Essential Smart Phone Apps For Your Study Abroad

Before I studied abroad I had no clue how dependent I would become on my smart phone. Everything from directions, translations, and what to do around the city I counted on my smart phone to be my guide. No matter how much of a techy you are or how much you use your phone, you have to admit, the right apps are essential to your smartphone usage. Here are some of the best (and free!) apps for your study abroad!

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Translation apps are a lifesaver when the language barrier is not your friend. There are many free ones to choose from, and they range all the way from simple dictionaries to person-to-person communication practice!

Smart Phone Apps Google TranslateGoogle Translate

While I have to admit that it’s not always the best at translating sentences, this app does come in handy. It even has a picture feature that deciphers what you take a picture of. This came in so handy when trying to figure out what Japanese shampoo I should buy.

Smart Phone AppsLanguage-to-Language Dictionaries

The app store is filled with dictionary apps. The one I chose and used on a daily basis in Japan was Nihongo. It had example sentences for almost every word and situation I could think of.  The more examples, the better!

Smart Phone Apps HelloTalkHelloTalk

This is a unique app that allows you to connect with other people around the world based on the languages you know and want to know! You can write posts and direct message others while having your grammar corrected. You can even directly call others to practice speaking!


If you find yourself with some free time, do not sit in your dorm all day. I repeat, do not sit in your dorm! Your time is precious while your abroad.

Smart Phone Apps MeetupMeetup

This app has become an all time favorite of mine that I still use now! You create an account, add your interests, and then it hooks you up with local groups and events in your area.


Trying new food was important to me during my stay in Tokyo. While I did use Google Maps to help find a bite to eat, there was one app that I always relied on.

Smart Phone Apps YelpYelp

Yelp was always where I clicked when I needed to check out the food in my area. The contributed food picture always came in handy when the menu was hard to understand!


Next to transportation, communication apps are pretty damn important when it comes to calling your worried parents or making plans with your new foreign friends.

Smart Phone Apps LINELINE, Skype, WhatsApp

What all three of these apps have in common is their ability to connect you with others. What app you chose might just depending on what everyone else is using around you. LINE is extremely popular in Japan while I noticed WhatsApp was what my friends studying in Europe were using.


All fun and games aside, there is that “study” part to “study abroad”. Here is what I used to cram for all of those vocabulary tests.

Smart Phone Apps QuizletQuizlet

When it comes to studying (or you know, cramming) I found that Quizlet is king. This study app gives you different options to remember things instead of just flash cards. Plus, you can look up study sets that other users have already created!


Last but definitely not the least, transportation apps are always there to calm your nerves when you make a wrong turn (or a few!). 

Smart Phone Apps Google MapsLocal Metro Apps and Google Maps

Local transportation apps will quickly become your new best friend when you are abroad. Tailored to your city or town, these apps usually have the most convenient, cheapest, and quickest ways to get to your destination. Google Maps, almost a given, is also a great guide for roads and using public transportation. It also keeps you updated on traffic.

Smart Phone Apps UlmonCity maps

This app allows you to download maps of different cities, save your favorite spots to customized lists, and even browse other popular lists filled with hidden gems in your city. You can also find reviews and articles too! Plus, if you have already download your map to the app, no WiFi means no problem!


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Kellie Parker

Hey! Kellie is a 22 year old super senior working on her International Studies degree and completing a TEFL certificate at the University of Central Florida in sunny Orlando, Florida. Her hobbies include: traveling, studying Japanese, obsessing over kawaii things, going to 2000s hip-hop nights, making her friends take pictures of her in front of mural walls, binge eating Hot Cheetos, petting puppies, using only the stair master at the gym, being a Mario Kart champion, getting free samples, and posting all of the yummy food she eats on her foodie IG @futari_food.

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