Imagine yourself walking the streets of beautiful, historic Rome knowing very little Italian, getting constantly lost in its medieval streets, and missing your college friends back in Boston. Rome is great, but you’re feeling homesick, and tired of carrying around a dictionary to communicate with locals. You’re feeling like you want to stay in Italy and absorb the art, culture, food, and scenery as much as possible–but your limited knowledge is disappointing you. Fear not, Boston students studying abroad, I have some solutions.
Here are 5 must-have iPhone applications to make you feel like you’re doing “like the Romans do,” while also making you feel closer to home when studying abroad:
Mobile City Maps
Unlike Google Maps which requires that you have some form of internet access to use it, Mobile City Maps works by storing all map data on your phone. This saves you weighty roaming internet charges or having to buy an expensive data plan. Unless you want to utilize AT&T’s anxiety-causing roaming fees, this app is ideal for any college student abroad. With over 700 maps, MCP has some very useful features. Some of these include remembering exactly where you’ve been and reminding you of the location of that great little pizzeria you stumbled upon. It shows all the streets, and allows you to find useful locations and amenities.
Lost abroad and not understanding the locals’ directions properly? No problem, just whip out your iPhone, open MCP, and you’ll find yourself where you need to be.
If you’re in Italy, for example, and think the pronunciation of ‘Ciao’ is ‘cee-ow,’ then you should probably get this app to avoid awkward situations. iPronunciation is Google Translate on steroids. It allows you to use both Google Translate and Bing Translate. iPronunciation can translate 53 languages, show you the phonetic pronunciation of 17, and lets you type in a word or sentence you can’t pronounce and it will do it for you!
Instead of taking ten minutes to look up how to say, “My name is…,” in an Italian-English dictionary, you can simply tap it into iPronunciation, and you’ll have a result in a second. With iPronunciation, you’ll be speaking like a native in no time.
Yelp is not just local; it’s global. This app proves especially useful for me, personally, as an international freshman here in Boston. I have used it countless times to look up addresses, reviews, and opening times of restaurants, coffee shops and stores. Interested in taking your host family or friends you met abroad out to dinner? You’ll find thousands of restaurants on this app, with many helpful reviews. You could also search for stores and restaurants near you, as Yelp app utilizes the built-in iPhone location finder.
Missing family or friends? Skype makes that super easy. Just the other day, I was walking down Commonwealth Ave. talking for free in a conference call with a friend in London and another in Saudi Arabia. Especially for iPhone 4 owners, Skype now has a video chat option! Picture yourself sitting in a Cafe in Venice, video chatting with your parents and showing them everything around you. However, if you want to call regular phone numbers, you can fill your account with a certain amount of money and you can call international numbers at much lower rates than normal phones.
Word Lens is very new, and has been described on the Internet as an “app from the future.” Ever look at a foreign language menu which looked like complete gibberish? Simply point your iPhone camera at the text, and the app simply, translates it! (Unfortunately, it currently only translates Spanish to English and vice-versa). Students in Spanish-speaking countries, you’re in luck!
What other iPhone apps are critical for you studying abroad? Let us know in the comments!
From ‘Top 5 iPhone Apps Essential for Boston Students Studying Abroad; by Jamil Sbitan Community Member of Boston Universities , bostinnovation.com ; That’s Boston USA, not the famous Boston in Lincolnshire, UK !!!