Let's be frank. It's really challenging to function professionally or academically in this world without a regular internet connection or computer at your fingertips.
I know this first hand. After traveling abroad recently, I was shocked out how challenging it was to find a wifi connection and appalled at my cell phone service provider's astronomical charges for international data plans. With our smartphones, internet connections, and online communication tools being such a staple of our daily lives here in the US, it's very challenging to venture to a new international destination and lose those conveniences and still maintain efficiency and effectiveness in our work and studies.
Here are a few tools I recommend for students and study abroad pros and offices alike. These tools hopefully help enhance the experience abroad. And in some cases, ideally they can make your work across international borders and timezones that much more efficient.
City Maps 2Go- Offline Map and Travel Guide
The City Maps 2 Go app, available on iOS devices, is a great travel app since it requires no data or wifi connection! Amazing. You can download maps and travel guide information for nearly anywhere in the world. Within the app you can search for points of interest, restaurants, hotels, and more. But even more helpful is that you can plan your entire stay within the app, adding your own custom items and planning your stay in an efficient way without coming home to crazy data chargers or spending half your time trying to finding a wifi connection.
CamFind - Search With Your Camera
CamFind - Search With Your Camera
Have you ever been walking around a new city and seen a beautiful building, historical marker, or a picturesque park and wondered, "What is that?" This app solves that problem. Just snap a picture with CamFind and using your GPS and the image, CamFind will search the web to get you the most accurate name and description of what you're looking at in that moment. I love stuff like this since I'm a nerd, but often I don't know what to begin searching for - "pretty building at corner of High Street and Main Road in Florence" That search rarely helps me out. Sadly, you'll need to have a data/wifi connection for this app to work on your device. Luckily, you can add photos to the app later when you have a wifi connection and still learn all about where you went and what you've seen.
For the simple sake of office organization, Sharefile is also a useful service to consider. Sharefile is a business-oriented file sharing and cloud storage provider that allows for high volume, high security handling of digital files. In organizing data on everything from locations abroad, to student applications, to student files, as well as office communications, this service can be extremely helpful in the office. Additionally, by including students in your office Sharefile network, you can provide another means of easy communication and file transfer, both at home and abroad. This is a great option for study abroad program providers with staff and offices around the world that need to share program and student information. You won't have to worry about "is this the most up to date version" or sending huge files via email.
Currency Banknotes App
This is another app that's useful simply as a recommendation for students, but it also has practical office applications in some situations. Basically, the app is a currency converter (with the distinguishing feature that it also shows you what a country's currency physically looks like). The utility for students abroad is quite clear. However, in certain study abroad programs in which universities or offices partially fund students - such as those for service programs or philanthropic efforts abroad - the app can also be a useful tool for an office figuring out the allocation of funds to students.
There are of course hundreds of great apps and services out there that can be of use for study abroad purposes - students, offices, and companies. This only scratches the surface! What web/tech services have been helpful to your office? What apps do you recommend to study abroad students and world travelers in general? Let us know in the comments!