Top 5 must-have apps for expats
Choosing to emigrate can be one of the toughest and most rewarding decisions you will ever make in your life. More than six million Brits have chosen to take the plunge and set up a new life abroad. Whether moving for a better quality of life, business-related reasons, or to be closer to family and friends, one thing is for sure – it is hard to do. Many expats report feeling overwhelmed, lost, and out of place.
Whilst there’s no getting away from these immutable facts, fear not; there’s an app for that!
Technology is attempting to save the day by solving some of the most common expat challenges, such as helping you stay in touch with home, or understanding a new culture and learning a new language. We’ve handpicked our top five favourite smartphone apps that we believe no British expat should leave without.
If you’ve ever attempted to move to a new country, whether for personal or business reasons, you will be familiar with the minefield of conflicting information, constant changes, and avoidable delays that come with applying for a visa. Finally, there is a solution. Travisa is an app which aggregates up-to-date visa information across more than 200 countries. You will find current visa information specific to the type you need, along with administration and consular fees, and contact information for passport services.
If you’ve ever looked online for the latest events and goings-on in your second home, the chances are you have come across Time Out. The worldwide authority for discovering the best places to eat, drink, dance and cavort is now available in an app. Time Out calls itself a utility to help shape your social life and now covers more than 30 worldwide cities, including many of the most popular British expat destinations. The app is designed to act as your personal travel guide and includes useful interactions with other apps, like Uber, to make your passage through your new city as easy as possible.
The reality of life in any country is that you will, from time-to-time, fall ill. Becoming sick in a foreign land can be distressing – not knowing where to turn, how to get to a doctor, the availability of medical care and the inevitable language barrier – all make for an unsettling time. Thankfully, there is the Doctoralia app – a reliable source of information on nearby health facilities, opening times, directions, and useful translated phrases. Throw in the options to see the credentials of the medical professional you’re about to see and review previous patient feedback, and you have an invaluable resource for any expat in their hour of need.
One of the greatest challenges an expat can face when moving to a foreign land is communicating effectively with new colleagues, neighbours, and the public at large. Fortunately, most of the popular expat destinations feature English as a second or third language, which allows us to get by. There’s no escaping, however, the pit-of-the-stomach guilt that comes when conversing with a local and expecting them to speak in your native tongue. Thankfully, there is Duolingo – a free app that helps travellers and expats learn the essentials of a new language. With Duolingo you can learn English, Spanish, French, German, Italian, Portuguese, Dutch, Irish, Danish, Swedish, Russian, Ukrainian, Esperanto, Polish, and Turkish. The app focuses on your speaking, reading, listening, and writing skills, using real-life situations.
Starting again in a new country and establishing a social life is one of the greatest challenges an expat can face. The MeetUp app is designed to help by connecting users to ‘MeetUp’ groups based on their shared interests. Simply subscribe to a group that appeals to you and receive information about upcoming events. The MeetUp app is also useful for expat business people as a networking tool and a way of connecting with people who can offer local support.