Expat kids, needless to say, are often on the move and on the go. In today’s digital world, however, they are not only moving halfway around the globe but expat kids are going mobile.
Relocating to a faraway place can be exciting and adventurous; on the other hand, moving to a foreign country and being placed in unfamiliar situations can be intimidating, scary, and traumatizing – especially for children. This is where 21st century mobile apps come in. Whether it’s learning a new language, picking up local slang, accessing educational materials, staying in touch with friends and family, or simply chilling out when the stress of moving gets too much, mobile apps can do wonders for expat kids and turn their rocky relocation road into a successful relocation experience.
Here are some of the best apps for helping expat kids learn, stay safe, and stay connected:
Language Learning Apps
- Google Translate for iPhone: Kids can now use their mobile phone to look up translations of foreign words and expressions in over 60 languages while they’re on the go. The app also translates documents from one language to another (a handy tool for school), saves frequently used words, and even translates words said out loud in one language into another.
- Lingolook: Visual flashcards have long been known to be an effective aid in language learning. Featuring over 500 common words and phrases in over seven languages, this app also provides audio clips from native speakers who demonstrate the correct pronunciation out loud.
- Duolingo: This free app makes picking up new languages easier and more fun by using word jumbles and other games to learn vocabulary and practice grammar.
- Ultralingua: No access to the Internet while traveling? No problem! Your kids can still study over 15 foreign languages on their iPhone by using this advanced app which includes vocabulary and grammar at the touch of a button.
- Smart ICE: For emergency situations, expat kids should not leave home with the Smart ICE (“In Case of Emergency”) app installed on their smart phones. Use it to store children’s name, age and address, home contact, emergency contacts, allergies, and other medical conditions.
- Sygic Family: It’s 11 p.m. Do you know where your children are? Instead of keeping track of your kids, you can now keep tabs of their smart phones with this clever app which informs you of their phone’s battery level and whereabouts. The app’s SOS button instantly provides you with your children’s exact location, and you can also designate certain zones as dangerous or safe and be automatically alerted when your kids enter/exit those areas.
- GoogleMaps: This free app isn’t merely convenient for looking up any global destination and getting to know the lay of the land. GoogleMaps allows expat parents and kids to feel safe in the knowledge that they know where they are, where they’re going, and the correct route to follow to go home.
Apps to Help Expat Kids Stay Connected
- Skype: Moving doesn’t have to be such an upheaval for kids thank to 21st century apps such as Skype. Easy to use anywhere with an Internet connection or Wifi, Skype allows expat kids to stay in touch on the go and from anywhere in the world.
- Scribble Lite: Whether your kids are budding artists or can only draw stick figures, this is a favorite app for expat families. Transforming smart phones into miniature sketch pads, kids can use the free Scribble Lite to draw images of their new room, house, school, and surroundings, and instantly share their masterpieces with friends and family back home or abroad.
With more and more apps available for making travel abroad easier and less stressful, relocation for expat kids may indeed be a rewarding and enriching experience after all.
Einat Mazafi is the owner of NY International Shipping, an International Shipping and moving company based in New York. She is also a specialist in providing the best relocation solutions to clients worldwide.