What Tech Kit Should Expats Not Live Without?
Technology is now a vital component in our daily lives, helping us to keep in touch, keep up to date and keep in the know. Recently, expats have seen a rise in the types of technology that can help them adjust to life in a new country and carry on their work and social lives from overseas.
You’ll want to start your kit with the right devices. You may already have a smart phone, but you may want to purchase another one for use abroad – this is especially useful if you’ll be travelling back and forth between countries. You can use each phone in each country to avoid any unnecessary data roaming charges.
You may also need a laptop or tablet, depending on your requirements. A laptop will be more powerful, but a tablet will be able to handle many of the same tasks whilst also being more portable. With either, you’ll be able to access the internet, work remotely, play games, and watch TV and movies.
Language learning apps
There are a huge number of apps available that can help you learn languages on your devices. Duolingo is a free app that aims to improve your vocabulary and grammar with lessons and games every day. It currently offers courses in 38 languages.
Rosetta Stone is another popular choice for language learners. Their app uses practical scenarios to develop your language skills and the speech recognition technology can even help you improve your accent. Rosetta Stone currently offers 24 language options.
Sometimes, in certain situations, you’ll need a quick translation. That’s where translation apps come in. You can use apps like Google Translate and Microsoft Translator to type in what you are trying to say and choose the language that you want it translated to. These apps also use camera software to instantly translate blocks of text like signs or menus when you’re out and about. Google Translate currently supports over 100 languages for typed words and 27 for real-time camera translations. Microsoft Translator currently supports 90 languages for typed text and 21 languages for camera translations.
When email just isn’t enough, there are a few ways you can communicate with people abroad. You can make phone calls over WhatsApp, meaning that you can use your internet connection and avoid data roaming charges. There are also a huge number of video chat apps and websites that are free and easy to use, such as Skype and Zoom.
Many calling services now accommodate group calls, so you can get the whole family in on the conversation or hold a meeting with the entire team. Zoom also has the functionality to hold webinars and presentations, so you can keep your work going from different parts of the world.
Social media is another great way for keeping in touch with loved ones back home. Platforms like Facebook, Twitter and Instagram all allow you to upload photos, comment on others’ posts, and message people directly.
An app to help you find your way is essential when moving to a new place. With Google Maps you can plan your route, whether travelling by car, on foot, or by public transport, in over 220 countries. You can also use their augmented reality feature, Live View, which uses your phone camera to show you your route as you travel, so you always know you’re going in the right direction.
Maps.me is a very popular app among travellers, as their maps are incredibly detailed. You’ll find many helpful things labelled such as drinking fountains, pharmacies – everything you need to know when living in a new place. The app is free, and the search function works offline, so you can always find where you need to be, even without internet access.
Often banks can charge large fees for transferring money abroad, but online banking and currency transfer app Wise offers some of the lowest fees for exchanging currencies and sending money to different countries. You can also hold bank accounts in different currencies, all on this same platform.
Tikkie is a fast payment system which uses WhatsApp. It doesn’t matter who you bank with, you can send payments to friends and family via a WhatsApp message. Tikki uses the IBAN system so is currently only available in Europe.
A Virtual Private Network, or VPN, allows you to connect your computer to a server of your choosing, for example, in another country. This means you can access websites that are only available in certain countries, like banks, retailers, and streaming sites. There are a few sites which can help you use VPNs, the most popular being NordVPN. You will have to pay for a subscription, but in addition to accessing international websites, you’ll also have the assurance that you can browse the web privately and securely.
Now you know what tech you’ll need as an expat, find out if you should keep your UK bank account when moving abroad.