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The best apps for global students

There are a lot of different apps, including those for mindfulness, productivity and travel, that can help international students get the most out of their time in college. Many of these apps work seamlessly when you travel, making them the perfect companion for global students.

1. Moovit

You won't need multiple transport apps with this one: it contains public transit information for 3,200 cities in 112 countries (and in 45 languages). Moovit works in countries such as the UK, the US, Ireland, India and Singapore, and it's won multiple awards. Feel safe about social distancing - the app now provides real-time crowding and accessibility information.

There's a lot of good transport apps that work around the world. Try out a few and see which one suits you best.

2. Duolingo

This free app, with 42 million monthly users, is a fun way to practice speaking in 38 different languages. You can set your level based on how serious you are about learning a language, and the app will record your learning "streak" to motivate you.

If you're a keener, you can be learning as many language as you want at once. You can even learn languages that are not so common, like Hawaiian and Gaelic.

3. Circle of 6

Circle of 6 is a safety app originally designed as "alert technology" for students on campus. The "6" refers to the six trusted contacts you can text should you find yourself in a dangerous situation. The text might ask the contact to call your phone because you need an interruption, or it may send your location with a message asking for someone to come get you.

Thomas Cabus, Creative Director, says that they "... designed Circle of 6 to feel like a lifestyle app and to be discreet. Because a third party won't assume it's a safety app, the user has more privacy to ask for help." 1 The app is free for iOS devices. Android users can download the partnering Circulo app, available in both English and Spanish.

4. Uber

Disrupting taxi and food delivery services around the world, Uber can be used seamlessly in 900 cities. In 2020, the ride-hailing service was fulfilling over 18 million trips per day. Worldwide, it has completed more than 10 billion rides since 2011.2 Uber does not currently operate in a few countries, like Bulgaria, Hungary and Denmark. If you're travelling, check the Uber website to see if you can use their services there.

5. WeChat

Also known as "the super app" in China, a small sample of WeChat functions include social networking, photo sharing, banking, food delivery and ride hailing. WeChat is the most popular social media platform in China, with an estimated 1.25 billion monthly users. It replaces the need for Facebook, Google and other popular apps, which are blocked in China.

6. Headspace

Students, take some time to manage your mental health. The Headspace app offers hundreds of different meditation exercises to help you combat stress and get to sleep, to give you energy and practise mindfulness. The specially curated playlists are also a great backdrop when you need to focus on your studies.

7. Timeshifter

If you're studying abroad and head home for the holidays, you'll know how much jetlag can disrupt your sleep patterns. "Timeshifter cribs NASA-backed science to help you recalibrate your biorhythms after switching time zones." 3 This is a fancy way of saying the app will help you nod off. The app can create personalised plans based on sleep patterns and duration of travel, as well as on personal information like your age and gender.

8. Meetup

Meetup was founded in 2002 to connect people with the same interests and hobbies. Health and wellness, sports, photography and LGBTQ are just a few of the many meetup categories. Join an activity or create one and see who RSVPs to your meetup. This app will connect you with people in more than 190 countries. Great for when you move abroad and are looking to make some new friends.

9. PackPoint

Put your trip details into the PackPoint app and it will create and save a customised packing list for you. If you're a packing whiz, share your list with others through the app. Enter all your details like where you're going and when, and for how long, and it'll tell you what to pack. It'll even check the weather for you. PackPoint is the next best thing to having your mum pack for you, it's that organised.

Heading to the UK, the US,  Australia? We've started a packing checklists for international students, too.

10. Gratuity: Tip Calculator

To tip or not to tip? If service hasn't already been added to the bill, you're pretty much expected to tip in North America. In Japan, it's considered rude because it implies that money is the motivation for hard work. The waitstaff may even chase after you to return your "forgotten money". With Gratuity, you won't be left wondering. Use the app to divide the tip between guests and rate the restaurant's service, too.

11. HSBC mobile banking apps

You really don't need to go into the bank anymore, there's that much you can do on the Bank's app. Check FX rates, open a bank account, transfer funds, pay your credit card, cash in rewards points and even invest a little*. HSBC Premier customers can link up all their global accounts with Global Transfers and then manage them all with just a single log on.

Learn more about our international services

Opening an account before you go abroad will be the easiest way to manage your money.


We can tell you the best way for you to apply for an overseas account. Simply select your current location and where you would like to open an account. We'll then walk you through the steps.


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* Mobile banking services may vary by country.
1 Who we are, Circle of 6 app online
2 Uber Revenue and Usage Statistics (2021), Business of Apps
3 The Jet Lag App® - Timeshifter online