today, a pocket-sized smartphone may rival the very best and smallest desktop and laptop computers on the market. Each new update of these tiny machines brings more gigabytes of storage, more clarity to the display and faster processing units. Add to this the ease and convenience of loading apps onto a phone and it becomes a very useful tool that is used by countless individuals around the globe.

Challenges of Studying Abroad

Many college students today find that study abroad programs offer a chance to learn about different cultures, offer complete immersion while learning a second language and provide an up-close and personal look at another part of the world. Some, however, are surprised by just how daunting some of these programs can be.  Smartphones can be used as a powerful tool; especially if those phones have the right apps you need for study abroad.


One of the biggest challenges for many students who have chosen to be thousands of miles from home is homesickness. Thankfully, there are apps that can help students touch base with family and friends. The Skype App allows free calls anywhere in the world. This means that whether a student is studying in the UK, China or Austria, they can always reach out to those they are missing.

Language Barrier

It is a rare that study abroad students know a foreign language well enough to be completely comfortable and fluent. Instead of spending time confused and lost, students might want to download a translation app to their phones. Google Translate is one free translation app that might help students clear the hurtle of a language barrier. There are also apps that work well for specific areas of the world. For instance, students studying abroad in Asia might want to download Papago.  This app will help students translation in Chinese, Korean or Japanese.


Just as different cultures have unique languages, they also tend to have different forms of currency. Getting to a place where one understands conversions into a new type of currency can be tricky. Unfortunately, scammers can spot a foreigner a mile away and often hope that they can initiate a business transaction with that person. In this type of transaction, scammers frequently request more money and give incorrect change, knowing the dishonesty will not be discovered.

Downloading a currency converter app and a global tipping app and becoming familiar with how they work before landing in a new country is one-way apps for abroad can help study abroad students to protect themselves and their hard-earned funds while in a host country.

Internet Access

While many places in the United States are now synonymous with free Wi-Fi, students in a study abroad program find all too quickly that locating free internet or even paid internet proves difficult once everything is in a different language.  Downloading a free Wi-Fi Finder app before leaving the U.S. might just help students find a connection a little more easily. Some of these apps work only in certain areas of the world, so be sure to pay attention to the fine print.


Though this app might not be at the top of a “to load” list for students who are getting ready to go abroad, it may just become a favorite app once they are in another country and need to find a potty. Bathroom facilities apps will help students know where available bathrooms are and may even list the hours of availability. In a moment of crisis, this is sure to become a favorite app for study abroad students.

Multi-Destination Study Abroad Programs

Not all study abroad programs require a full semester of a student’s time.  In fact, some multi-destination programs can be completed in a time frame that spans anywhere from 10 – 23 days.  Students enrolling in such programs find that they are able to experience more than one destination and culture while engaging in carefully planned classes and networking opportunities.

Students engaged in these shorter-term programs are sure to appreciate the convenience, comfort and ease each app is sure to bring to their trip. In fact, it may help to make the multi-destination experience feel more like an adventure than an overwhelming whirlwind.

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