The Study-Abroad Student

Tips for traveling, translating and staying in touch overseas.

By Chuck Hamby on August 7, 2013

The number of students studying abroad has nearly doubled over the past decade, while we’ve also become increasingly reliant on our mobile gadgets. If you are heading overseas this upcoming school year, here are ways you can use your wireless device to make the most of new surroundings.

Taking the Right Device: Check to make sure that your smartphone is global ready. Many of the most popular phones, including the DROID MAXX, and the Samsung Galaxy S® 4 can be used worldwide.

Selecting a Plan: Use Verizon’s Trip Planner to determine which voice and data plans are best for your destination before leaving U.S. soil. Trip Planner also provides country-specific details about data coverage, pricing, device functionality and global calling.

Preparing your Gear: With Packing List, you can digitally manage your international inventory and even share your lists with parents or fellow travelers. If you’re not sure an item will be allowed on the plane, use the official TSA Mobile App’s “Can I Bring?” feature.

Talking like a Local: If you haven’t already started studying the local language, free resources like Radio Lingua Network offers quick lessons on more than 20 languages. Gone are the days of pocket dictionaries, thanks to apps like Jibbigo that provide language translations without the need for internet connections.

Walking Around Town: The AroundMe app can help you pinpoint local points of interest such as grocery stores, pharmacies, restaurants and coffee shops. For staying on top of what something is really going to cost you, download XE Currency, which checks currency conversions anytime without an internet connection.

Keeping a Record: Finally, keep track of your adventures with Private Diary, an app that lets you chronicle everything in password-protected entries to share with friends and family. Keep in touch back home in real-time through apps like Skype and Google Hangout – just be sure to take the time difference into account.