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13 Mobile Apps Every Student Needs

International students studying in the US already depend on their smartphones for entertainment, shopping, and communicating with family back home. But in an ocean filled with tens of millions of apps for both Android and iPhone, it can be easy to miss some truly useful apps that greatly benefit students. Some of these are not as well known outside of the US, while others are just hidden gems that might surprise you. 

Oxford Dictionary

The most celebrated English dictionary in history, in your pocket at all times—what a time to be alive! No ordinary dictionary, the Oxford English dictionary is closer to an encyclopedia, offering the history of words and how their usage has changed over centuries.

Google Drive

A virtual filing cabinet for all of your documents, including spreadsheets and PowerPoint presentations. Drive is based in the cloud and synced with all your devices so you can share anything you’re working on at any time. Share your essay with your professor with the touch of a button. 


The simplest, most reliable cloud storage solution. Whereas Drive lets you save files you create there, you can save files from any application—like Word, Pages, JPGs or PDFs—in Dropbox and share them easily with colleagues.


This app lets you save links you find while browsing Twitter or Facebook for later reading. A one-stop newspaper stand for anything that captured your interest (or something that might be relevant for later).


Create a list of websites, set a timer, and SelfControl will block your access to them for that amount of time. And once you set it, you CANNOT undo the action even if you restart your device. This may seem extreme but it’s a proven time manager and study aid for the easily distracted.


You could buy that $100 textbook…or you could rent it with Chegg. Lend out your old books and rent new ones by connecting with other students in your area using this handy app. An enormous money saver. 


Perhaps the most popular international messaging app, WhatsApp is a cheap, fast, and mobile way to stay in touch. This one is especially useful for those who are missing a close best friend in another country. An excellent replacement for local SMS. 


When texting just won’t do, you can still use Skype for free video calls via any wifi network. Almost everyone in the world with even a bit of computer savvy has a Skype handle so it’s a fairly reliable tool for virtual meetings. You may even take a job interview through Skype… 


A powerful cloud-based note-taking tool for storing pictures, ideas, and personal reminders by category. Particularly useful for those who find inspiration when they are walking around and have a hard time remembering their brilliant ideas. Never lose one again! 


If you are still applying sticky notes to your computer, you need Clear. To-do lists and reminders, by category, to help you keep track of long-term and short-term tasks. Absolutely essential for those with too much to do at all times.


There will be times when you have far too many books to read. And at those times, you should reach for Audible. Their extensive library of audio books will help you multi-task and “read” that important book while you attend to other important matters in your life. 


The last (and most powerful) scientific calculator you’ll ever need. Probably only necessary if you’re taking advanced math courses like statistics or calculus but hey, you never know when you’ll need to calculate the secant of 40. 


A new approach to your email inbox that allows you to move messages to different inboxes with a single swipe. Instead of just choosing a message to be “Read,” “Unread,” or “Trash,” you can put a new message in a “To Buy” or “To Read” folder for later review, with one swipe. You can create your own categories as well. Essential for anyone who’s ever reached the 1000 unread email mark (or exceeded it).