When starting your study abroad adventure, there is often an overload of adjustments and protocols. Between regular arrival procedures and orientation meetings, you also have to purchase a phone plan or a track phone for international use. In order to make your transition abroad as smooth as can be, here is a list of some useful apps you can use while adjusting to your new destination (and as an additional perk, they’re all free!).
- WhatsApp & Viber – Both of these apps are essential for study abroad, as it makes communication with friends and family from home much easier. Both apps run on Wi-Fi, so calls and texts are free, which saves you the expense of international calling (just make sure that your data is turned off while using these apps). WhatsApp is a useful and simple tool for messaging and group messaging. Viber has basically the same features as WhatsApp with the addition of video and voice calling. This certainly enhances communication with friends and family, especially when messaging is simply not enough.
- Citymapper – For studying in major cities, this app can be a valuable upgrade from Google Maps. Citymapper gives more detailed journey information than Google, including disruption alerts. They even have a rain option, which creates a route that is most covered by a roof. Another useful feature is that you can save routes on the app that will work even if you’re not connected to Wi-Fi.
- Duolingo – Whether you are participating in a language program abroad or are simply studying in non-English speaking country, this app is a fun way to learn the basics of a language. It works like a game; you need to complete so many levels before advancing.
- Time Out – This app provides a catalogue of things to do in your respective city. The app highlights events, festivals, or other attractions happening in your city, and you can book tickets into these events through the app. Another fun feature is that you can create a customizable travel guide for your adventures.
- YPlan – For any students abroad in the UK, I strongly recommend this app for finding unique events and activities to do around your respective cities. When you develop your profile, you pick what kind of events/activities appeal to you most (music, film, culture, food + drink, etc.), and the app lists options of events happening around town. You can also book tickets in advance to these events through the app (usually at a discount).
Good luck, and happy traveling!
Sara Kopczynski graduated from Pitt in 2017 as a Psychology and English Literature double major with a certificate in Children’s Literature. She spent the academic year of 2015-2016 studying in London, England, first with the London Select: English at UCL program and then with Pitt in London, and interned at Pitt’s Study Abroad Office in Spring 2017.
This article originally appeared in The Traveling Times, an online Pitt SAO newsletter.