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An international student's secret weapon - the smartphone

Do not underestimate the use of your smartphones while you study abroad. There are thousands if not millions of applications out there that can help with a wide variety of things, including the GradTrain site and app that has great tools, tips and mentoring which you will find useful before and during your studies abroad. When traveling to a new place, especially for long periods of time, applications can be your best friend. Google Maps, for instance can be an amazing tool for initially finding your way around. Aside, from Google Maps there are applications for finding restaurants, for translating words you do not understand, for finding entertainment and obviously for calling or texting friends if you need help or just want their opinion on a great restaurant in the area. Apps are also a key way for staying in touch with your family and home country while studying abroad. Below are a few key ways to leverage your phone while studying abroad.

One of the most well known applications for translation is google translate. However, there are many more like it, but no matter which one you use they can really help you during your studies abroad. For example if you are in a grocery store and you are looking for something and do not know the word for it or if the cooking instructions are in a language that is not your first language all you have to do is type in the word to show it to someone or take a picture of the instructions in the google translate app. Also there may be times that you are in a conversation and do not know how to say a certain word or phrase - you just type it in. the little things like that can help a lot and you can learn from it to the point where you will need to use it less and less.
Applications: Google Translate, TripLingo, iTanslate, Waygo, etc.

When you first get to a new country traveling around may be confusing as an international student. You do not know how the bus or subway works yet or you simply do not know how to walk back home from class or how to get to a building at your university. Eventually you will not need to use these as much, but they are helpful in the beginning and later on, to explore new areas. With the exception of maybe the bus or subway applications that you may need to use regularly for bus numbers, timetables or which rail to get on, and the shared economy transportation apps that you may want to use instead of public transportation in some areas.
Applications: Google Maps, Waze, Uber, Lyft, NextBus, Moovit, Transit - NYC, etc.

Your friends who live in the country you are studying in will probably know all the best restaurants and entertainment, though there are many apps that can help if no one is available or if you just want to see reviews or ratings before you decide to spend your money. You can reduce the chance of wasting your money on a restaurant or anything else you are planning to spend money on by using applications like Yelp and others.

Modern technology has made life so much easier so take advantage of. Your smartphone has internet access practically everywhere. Even if you do not have mobile data there are always wifi hotspots near by. The internet, along with the millions of phone applications out there, are useful when you are in your home country, so why would it not be useful in a new country. Take advantage of all the tools at your disposal during your studies abroad and your life will be that much easier.     

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