If your parents spent a college semester abroad, they probably had to wait in line to use an old rotary phone to call home and pay about a thousand dollars a minute for the chat. If they got lost, they drug out a map of the city. If they didn’t understand currency conversion, they accepted getting ripped off as part of the experience, and if they wanted to know what was going on back home they had to find a store that sold American newspapers. Can you imagine?
The apps available for today’s students don’t just make studying abroad easier, they make it safer. Check out this list of must-have apps for your semester abroad and leave the map folding to dad.
Traveling light can be a challenge when you don’t know what to pack. In the short ride from Rome to Venice, you could be facing an entirely different climate when you get off the train. WeatherBug is a free app for Android and iPhone Operating System that uses map technology to let you know what kind of weather to expect wherever you’re going.
Convert Any Unit
Yes, you probably should’ve paid better attention when your teacher was explaining the decimal system that almost every other country in the world uses to measure things, but if you don’t know the difference between a quart and a liter or how to convert feet into meters, Convert Any Unit for iOS will do it for you. A free version of Convert Any Unit is available, plus one with a few extras for $2.99.
Imagine getting sick while abroad and sitting in a doctor’s office where you don’t understand the language or the health care system. Of course, if you’re going to study in Europe or any international location you should have the right student healthcare insurance. But HealthTap for Android and iOS offers extra peace of mind by giving you a free second (or third) opinion from a United States-licensed physician in real time. Simply ask your question and HealthTap provides a reliable answer.
There are a lot of currency-converting apps to choose from, but Currency Banknotes for Android and iOS is great for students because it includes an image of what each bill or coin looks like. If you’re studying in a region where several different currencies are used things can get confusing quickly. For 99 cents, Currency Banknotes gives you a visual aid to help keep your finances straight and prevent you from looking like a dummy in front of that cute local.
Learning the language is part of the experience of studying abroad, but until you become fluent, the free app iTranslate can help you avoid some embarrassing conversational faux pas. Whether you need a word or phrase, iTranslate offers help with over 60 languages and includes a handy dictionary.
You learn, play and communicate with the help of technology—why not travel with it, too? No matter how excited you are, spending a semester away from your friends and family is a little frightening. It’s difficult for anyone to be away from their familiar life for an extended time. The right apps can help you navigate through unknown territory and make home feel a little closer.