It’s hard to argue with how much technology is changing our lives. There’s an app for nearly everything now, and for international students studying in the U.S., they will surely make their experience living abroad much easier. Students who have just arrived should check out the following apps — most of which are available for both Apple devices and those that run on Google’s Android system.
Google Maps: One of the best map applications out there, Google Maps makes sure you get to the right places on time.
If you don’t want to use up your mobile data, Google Maps has the option to save maps for use offline. If you’re driving during peak hours, Google Maps does a pretty good job of showing you which streets are crowded and which streets are not. If you bike to school, Google Maps also shows bike routes.
Google Translate: I consider myself to be pretty fluent in English, but once in a while, I’ll find myself wanting to say something that I only know the word for in Indonesian. That’s when Google Translate becomes incredibly useful. If you are in the mood to impress someone with some Latin or Afrikaans, Google Translate comes in pretty handy.
Translate also offers an option to translate the handwriting for many languages. Users can draw an individual character or an expression with a finger — and the app will translate it.
Venmo: When I’m going out with friends, I often find myself in the awkward situation of wondering how I should pay people back for expenses like dinner. It’s hard to pay by cash, because cash has become somewhat obsolete, and few people in the U.S. carry cash these days.
Venmo is an app that lets you pay your friends in a fast and simple way. All you need to do is put your debit or credit card information on the app and you’re ready to go. If you want to pay back a friend, click the New payment button on the top right, select the person you want to pay and the amount, add a short description of the payment, and you’re done.
Converter+: Understanding the different units of measurement is one of the biggest challenges of moving to a new country. This includes temperature, length, weight, and even currency. Converter+ has conversions for everything, including velocity, volume, currency and area.
LINE : Saying goodbye to old friends is always hard, and it’s important to keep in touch. LINE is a communication app that allows you to send messages and make voice calls to other users for free.
[Get familiar with a typical day of a U.S. college student.]
DataMan: When I first arrived in the U.S., I was shocked at how expensive phone plans are. In Indonesia, I was used to paying about $10 a month, and in the U.S., I pay $60 a month. DataMan is an iOS-only app that keeps track of how much data you’ve used each month, which is helpful for managing your cellphone plan limits.
Spotify: I feel like my music library has quadrupled within the past two years since I’ve used this app — which is available in a lot of countries, but not all, including my home country. Spotify is similar to iTunes, except that you don’t have to purchase every song you want to listen to.
If you have the free membership, then you’ll get ads once in a while, but you can buy subscription upgrades to get rid of the ads and listen to your playlists while offline. If you’re a student, you can also get a discount on the premium membership.
Indira Pranabudi, from Indonesia, is a student at Brown University studying computer science. She previously studied at Green River Community College in Auburn, Wash.