Line is one of the most popular Korean mobile messenger app with free voice and video call. Kakaotalk is the most popular one in South Korea, but I actually like Line better because I can video-call people for free! It's also faster than Kakaotalk as well. It has a lots of free cute stickers or emoticons I can use when I text people while I have to pay for extra cute emoticons in Kakaotalk, or other mobile messenger apps relatively have limited emoticons!
Soyoung - (from South Korea) - Wisconsin, United States - Spring 2014
KakaoTalk is a very popular messaging app among the South Koreans, and it’s getting more and more common among Asian countries. It is a very interesting app with a lot of fun and cute emoticons. Background pictures or themes can be customized too. You can create a group chat too, so that a group of friends can chat together in a conversation. You can send photos, videos or voice notes to your friends and groups. Free calls are also available, the only thing it doesn’t have is video call.
Abel - (from Malaysia) - Wisconsin, United States - Spring 2014
I used Instagram mainly as a tool for documentation. I really enjoy photography, so for me it is a really fun app! I posted almost 90 pictures to Instagram during the 5 months that I was abroad. It was a quick, fun, and easy way for me to share and document the places I visited. For those at home, it was also a fun way to keep up with my travels.
What I like about Instagram is the ability to tag the picture on a map. I also like that the hashtags enable others to see my pictures. Both of those features worked well for me and made the app more enjoyable. What I don’t like about the app is the inability to add hyperlinks, and the limited amount of notifications saved. There are only a handful of “likes” and comments and notifications we can see, so it is easy to miss comments every now and then.
One of the apps I used the most while studying abroad in China was "WeChat". The reason behind it is that almost everyone in China uses this app for communicating with each other. This app is very similar to WhatsApp and Vibe with the addition of a feature called Moments that is similar to the Facebook timeline. I would definitely recommend the use of this app for anyone who plans on studying abroad in China, being the perfect tool for keeping in touch with friends.
Jorge - China - Fall 2013
Viber is a mobile phone app that allows you to connect with friends and family for free. It's great for staying in contact with people, you can share pictures, text and talk just as you usually do, thus making you feel closer to home! I like that it's free and it works fine most of the time. I dislike that it sometimes cuts out or the quality can go bad if you have a weak signal.
Christofer - (from Sweden) - Wisconsin, United States - Spring 2012
Using Facebook was extremely helpful in all stages of the study abroad process (pre-departure, on site, post-study abroad). In the beginning I used it to meet and contact people in my program. My study abroad provider (API Study Abroad) also had a Facebook group for all of the people in my program. It was very effective for us as students to get to know one another a little bit before we even met. It was also a great source of information because the Facebook group was often used to ask each other questions, advice, packing tips, etc.
When I arrived abroad in Sevilla, Spain for the spring semester of 2013, I used Facebook almost every day. Mostly I used it to communicate with friends and family back home, but I also used it to document and share my experiences with my connections.
After my time abroad, I really enjoyed returning to the Facebook groups and talking to my closest friends. It is also a nice online scrapbook of my travels; I can browse through pictures and scroll down my own timeline to reminisce.
Overall, I utilized Facebook to my advantage in my study abroad experience and it was helpful in many ways. It certainly helped me to adjust and remain connected to home.
Christine O. - Sevilla, Spain - Spring 2013
The Pleco app was my life saver when I was traveling. Even my Chinese friends were using it! On the very basic (aka free) level, it's a very thorough Chinese dictionary. You can type in English words and have them translated to Chinese, or vice versa. For translating from Chinese to English, there is a handwriting option, which is really nice for translating menus or signs. You draw the character to the best of your ability, and the app gives options of characters that look similar to what you drew. You simply select the correct character. It shows words and phrases that contain the characters you chose and uses the word in a sentence. It even gives the correct measure word for the nouns (if you are learning Chinese, this is a huge deal). From there, you can bookmark words that you use often or will find helpful in the future for easy access.
There are also some really nice in app add-ons, which cost extra but are definitely worth the buy. One of my favorites is the document reader, which uses your phone's camera as a scanner. It can scan a menu, letter, or homework and translate it to English. Another favorite is the flashcard add-on, which is nice for studying and learning new vocabulary.
Pleco takes a little bit to get used to and can get expensive if you purchase multiple add-ons, but I don't think that I could have made it without it. I would probably be dead. #exaggeration #dramaqueen
Candace G. - China - Summer 2013
Apps for international travel
Return and Current Travelers Reviews of Apps used will traveling abroad. All you need to know about the apps and how the work (or don't) and how Travelers are using them!