Smartphone Features & Apps for International Students
Modern-day technology has unveiled an abundance of smartphone features and apps for any and every purpose. From messaging platforms and planning apps, to translators and keyboards, there is no lack of choice for students embarking on a study abroad trip. These differing smartphone tools may come in handy when experiencing language barriers, cultural differences, or time zone changes, among other nuances.
Besides smartphone tools, students must also consider purchasing an international student phone plan when traveling to a foreign country. Each phone plan comes with its own cost, benefits, and properties. Before making any decisions, consider each smartphone plan, feature, and app mentioned below.
Cell phone plans for college students.
Although many individuals already have a phone plan, it is important to check if that plan will work outside of its country of origin. Will My Phone Work is a useful website that allows you to check the status of your phone with regard to international carriers. Make sure to also contact your carrier for confirmation.
A few phone plans continue working outside of their place of origin, such as Verizon’s unlimited plan, which extends to both Canada and Mexico. For plans that do not operate in foreign countries, students should weigh different international phone plan options. Several international phone plans allow you to continue using the same smartphone while living in different countries.
Further matters students should take into consideration when choosing an international phone plan include:
Discounts specifically for international students;
Unlimited talk and text to maintain contact with loved ones;
An adequate data plan for academic needs;
Adequate coverage for your study abroad destination.
Essential features to look for in a phone.
Every phone comes with an assortment of features that international students may find useful. A few of those features may include:
International keyboards to text in different languages;
Settings to change the language of your phone;
Find My Phone apps to locate a lost phone;
Search engine apps, such as Safari or Google.
Apps for getting used to living abroad.
Moving abroad often requires some getting used to. Students on exchange must navigate a new language, cultural norms, and unfamiliar locations, among other various matters. New apps, however, help make it easier for exchange students to adjust to their new environment. With such apps, students need only to remember where they put their travel adapter. The following apps offer useful tools for anyone studying abroad:
App Name: Duolingo
Platform(s): The app is available on Android, iOS, Windows Phone, and Windows 10 Mobile. Duolingo is also available on desktop computers.
Price: The general Duolingo app is free to users and features occasional ads. Users may upgrade to Duolingo Plus for $9.99 per month. The plus membership removes ads and allows users to download lessons to perform when not connected to the internet.
Duolingo is a language learning app that offers lessons in English, Spanish, Russian, Greek, and Japanese, among many other languages. Users are asked to write, translate, and speak sentences and phrases, as well as read short stories. Lessons include both written and audio components. What can’t be learned from Duolingo generally includes grammar and semantics.
Features included in Duolingo can benefit international students by providing them a familiarity with the language of the country they’re in. The stories component, especially, can teach students syntax and pronunciation skills.
App Name: Google Translate
Platform(s): The app is available on iPhone, iPad, and iTouch, each of which must be updated to iOS 7+. Google Translate is also available on desktop computers.
Price: The app is free.
Google Translate allows users to receive translations of written or spoken words, phrases, or sentences. As of 2016, Google Translate supports over 100 languages. Like all translators, the app is vulnerable to mistakes. Google Translate often struggles to pick up a language’s semantics.
International students can use Google Translate to input words or phrases that are unfamiliar to them. The audio component makes the app extra helpful as users can speak directly into their phones and receive immediate translations. Google Translate can be used both inside and outside of the classroom, for casual conversations with friends or for translating words in a textbook.
App Name: Timeshifter
Platform(s): The app is available on iOS and Android.
Price: The Timeshifter app comes with one free plan. All subsequent plans require a single purchase or subscription. Single purchases cost $10 per plan; the subscription is $24.99 per year.
Timeshifter is an app that serves to alleviate and prevent jet lag while traveling through different time zones. Users can input flight information and the app will relay instructions on avoiding jet lag. Such instructions include when to get bright light, avoid bright light, take a nap, take melatonin, consume caffeine, and avoid caffeine.
International students can adjust to their new time zone by manipulating their circadian rhythm with the app’s built-in tools.