by Expatriate Healthcare
So you have just accepted a position at a company in Singapore and people are congratulating you and asking when the big move is. Your stomach drops. This is actually happening. You will actually be living in another country. Inevitably, even the most seasoned traveller is going to have an initial stomach drop at the prospect of setting up home in a land completely alien to them, however, you can breathe a sigh of relief as those tech-savvy dynamos who magic-up mobile phone apps have created 10 gems to help those living as expats, and working in foreign countries, have a hassle-free experience.
Before arriving in your new country it is always best to have some sort of grasp on the local language. Pitifully mumbling your way through your expat existence in broken dialect is going to wear thin with your national neighbours and result in you looking at flights home at 3am.
DuoLingo promises to be able to teach anyone, of any age, a new language through science-based visuals and technical wizardry. The app looks relatively simple and has a child-like quality about it, allowing you to focus on the user-friendly flashcards and brain-teasing tasks. DuoLingo repeatedly engages the user with colloquial words and phrases to help you learn as much as possible in the shortest time frame, and is also ideal for those parents moving for occupational purposes and taking children who will need to pick up the lingo.
Sending and exchanging money whilst abroad has always left most of us with a knot of apprehension in our stomach as we consider whether the money we have just sent has ended up in deepest Guatemala. Long gone are the nightmarish days and Revolut has revolutionised the way in which we can manage money abroad, via a nifty app and pre-paid travel card.
Revolut is changing the game drastically by cutting out exchange fees and ATM charges that expats can often become accustomed to in new countries, allowing people to have the power to dictate how they spend their own hard earned cash. Handily, parents and loved ones can supplement your cash flow when times get tough, from anywhere in the world, via Facebook or Whatsapp.
Unless moving abroad with family or friends, an existence in a foreign country has the potential to be extremely lonely and, frankly, it is time to whack a smile on and get out there. Making friends can often be quite cringe-worthy at first, but Meetup takes away this pain by connecting you with like-mined people in your surrounding community.
You can set up meetups (or join other peoples) via the app based on hobbies or interests and they are open for anybody to join and there is RSVP and direct message functionalities so you can keep in contact with people you meet on your expat journey.
When you arrive in your new country, especially if you have never visited it before, PTV could save your bacon. You will not be able to rely on taxis or walking forever, and you may not be able to afford the luxury of a car. The PTV app is essential, as it allows you to find any station, any stop or any address of interest. It is essentially a public transport GPS of the world that allows you to save routes (handy for the first week at work as you panic your way through unknown streets) and notifies you of transport service disruptions.
Okay, so this is a bit of no-brainer but Skype is one of the holy grail expat apps. Unless you have a heart made of ice, there are going to be times when you are pining for loved ones and friends at home and the Skype app allows you to keep in touch with anybody you fancy with reasonable rates to mobile phones or free if connecting Skype to Skype.
Having claimed to have mapped over 500 million Wi-Fi hotspots worldwide, WifiMapper may not be the most popular tool but many are claiming it to be the best! In this technological world, it can be quite distressing when you have not got Wi-Fi installed in your new home yet and you are frantically trying to get your life together. WifiMapper shows you all the local hotspots at the click of a button, and shows you the quality of the signal at each one and whether a password is required.
Once the Wi-Fi is sorted it is essential to make your house feel like a home and somewhere to relax after a day at work. Living out of a suitcase or never fully committing to a property will give you no sense of belonging and this is where Brightnest comes in. The Bightnest app provides home-related tips and tricks; from ideas on decorating to eliminating pests.
Weather Pro is such a top-notch app it would leave Michael Fish clammy-palmed with excitement. Offering weather reports for well over 2 million geographical locations, reporting on cloud formations and atmospheric pressure to wind speed and humidity, this is the app for sussing out which day is going to be beach day. It is accurate to the point of clairvoyance, so if you are living in Munich and it predicts rain, don’t go armed without an umbrella.
For all the germpahobes working abroad, this one is for you! Not knowing where the nearest toilet it is when roaming the streets of your new home, after a belly full of local cuisine and knocking back some glugs of unfiltered tap water after too many local beers, can have you knock-kneed and sweating your way through the streets. Hopefully you will have used previously mentioned DuoLingo so you can verbalise your crisis, but if not, SitOrSquat is a fantastic app that is a global toilet database. You simply search your immediate location and indicators will show the nearest bathrooms – you can even leave a rating!
There are a multitude of apps out there that can help make expat’s lives a little easier. When working abroad, it is all about making like as hassle-free as possible, and harnessing these apps can ensure you spend your time outside of working doing more of what you’d love to be doing.
When living or working abroad, it is imperative that you have unparalleled medical insurance; this will save a financial crisis if you do need medical treatment. Expatriate Healthcare are best placed to provide you with the right cover, at the right price, to compliment your lifestyle overseas.
Disclaimer: The Working Traveller needs a new iPod. This post has helped with that.
Image courtesy Sean MacEntee