By Isabelle Bilton
Being an international student is a lot of fun. There’s a new country to explore, new people to meet, and often a new language to master. Although that’s not to say you won’t encounter a few trials and tribulations along the way.
Luckily, we’re here to make it that little bit easier for you. To combat any potential bumps in the road, here’s 13 handy apps that help with life as an international student.
1. Sleep If U Can
For all those night owls who just can’t seem to get out of bed in the morning, Sleep If U Can provides a rather unique way to get up. When your alarm rings, you will have to complete a certain task before you are able to turn it off. No more sleepily pressing snooze twelve times!
You can select certain places in your house to take a photograph of in order to turn the alarm off. The app suggests your sink. By the time you get to the sink, chances are you will be more likely to stay awake, rather than crawl back into bed.
Chances are before university you had only lived with your family. Now, living with a new mix of people from all over the world, it isn’t always easy. Managing your chores with other housemates and remembering to divide and pay your bills on time can be tricky tasks. Chored cuts out all the confusion, squabbles, and hassle with sharing chores and bills. It divides everything up equally and efficiently and lets you pay your provider directly.
Going abroad as a music fan has many perks. Perhaps your favourite band is more likely to play in your new country than at home, or you get to discover a new local music scene. Although, it’s likely you have had to leave behind your Hi-Fi and extensive CD and record collection. Baggage reclaim doesn’t take too kindly to fragile electricals.
Spotify is certainly worth a download. You can listen to music at home and on the go. It’s not quite your vintage vinyl collection but the app has access to a huge catalogue of music. You are bound to find all the music you like on there and, better yet, you can have access to it all at the touch of a finger in the handy format of your smartphone.
Referencing is an often dreaded but essential part of being a student. For every essay you write, there are (or there should be) a healthy page or two of sources in your bibliography. Not only that but you’re usually expected to cite sources throughout the essay. It can be a long and tedious process, especially when you lose track of your sources but RefMe does most of it for you. You just need to photograph the barcode of your books and journals and the app will store it for you, referenced as you request.
Whatsapp definitely isn’t a secret “student hack” but you would be foolish to not have downloaded it. When connected to Wi-Fi, or if you have free roaming or a sim card from your new country, you can communicate for free with friends and relatives all over the world. You can easily send photographs, videos, links, and sound clips to keep everyone back home in the loop.
6. Free Wi-Fi Finder for Apple or Android
So, while you’re busy WhatsApping your family or listening to Spotify or referencing that all-important book, you will need access to the Internet. You might have free data roaming, or a local sim with data included in your plan, but chances are you wouldn’t turn down free Wi-Fi. The app locates nearby places which offer free access to the Internet. You can filter through results depending on where you are looking for, like a café or library. You can also save your favourite locations, so you remember that great spot next time you need Wi-Fi.
7. Google Translate
If the country you have moved to doesn’t speak your mother-tongue, it’s pretty much inevitable you will need the powers of Google Translate at some point. The app translates 80 different languages and allows translation through text, handwriting, and speech. The app is totally free, and you can even download handy words and phrases for quick access offline too.
If your language skills are slightly below the Google Translate stage or you are keen to learn another language, then Duolingo is perfect. The app lets users play games and race against the clock to learn a new language. Again, it costs nothing but will certainly help you improve your language skills.
9. City Maps 2Go for Apple and Android
This free travel guide and offline map are sure to come in handy. It works best for those whose universities are in or close to major cities. If you want to find out more about your city as well as happily navigate its streets then City Maps 2Go has you covered. It compiles detailed maps with information on all the great points of interest across the city, and you don’t even need to be connected to the Internet. The app also has a social function. Fellow students and travellers are able to leave comments and tips, and you can share all your new finds with friends at the tap of a finger.
Sick of waiting in the pouring rain for a seemingly non-existent bus? Luckily, the minds behind Moovit recognised this and developed an app to prevent waiting around unnecessarily for busses and trains. The app allows users to track public transport from their mobile phones. It also finds the quickest route possible to get you from A to B in no time.
Sadly, this app is currently only available for iPad users. Tough luck if you use a phone or laptop (or classic pen and paper) for taking notes in lectures. If you do have an iPad, this app is a definite must-have for the art of recording lectures.
The app acts both as a notepad and an audio-recorder. This means you can store entire lectures in both visual and audio form. If your lecturer is skipping through those slides quicker than you can process, then the Office Lens add-on also lets users photograph whiteboards. It converts the photo into a PDF, Word or Powerpoint file and stores it to OneNote or OneDrive for easy access when it comes to revision.
12. Circle of Six for Apple or Android
Circle of Six allows students to keep safe and connected to their friends. You can locate lost friends on drunken nights out, check how far away they are from arriving at yours, and call for help if anything goes wrong! You just need to set the app up with six of your close friends and you’ll never find yourself worrying if they got home okay.
13. Lost on Campus (only in Australia)
Bad news for students outside of Australia – but great news for all you temporary Aussies! This ingenious app displays detailed maps of university campuses across the country. It locates lecture theatres, classrooms, coffee shops, toilets and even vending machines! It also features comments and reviews from other users, so you can gain all the inside knowledge on the best spots on campus.