My time in Freiburg, Germany has come to an end but now I have a lot of free time to reflect and think about my abroad experience. Even though I'm back at home, I'll still be posting a little on my blog. This post is dedicated to the six apps that saved my life while I was abroad and will probably continue saving me in America too.
Fun fact: I love pictures because they are a free and artistic way to document your travels and organize memories. Another fun fact: I have an iPhone 6s that severely limits my photo-taking abilities. VSCO has saved my pics time and time again. It's like having a handheld Photoshop pic editor that also has a pretty cool social media platform built in. I highly recommend it if you don't use it already!
Once again, I love pictures (see #1), so much that I have accumulated over five thousand of them during my time abroad, not counting the trillion of Snapchats I took but didn’t save. Google Photos has been saving my life for years now and it hasn't let me down once. The best part is that you can just open the app and let it run while you do something else and by the time you come back, it has backed up all of your photos. Just amazing. I love technology. I love the cloud.
Forget GroupMe and Facebook Messenger. If you're abroad, WhatsApp is the way to go for many reasons. First, it's the easiest way to make a group chat with a ton of people, like your entire IES cohort. Second, you can use it to communicate with people back home, which is big for people in the family that don't have iPhones and can't use iMessage. You can video chat too which sweetens the deal and eliminates the need for Skype and all the other messaging apps that take up space on your phone.
We all know Google Translate is the best thing since sliced bread and it gets even better when you're abroad in a country with a language that is completely foreign to you. Google Translate has a billion languages and a photo scanner programmed into the app that lets you translate in real time. This came in handy when I was feeling under the weather and trying to navigate German drugstores for a quick remedy before class. I still ended up getting the wrong thing (I think? Honestly who knows. I was trying to get throat lozenges but definitely bought mints.) but that was on my own volition and not the fault of Google Translate in the slightest.
Disclaimer: Sooooooometimes Google gets it wrong, but for the most part it is an excellent translator. Just ask a native speaker for translation if you need help for homework or other important things.
This is probably not breaking news to any seasoned travelers but Skyscanner is the best website/app ever invented, convince me otherwise. If you don't know, it's a travel website that comes up with the best flight plans for your budget. Skyscanner (and GoEuro and Google Flights, but mostly Skyscanner) is one of the main reasons I was able to visit 7 countries by myself while managing to stay under my initial budget.
If you are smarter than me, you probably knew that this existed. If you are just as smart as me, welcome! I'm about to blow your mind. You need a route optimizer while navigating these confusing, unmarked European streets.
Hope these apps make your future adventures more bearable, safe and fun!
PS. I know that all of these are available in the App Store and I think that they are available in the Google Play store too. Sorry in advance if they aren't but I'm sure you can find replacements that work just as good!
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<p>Hi! My name is Sabrina and I'm from New Jersey but I go to Bowdoin College in Maine. I'm studying Environmental Studies and Government with a concentration in International Relations to prepare myself for a career in international diplomacy (fingers crossed!). Outside of academics, I am the president of the Caribbean Students Union (shoutout to my fellow Haitians/Guyanese!), a member of Bowdoin's Entertainment Board which coordinates concerts and activities for the student body, help low income families make their homes more energy efficient through AmeriCorps, and DJ two shows at my school's radio station. On my rare days off, I enjoy painting, binge watching rom coms on Netflix and hosting new album listening parties in my room.</p>