Your mobile phone will be one of your best friends when you first arrive in London. It will help you meet new people (Facebook), it will tell you which way to turn when you are lost (Google Maps) and its alarm clock will remind you when you need to wake up and go to class!
Here’s ten essential smartphone apps every international student in London should download during their first week.
1) Your University’s App
Most universities have created apps that provide campus maps, useful telephone numbers and the latest university news. Some of the best apps will even let you find your friends on campus so you can meet up after lectures. Visit your university’s website to download your app.
2) London Official City Guide App
This free app is great for finding events and attractions in the city, making sure you don’t miss a thing during your time in London. There’s also a series of walking tours to help you discover your new city and an interactive map to help you plan your travel.
3) Student Discount Apps
There are thousands of student discounts in London to help you save money. Sign up to NUS extra and download the app which gives you access to the latest discounts. You can also save your favourite deals and share your money saving tips with your friends.
- NUS extra app (iPhone only)
4) Google Translate
If English isn’t your first language then you’ll have a lot of fun learning new words as you discover London and meet new people. The Google Translate app lets you enter words from all languages, which is helpful as you will meet people from all over the world.
It even lets people talk into your phone in their own language before giving you the translation. Better still, you can use your phone’s camera to take pictures of text in books or on street signs which the app will then translate into your chosen language. Be careful though – it’s not always 100% accurate and some translations can be very amusing!
5) Dictionary and Slang Words
The language used in your text books and lectures will be very different to the everyday English you learnt for your English test. You’ll quickly hear and read ‘Academic English’ words so a dictionary app will help you find simple definitions. A guide to slang might also be useful although your friends will quickly teach you the best slang words. It won’t be long before you are speaking like a Londoner!
6) Exam Revision Apps
We’re not sure if this is good or bad news, but you can now revise for your exams wherever you are. Escape the library or your bedroom and use your phone to create revision ‘flashcards’ which you can use to store keywords, research, formulas, images and even video.
7) Wi-Fi Finder Apps
Access the internet wherever you are by using a Wi-Fi finder app. London is one of the best connected cities in the world with thousands of Wi-Fi hotspots, many of them free.
8) Tube Maps and Bus Timetables Apps
Getting around London is very easy. You can take the London Underground ‘Tube’ train for quick journeys or enjoy scenic and cheaper bus routes. Download a London Tube app and study it – Londoners take great pride in knowing all of the stops and different train routes! A bus app will tell you which bus you need to get on and also when the next bus is due so you’ll no longer have to waste precious minutes waiting for your bus.
9) Discover London by Foot and Bike
One of the best and cheapest ways to enjoy London is by walking or cycling the city’s historic streets. There are lots of apps to guide you around the capital, whether you want a history, shopping, or even Harry Potter tour!
Alternatively, hop on a bike using London’s Cycle Hire scheme and discover the city on two wheels. There’s a wide choice of apps to help you find your nearest Cycle Hire station where you can collect or return your bike.
10) Discounted International Phone Calls
Save money by downloading an app that allows you to make discounted phone calls over the internet. There are lots of services such as Skype, Fring, Yahoo Messenger or FaceChat if you have an IPhone. Many services also offer video calls so you can show your friends and family back home the big smile on your face now that you’ve become a Londoner!
Have you got any recommended apps for London students? Tell us in the comments below.