Anna Blake, studying at the University of Groningen, Netherlands
As a technophobe, writing about apps seemed a daunting task. It’s a running joke among my group of friends that I’m the granny of tech. If my phone screen smashes I’ll leave it - a new one would just break anyway. Why bother responding to someone’s Facebook message when I’m going to see them later that day? My outlook was I’d rather look out at the world than down at a screen.
Saying that though, there are a few apps that I’ve discovered are actually really handy - particularly as a study abroad student - and have made me start to embrace the endless world of apps.
I figured a university app would be particularly useful and wasn’t disappointed when I found iGroningen. This app has you covered for so much of university life - from seeing your grades, modules and timetable to informing you how many computers are available in the library and maps of all the different campuses. Since using it, I look back shamefully on all the hours spent trawling through the University website trying to find the same information in painfully slow time. Many universities will have their own app and if yours does, I strongly recommend it as an essential.
2. Scanner pro
Scanner Pro enables you to take a photo of any paper document, from a receipt to a multi paged document, which it then scans and saves in the cloud as a digital version in an editable PDF. It automatically detects borders and tilts the document to fit perfectly to your device, as well as correcting any blurry distortion. As a law student I’m often faced with hefty texts, so this has definitely been £3.99 well spent, saving me countless hours of time.
Whether you’re a language student or, like me, have moved to a new country with little grasp of the lingo, Duolingo is fantastic for providing free, easy to follow language lessons. Forget paying for an actual language class, this app offers games with vocabulary tailored to your understanding of the language such as matching words to photos and forming sentences out of a group of potential words. I have endless gratitude for how much easier this app has made my trips to the supermarket.
But if you’re looking for a quick fix, the Google Translate app enables you to hold your camera over text and automatically translate the image to English - this blew my mind.
4. Bike Citizens
Living in the bike capital of the world, it can be difficult to know what the best routes to take are. Finally - a solution to prevent crashing into pedestrians and avoiding the crazy busy roads. Bike Citizens uses the knowledge of local couriers to suggest the best route for your journey, as well as highlighting attractions you’ll pass along the way - an added bonus for me as I discovered my favourite cafe in the city this way!
5. Wolfram Alpha
For those studying a more numerical subject like maths or economics, then Wolfram Alpha will become your bible. No longer will you slave away for hours trying to solve that impossible maths problem. Instead, just type it into Wolfram Alpha and watch the solution unfold before your eyes.
6. Booster buddy
Student life will unfortunately come with some stress. Trying to balance a social life with endless assignments, wondering when you’ll actually become a ‘real’ adult - sometimes it just becomes too much. Booster Buddy can really help with this. If you’re suffering from any type of anxiety, feeling depressed or even just a bit deflated, Booster Buddy moulds a character to cater to your needs. It gives you a little ‘buddy’ that will assign you with three tasks every day to make you feel more upbeat and clearheaded. For example, researching your local government to help you to feel less isolated; especially important when moving to a new city that you aren’t familiar with.
So, even if you’re not a natural techy, keep your mind open to innovation - I guarantee you’ll be pleasantly surprised.
Anna Blake is a British student studying International Law at the University of Groningen, Netherlands