In this day and age, no matter what you need – ‘there’s an app for that!’.
For busy study abroaders who are focusing on acing the next exam as well as life itself, apps are a godsend helping you save time, money, and energy on all of the key essentials from food shopping, school supplies, and even study break advice.
Here are my 8 favorite apps all study abroad students should be using in 2020:
For Studying & Scoring Higher…
Offering everything from flashcards to study guides, notes, and other educational guides, StudyBlue provides practical learning tools for students, getting you away from the bore of traditional textbooks and homework.
Featuring access to materials on a variety of topics including Advanced French, Politics, and Chemistry, this app is perfect whether you’re a high schooler or college junior. The best part about this service is that it features tailored materials from colleges and universities, so you can rely on the fact that the information is relevant to your course compared to other generalized materials.
Pricing: StudyBlue is now a Chegg-owned service and operates on a subscription basis. The app is available on iOS and Android phones.
On the hunt for an all-inclusive digital planner that will help you keep track of all of your class assignments, exams, and upcoming group projects? myHomework just might work for you.
Helping you stay focused as you complete tasks, you can sync it with other calendars and devices to ensure all of your need-to-finish duties for classes are in one place. You’ll also receive deadline reminders ahead of time to ensure you’re never late turning in that assignment you worked so hard on.
Pricing: Basic plans are free (feature ads). If you’d like to upgrade later and get access to more features, consider their premium plan for $4.99 USD per year.
For Focusing & Getting It Done…
Are you a fan of mind mapping? During your studies, you’re likely to work in groups at some point, and using this method is a great way to compile everyone’s thoughts together before setting out to start your project.
MindMeister is awesome because it’s a digital mind mapping app that allows you to customize any task with detail, including assigning project elements and selecting deliverables for all users.
In addition to using it for group work, consider just using it on your own to stay organized and track all the moving parts of your studies.
Pricing: Single users pay just $4.99 USD per month, while groups pay less than $10 USD.
4. Focus Keeper
So back in my study abroad day, before apps were really a thing (oh 2008…we remember you fondly!) I used to manage the time I spent on course assignment by blocking off time on paper and then literally timing myself with a phone.
15 minutes, then take a break. 10 minutes, take a break, 30 minutes take another break.
And while that seems like a super-regimented concept, there’s a science that proves this strategy often helps people stay on task and complete projects more efficiently. In fact, there’s an entire ‘method’ to this madness – known as Pomodoro.
Of course, 10 years later, there are now many mobile-friendly apps that will help you do the same. For this blog post, I’m actually using Focus Keeper and thus far am loving it. As someone who can often get hit by the procrastination bug when I’m working on lots of different projects, I still find this concept the most useful for me to keep things moving along. Use it alone or for group study projects and watch your time keep skills improve.
For Keeping Fit…
5. MyLife Meditation (Formally Stop, Breathe & Think)
I used to find meditation to be a bit goofy, something only hardcore ‘zen’ types would do -until it changed my life. Mental health is just as important as physical health. And while I think investing in a good therapist is valuable for students (we’ll discuss this at a different time!), self-help can also fill the gaps for the times you need to silence the mind.
I use Mylife Meditation (Formally Stop, Breathe & Think) quite often, usually before bed. One of my favorite things in addition to the soothing tone of the moderators is that the exercises are short and there’s a lot of variety. Whether you’re looking to settle your mind before sleep or trying to welcome a new day, this app offers something for everyone.
Pricing: Available for less than $5 USD per month!
6. Daily Burn
Although I have found a series of fitness videos on youtube that get me going everyday, I can see the value in structured workout apps. You can customize your experience and there’s a community atmosphere to them.
Daily Burn is a subscription-based model website that gives users access to a large library of streamable workout videos and a community of folks all trying to stay in shape.
I must say, one of my favorite things about this app is that the videos are all ‘realistic’, meaning they use real people of all shapes and sizes. There’s nothing more defeating than pushing hard through a workout and looking for inspiration you can’t find when everyone on your screen already looks perfect.
Good job on them for meeting the majority of the world where we are – imperfect and looking to make a change. You no longer have excuses when you don’t feel like walking over to the campus gym.
Sign in and get moving!
Pricing: Trial Periods are Free and you’ll be charged $19.95 USD after your grace period ends.
For All Things Money…
Budget. We’ve all got one, some bigger than others, but as students often living on the dimes of our parents while abroad or using scholarships/ loan money, it’s limited regardless.
The foolproof budgeting app Pennies is here to save the day and to aid in you putting a fork in your spending (just think, the less you spend, the more you save!).
It’s no-frills and pretty simple to use. Just plug in your budget for various expenses and start tracking what you spend as you go along. This will also help you save yourself from extra bank fees on foreign withdrawals and allows you to get better at mentally calculating exchange rates in conjunction with what you can afford. Give it a go!
Price: One-time fee of $3.99 USD in the iOS store
As a small business owner, I use Xoom (now owned by PayPal) frequently to wire money to vendors and to other accounts I own often. For students,the ability to access cash quickly is essential, especially if emergencies present themselves.
Consider getting your parents or family members to get a Xoom account as well. It’s easy, all they need to do is sign up and designate you as a recipient along with which bank account or debit card they’d like the fees to come from. Most transfers take less than an hour from bank to bank globally and if you run into issues, they have a wonderful customer service team who can help you out and trace down any problems.
Compared to other apps, you are required to enter less personal information and they have very low processing fees.
Pricing: Free to sign up, nominal fee for sending funds, no fee for receiving funds.
While this list is just a starting point for apps you will likely want at your fingertips during your semester away, I hope this has been helpful to get you started to begin navigating this new adventure.
What are some of your favorite apps that you are likely to use while away? LEAVE A COMMENT.
Until next time…
Note: This blog post is NOT sponsored. I have used all of these products at my own will and am not receiving any compensation for featuring them. Thanks for visiting!