In the digital age expats have access to a plethora of different tools when it comes to navigating the difficulties of living abroad.
However, the thousands of apps available can make it difficult to separate the wheat from the chaff, so we’ve compiled a list of five of some of the most useful apps that we think all expats should make use of.
Getting ill in a foreign country can be tough, especially if you haven’t got your bearings yet and are unsure where the local doctor or pharmacy is located.
This is where Doctoalia comes in. The app will give you a map of all nearby health facilities, provide you will information like opening times and give you a rundown of what doctors are available, including what languages they speak.
The app can also be used to book appointments, helping you to avoid the hassle of going into the doctors’ surgery twice, a boon when you’re struggling to get out of bed!
Doctoralia is currently available in 21 countries, with efforts being made to expand the service to even more, so keep an eye out for it!
For the uninitiated, Skype is a free app that allows users to send instant messages and make video calls over the internet.
This is of course an incredibly useful way of staying in contact with friends and family back home, and so long as both sides are making use of the app it’s completely free, saving you from making costly international calls.
Skype is also useful as a networking tool as it allows you to set up conference calls and transfer digital documents, allowing you to stay connected with work even when half way around the world.
When you first move to a new country it can be very difficult to meet new people, especially if you work awkward hours or don’t enjoy going to bars or pubs.
Thankfully the MeetUp app takes on a lot of the leg work when it comes to finding new social circles by offering you the ability to search for local groups of people who enjoy a certain subject or hobby, helping you reach out to individuals that share common interests with you.
The app also allows you to easily find other expats or English speakers, meaning you can avoid the linguistic difficulties that can be so problematic when you first relocate abroad.
MeetUp is a great tool for making connections in a new city and is both recommended for anyone struggling to find local people to hang with or for those just looking to fill their social calendar.
Duolingo is a free app available on the App Store, Google Play and Windows Store that helps expats learn the local language through easily digestible 5-10 minute lessons and games. This fun approach to learning can be great when you’re getting to grips with a new language.
The app is designed to keep you engaged, rewarding you with points for correct answers while slowly reinforcing your vocabulary and improving your grammar over time. The short lessons also allow you to practice your skills while on the move.
The app currently has courses for Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Russian, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Polish and Turkish, and there are plans to add more.
However you may need to graduate to another app once you have mastered the basics as Duolingo lacks material for more advanced levels of study.
Currencies Direct App
Once living abroad you may find that you need to make regular or sporadic currency transfers (to cover living costs, move your pension or meet foreign mortgage payments, for example). Using a bank isn’t all that cost effective, as they tend to charge fees and offer poorer exchange rates than other providers, and can be time consuming.
Leading currency broker Currencies Direct developed its app to help people in this situation save time and money when sending funds overseas.
With the Currencies Direct app you can send money abroad on the go, 24/7, at the touch of a button.
You can also use the app to keep an eye on live exchange rates and even set up a rate alert so you get notified when the exchange rate you’re interested in hits a certain level.
You need to open a free account with Currencies Direct in order to use the app, but as soon as you’re registered you’ll be able to make fast, free transfers on both Apple and Android devices.
As we said previously, there are a huge range of apps that can help make life as an expat that bit easier. This is our pick of five of the best, but have a hunt on the App Store and see what else you can uncover!