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Man with backpack on scooter, checking his mobile apps on phone; image used for HSBC International Services Study Abroad pages, Best apps for global students article.

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.


You won't need multiple transport apps with this one: it contains public transit information for 3,200 cities in 103 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.

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


This free app, with 30 million monthly users, is a fun way to practice speaking in 36 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. Game of Thrones geek? Pick up a few phrases in the fictional High Valyrian and impress your GoT friends.

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.


Disrupting taxi and food delivery services around the world, Uber can be used seamlessly in 80 countries. The ride-hailing service currently fulfills 40 million rides every month in the US alone. Worldwide, it has completed more than 5 billion rides since 20112. 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.


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 billion users. It replaces the need for Facebook, Google and other popular apps, which are blocked in China.


Students, take some time to manage your mental health. This app offers hundreds of different meditation exercises so you're bound to find one that suits you. Headspace now offers a free collection of meditations called "Weathering the storm". If you're unemployed, you can get a whole year of Headspace Plus for free.


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.


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 about 180 countries. Great for when you move abroad and are looking to make some new friends.


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, Canada or Australia? We've started a packing checklists for international students, too.

Piper (iOS only )

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 Piper, you won't be left wondering. The app can be used offline and has information on 84 countries.

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, transfer funds, pay your credit card, cash in rewards points and even invest a little*. HSBC Premier and HSBC Jade 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. Fill in our quick form and we'll get in touch to answer your questions and to help you open an overseas account.

*Mobile banking services may vary by country.

1 Circle of 6

2Uber Revenue and Usage Statistics (2020)