Being a student at university can be hard; there are so many new experiences to be faced such as moving away from home and navigating life on your own for the first time. Some might find these experiences difficult, but being an international student unlocks a whole load of extra challenges to face. As an international student myself, I have spent the past three years of my life at university identifying the problems that both my friends from other countries and I have faced and have sought out ways to make our lives a bit easier. Examples of these issues include things like language barriers, cultural differences, accessibility, study limitations and more. Today I am excited to share with you my list of the best apps for international students to use to help us enjoy our student experience and succeed as well as everyone else!
If English is not your first language, studying at a university in the UK is going to be an overwhelming but rewarding experience. Ideally, to be studying a subject at degree level through English you will need to be conversationally proficient at the very least. From my experience, no matter how much you study a language, if you are not living in a native speaking country it can be hard to pick up on certain slang words, phrases, accents etc. There can be moments where you know the word for an item in your own language but not English and this can be incredibly frustrating as a
student trying to write an essay. This is where apps for international students can be a lifesaver, such as Google Translate. There are so many additional functions to choose from in the Google Translate App that go beyond just translating individual words. You can take a picture of text and choose your language of choice and it will automatically convert it for you to understand. This app is going to be your best friend when you’re unsure of the right word to use in an essay, as well as give you access to information that you might have otherwise not been able to understand.
The second of my apps for international students in relation to helping with language barriers is Duolingo. Even if your English language skills are pretty good, there is always room for improvement and the app has a wide range of functions to choose from to bring your English skills to the next level! The Duolingo app can set you daily reminders to check into the app for five minutes and carry out a quick challenge through a flashcard feature in game style. The placement test helps to decide the level you are currently at in that language so that you’re not wasting time working on vocabulary you already know. This is a great way for students to consistently upkeep language learning without additional classes or lengthy lessons on top of their already heavy workload. Additionally, a feature about Duolingo which makes it great for students is its motivation system. Forming new habits can be hard, but with Duolingo’s streak system, you can feel a sense of accomplishment knowing that’s another day you’ve dedicated to improving a part of yourself.
Moving to a new country as a student can be hard because most likely the currency will be different to back home. Transferring money internationally can be expensive and takes time and students need regular access to money to supply themselves with the basics such as food and to pay rent and student fees. One of the best apps for international students which I have found to manage money and reduce financial stress is Revolut. You can essentially open a bank account with Revolut, where you can add and exchange money to other countries for little to no fees, and the transfers have a quick turnover rate. Revolut offer you a virtual card, so no matter what country you are in you can use that to spend money without worrying about heavy exchange rate fees. As an international student I rely on Revolut to receive and send money to my family, and this helps with reducing my financial stress so that I can focus 100% on my studies.
With so much going on, it’s vital to keep track of your studies and personal life so that you stay on top of things. I recommend Notion as one of my apps for international students because it is completely adaptable to suit your individual needs. I know that many students who are bilingual like to mix their notes and content between languages but using software which is scripted can often force you to choose between one or the other. As Notion’s layout is completely customisable, you can set up different pages to keep track of all aspects of your life whilst changing simultaneously between languages if you choose to do so! Notion is a great place to set up a university page to plan your studies visually, keep track of your grades and plan routines and habits to feel in control of the chaos that is being a student in a different country. It’s particularly important for international students to upkeep habits and routines as it can help to form a sense of familiarity for when things may feel different than back home.
If you’re away from the library or have limited access to resources and research due to being in another country, Perlego is up there with the apps for international students to have on their phones. The app is essentially an online library, with over 900,000 books as well as academic texts and other useful tools. This is a subscription service; however, students can avail of a free trial to determine whether this is a useful resource for them or not. If you are a student who is looking for ways to take your grades to the next level and improve your knowledge and research abilities, investing in an app like Perlego will help to expand the resources available to you. A benefit of the resources on Perlego which may outrank your university library is that they have texts in up to six different languages. These include English, French, Spanish, German, Portuguese and Italian, so if you prefer to research in your native language and then translate into English for writing essays, this is a valuable resource to have as an international student!
At times, lectures can feel monotonous and long which makes it difficult to stay focused and concentrate. International students have the additional difficulty in that they need to pay closer attention to make sure they can understand and translate all the information being shared. This is where Jamworks can be one of the great apps for international students as it helps us to feel secure in knowing we’ve captured everything we need to know. Jamworks is a note taking tool for students which can be used to record information from a lecture, so that all the important content is clipped together and ready to be listened back to. This can save students hours of time as they no longer need to rewatch a three-hour lecture to try to remember and understand what was being said.
The app has a wide range of features which prove particularly useful for international students, such as the transcribing tool which translates the audio from clips into written form. This could be copied and pasted into Google Translate if a student needs to understand a clip and they may not even have been able to spell that word originally. There is also a summary feature for clips and my personal favourite being the quiz feature which creates virtual flashcards of the information from your session. These two features are available in the premium membership, which you can currently get for only 99p for your first month via UniDays!
As an international student it can be overwhelming to move across the world to a new place away from your family and friends. You might be experiencing a whole new culture, as well as speaking in a language completely different from your own. Therefore, in order to give yourself the best chance at succeeding on this academic journey you need to avail of the amazing free and useful resources available such as these apps for international students. If your goal for being at university is to build better knowledge and get better grades, apps like Jamworks are going to help you to take better notes and achieve the results you’re striving for as an international student.
Click here to get started with Jamworks today.