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41 Apps for Study Abroad

Apr 7, 2015 9:30:00 AM / by Stephanie Sadler

As of July 2014, Android had 1.3 million apps to choose from and the Apple store had 1.2 million available. These numbers are constantly growing, so how do you decide which ones are most useful during your time abroad? From language learning to navigating a new city, we've rounded up 41 of our top choices: 

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TO FIND WI-FI. 

  • Wi-Fi Finder. Most study abroad students tend to be without wi-fi while out and about in the city. While it's not 100% perfect, the Wifi-Finder app can help you pinpoint a connection hotspot when you need it most as well as directions to the location. It's available in more than 140 countries, which should have you covered. (available for iOS and Android; free)

Photo: Wi-Fi Finder

TO STAY CONNECTED.

  • WhatsApp. This is probably oneapp that everyone already has, but it's most useful when you're abroad. You can message your friends for free, set up chat groups (your family back home? your housemates?) and it was recently announced that the Android version now allows voice calls. iOS voice calls will be launched in a few weeks. (available for iOS and Android; $.99)
  • Telegram. Similar to WhatsApp in the sense that this is a free messaging app, Telegram is cloud-based which means you can connect all of your devices to access messages. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Viber. Another popular app amongst CAPA study abroaders for staying in touch is Viber. It's a free for texts, calls, photo messages and location-sharing with other Viber users. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Skype. The classic keep in touch app, Skype lets you make video calls to friends and family back home, and on top of being an ordinary messaging app, you can share screens, files and photos. There are low rates for calling landlines too. They recently introduced Skype Qik which lets you swap videos with groups of friends. (available for iOS and Android; free)


Photo: Skype

TO MAKE YOUR TRIP PLANNING GO SMOOTHLY.

  • Skyscanner. Looking for cheap flights? Skyscanner has a huge database with over 600 airlines to help you find the best deal. If your destination or dates are flexible, you can figure out which cities are cheapest to fly into and when. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • FlightTrack. Whether you're tracking your own flight or waiting for a friend or family member to visit, this will show you exactly where the plane is at any given moment, whether there are cancellations or delays, which terminal you need to go to and where to collect baggage. (available for iOS and Android; $4,99)
  • GateGuru. This app lets you check real time flight status along with airport security wait times. If you have a long layover, you'll be pleased to see reviews and tips on the local airport amenities and how to navigate your way around. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Hostelworld. With listings of some 30,000 properties in 180 countries, the Hostelworld app is a great place to start when you're looking for cheap accommodation on your travels. There's everything you would expect from an app like this: pricing, reviews, photos, availability, etc. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • TripAdvisor. Do you read reviews before you travel? If you do, you're well aware of the value of TripAdvisor. The best part is probably being able to see traveler photos instead of just the professional ones when you're booking hotels or looking for restaurants. The app has a location based function called Near Me Now to help plan your day based on what's nearby. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • TripIt. Need an itinerary for your complicated trip plans? Instead of writing it all down, try TripIt which will automatically import confirmation emails from your inbox and pull together the important details: dates, confirmation numbers, flight gates, hotel addresses, etc. It will even let you know if there's a better seat on your flight. (available for iOS and Android; free)


Photo: Gate Guru

TO NAVIGATE.

  • Citymapper. This one is definitely a must for students headed to CAPA London, but if you travel to other major cities where this app works (like Paris, Rome, Berlin or Barcelona, for example), download it! You can plan your journey through the city using the tube, buses, bikes, taxis or a walking route (Which tells you how many calories you'll burn). There's even a rain free option and you can track the location of your chosen transportation to see how long it will take to arrive. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Uber. Need a ride? You'll need wi-fi, but you can use Uber in 55 countries for much lower rates on cabs with cashless transactions and the ability to arrange split fares, etc. They've recently partnered with Spotify so you can play your own music while you're in the car if you use both apps. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Google Maps. The classic maps app, Google Maps works everywhere and it can tell you exactly which bus, tram, or train to take to your destination as well as what times they run. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Maps+. Don't want to carry your paper guidebook map around? Maps+ is a great substitute when you need to find your way. You can access maps without wi-fi and focus on exploring without worrying about getting lost. Simple. (available for iOS only; free)
  • MAPS.ME. Once you download your map, there's no internet connection required for this one, it works all over the world, has GPS positioning and you can zoom in for a highly detailed look at where you are. The data comes from OpenStreetMap and the database is up-to-date by the minute. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Cuppings. Coffee fanatic? Download Cuppings. Even without internet, it will point you in the direction of the best local pick-me-up. So far it's available in CAPA cities of London and Sydney (and a ton of other locations you may be traveling to over break). (available for iOS only; $.99)
  • AroundMe. In an area you're unfamiliar with and looking for a café, bar, shop, supermarket, hospital, cinema or bank nearby? AroundMe uses your location data to give you recommendations and shows you how to get there too. (available for iOS only; free)


Photo: Citymapper

TO TRACK YOUR SPENDING.

  • Converter+. An app that many students swear by while abroad, Converter+ has a pretty impressive list of possible conversions from currencies to tipping to weight to temperature - everything you really need to know while you're traveling. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • XE Currency. If it's just money you're interested in, XE is easy to use and will work on 180+ currencies. It shows live currency rates and works offline as well. XE was featured by the BBC, the LA Times, CNN, and The Travel Channel. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Mint. A useful app for students on a budget, you can connect your personal finance accounts to Mint and use the app to see where you're spending most, set up saving goals, send yourself payment reminders and just keep better track of where your money goes. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Level Money. Because Level Money links directly to your bank account, you won't have to remember to manually type in your purchases. You can track your spending habits and let it know how much you're trying to save so it can keep you on track. It adjusts for overspending so you have less in your budget the next day. (available for iOS and Android; free)


Photo: XE Currency

TO LEARN A LANGUAGE.

  • Duolingo. Studying in Florence and need to practice your Italian? Download Duolingo for a variety of languages. It's a fun way to learn and to track your progress as you progress through levels, testing your speaking, listening, reading and writing skills. You can play on your own or challenge your friends. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Google Translate. This is always a good one to have on hand while you're living or traveling in another country, or even while making international friends who might not speak English completely fluently or whose language you are trying to learn. You can translate words or phrases with your voice, camera, keyboard or handwriting. (available for iOS and Android; free)

Photo: Duolingo

TO SHARE PHOTOS.

  • Instagram. One of the world's most popular apps, we love Instagram for photo sharing and the creative possibilities that come with all of its filters. In fact, you can follow along at @CAPAStudyAbroad. Tag us in your CAPA photos or use #CAPAStudyAbroad. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Snapchat. Another favorite among CAPA students, Snapchat is an app that barely needs an introduction. Snap a photo, add a caption, send it to a friend and they'll enjoy it for a few seconds bfore it vanishes. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Postagram Postcards. Still love snail mail? Postagram lets you take photos on your phone and then turns them into real postcards to send home with 3x3 inch images and a Tweet-sized message. (available for iOS and Android; free)

TO TELL A STORY.

  • Steller. Create storybooks of your travels, combining photos, videos and text into sleek, elegant templates. You can share your stories and follow other users or collections. You can like, comment and use hashtags like you would on any social network. (available for iOS only; free)
  • Sce.ne. Two CAPA London Spring 2015 students are interning with Sce.ne and speak highly of the app Sce.ne. Similar to Steller, it's a storytelling app, allowing you to pop photos and text into an easy-to-use template. You can share, like and even add music to your stories, creating a soundtrack for your study abroad adventures. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Storehouse. With Storehouse, you can create beautiful visual reminders of your travels with smart layouts. There's also a newsfeed which shows of some of the best curated content produced through the app for inspiration. (available for iOS only; free)
  • Cameo. Filming while you're abroad? Check out Cameo which is a free video editor you can use on your phone to combine clips and add a soundtrack. There are plenty of themes, styles and effects to choose from and cloud storage to save space. (available for iOS only; free)
  • Travelpod. More of a blogging app, TravelPod lets you write posts online as well as during those times you're traveling with no connection. These are saved online for you to share and read later on. It's great for new bloggers and those who want to create content without a connection, when you're sitting in the park or on a train without wi-fi. (available for iOS only; free)

Video: CAPA London student Julie demonstrates Sce.ne where she's interning

TO BE AWARE OF THE WORLD. 

  • NYTimes. It's important to keep up with the news when you travel. There are many apps to choose from. NYTimes is just one option. You can see morning briefings, sign up for breaking news alerts, and save articles to read later. It's free to download and gives you some free content, but you'll need a digital subscription to access everything. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • AP Mobile. Another option for news is AP Mobile from The Associated Press which covers events worldwide. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • BBC News. If you're studying abroad on the CAPA London program, it's worth downloading the BBC (British Broadcasting Corporation) app for both local news stories and worldwide coverage that can be organized by region. You can personalize the app by interest and save content to read offline later on. (available for iOS and Android; free)

OTHER HELPFUL APPS. 

  • Dropbox. Need to access your files (course schedules, anyone?) away from your laptop? If you don't already use it, you'll find Dropbox helpful for keeping you organized. It will sync to all of your devices and is an easy way to send larger files too. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Pinterest. If you use Pinterest, you know how useful (and addictive) it can be! Organize images and links into categories to look back on later. Planning a trip to Amsterdam? Start a board with all of the cafes, parks, shops and restaurants you plan to visit or blog posts with tips from locals. Check out our post, 10 Ways to Use Pinterest for Study Abroad and follow us at @CAPAStudyAbroad for inspiration. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Spotify. Capturing your memories through music with study abroad or travel playlists? Check out Spotify and take your music anywhere. There's a huge library of songs to choose from along with ready-made playlists like the top hits in your host country. You can listen offline too. It's free with ads or you can pay for a monthly subscription. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • We Heart It. Similar to Pinterest is the We Heart It app. You can award hearts to images you love and move them into handy collections to look back on later. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • Wunderlist. Find yourself constantly writing to do lists or bucket lists? You'll love Wunderlust which syncs across all of your devices, sends you reminders and allows you to collaborate with other people. Working through steps of a group assignment? Pulling together a list of cool places to check out in Berlin with your travel buddies? This one is for you. (available for iOS and Android; free)
  • YPlan. Unfortunately, YPlan is still only available in London, New York and San Francisco, but it is a favorite of CAPA London staff and students for planning spontaneous nights out in the capital. You can book concerts through the app or find quirky pop-ups to check out that you may not have discovered otherwise. (available for iOS and Android; free)

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Topics: Practical Study Abroad Advice, Study Abroad