The Top Five Apps to Use When Moving Abroad

There can be a lot to juggle when you move abroad, but luckily, technology is here to help us. From learning the local language to finding your way around a new city, there are many useful apps that can support expats abroad. Below are some of our favourites.


If you’re moving abroad and need to learn a new language, Duolingo is a must. It offers lessons in over 40 languages, including Japanese, Arabic, Spanish and French. The app “gamifies” learning languages, with fun interactive lessons that use translating exercises and quizzes for an engaging experience. The app uses AI to tailor lessons so they’re the right pace and level for you.

Duolingo has been proven to be an effective method for learning languages, and the app uses science-backed methods to help up languages faster. A recent study found that a group of adults who used Duolingo to study a language had a similar reading and listening proficiency as university students after four semesters of classes.  

Duolingo is free to download and use, but you can also upgrade to a paid subscription that allows for unlimited use and no ads.


Meetup is a social media app designed to connect people. It’s primarily used to organise in-person events and activities for people who have similar interests, hobbies, and/or professions.

Expats have found this app to be hugely beneficial. Moving abroad to a new place can be isolating, but Meetup makes it simple to find other expats and local people with the same interests. The app has a page dedicated to groups living abroad, with some of the largest groups located in Paris, Tokyo, Valencia, and Tallinn. As well as social uses, the app is also used in some places as a language exchange, to help expats learn the local language and locals learn English.

Meetup is free to download and use to find groups and attend events, but there is an organizer subscription fee if you want to start your own group.

Google Maps

Google Maps is one of the most popular navigation apps for a reason. With Google Maps, you can find places and directions just about anywhere in the world. It covers walking routes, driving, and also public transport, so however you prefer to travel, you’re sure to find the best route.

Google Maps has the added benefit of a search function for the area. So, if you need car parking, public toilets, or food, you can simply search what you need, and it will show what’s nearby. Google Maps utilises Google Reviews so you can see what other people think of the amenities that you need, especially helpful when you want to find the best restaurant in walking distance. You can also save locations to refer back to and share your location with other people, if you need to.


When it comes to international banking apps, you have a lot of choices. One of the most popular is Wise, which allows for international transactions from over 70 countries and going to over 160 countries. You can open a multi-currency account with bank details in nine currencies or keep money in your account in one of over 40 currencies.

Through the app, you can send and receive money abroad, check exchange rates and pay bills. You can also set up alerts for changes in exchange rates, so you’ll always have the most up-to-date information.

Wise is free to download and sign up. Transfer fees are shown upfront when you input the transaction amount.

Google Lens

Google Lens has a multitude of uses, but one way that it can be particularly helpful for expats is with its translation function. With Google Lens, you can use the translate feature to translate words in real time using your smartphone camera. Simply point your camera at any sign, menu, or any other written text and the app will translate the words into the language you need.

Google Lens can be extremely helpful when you’re new to a country and still working to learn the language. Whether you’re in a restaurant and can’t work out the menu or need to read a navigation or safety sign, Google Lens can do it for you, with over 100 languages available. The app can also help with other things, such as identifying plants and searching the web for outfits or furniture that you see while you’re out and about.

Moving abroad?

If you’re moving abroad for any reason, ensure you’re covered with international health insurance from Expatriate Group. We’re an expert in international healthcare, with comprehensive plans designed for expats. Get a quote online or contact us for more information.

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