Essential technology for expats

  • use of technology
Published on 2018-04-27 at 09:00 by Maria Iotova
Expats have special needs due to the unique lifestyle that they lead — from packing and travelling to moving and recreating the comforts of home in a new environment. Technology, if chosen and used wisely, can help expats of all types to enjoy a comfortable, efficient, and fun expat life in their new country. We have composed a handy list of our favourite tech products and apps to ease your transition from native to expat life.

For productivity

working with laptop

If you are a professional expat who moves with work, you may have to consider in advance which are your most trustworthy tools for editing files, running reports, sharing documents with remote colleagues, conducting virtual presentations, etc. First, you need a light laptop with a long-lasting battery to make it through long-haul flights or destinations where sudden power cuts are not uncommon. Then, you must empower your portable device with secure and flexible software such as cloud technology, which allows you to stay organised and work efficiently from anywhere. Collaboration plays a significant role in any work, so it's good to ensure that you are using the right communication tools (e.g. chats, emails, etc.) to serve you and your company's best interest.

For entertainment

watching a movie

Many devices and applications can keep you entertained during your time abroad, which you probably hadn't considered before starting planning your expat life. One thing an expat doesn't need is extra weight in their luggage, so if for example, you are thinking about shipping your movies collection or your dozens of books to the other side of the world, think twice of the time and costs involved. Instead, we recommend alternative experiences via more sustainable and contemporary ways. In the market, there is a variety of e-book products, music and video streaming services, and movies-on-demand to choose from.

For reflection

expat blogger

Expats find themselves in unique situations, which include travelling and settling to remote and unfamiliar lands, adapting to new day-to-day routines and developing new habits, making friends with people from very different backgrounds, experiencing work cultures, etc. All these can be overwhelming and can lead to isolation, vulnerability, homesickness, or even voluntarily excessive work. However, many expats find comfort in writing — especially when the content is shared with others. Creating your website, blog or vlog has never been easier. Find what suits you best and start logging and sharing your thoughts and feelings about the ups and downs of expat life. Not only you will discover that you are not alone in this, but you will also realise that taking the step of expatriation is a brave action you should be proud of.

For staying in touch

social media to stay in touch

What you will miss the most as an expat is having your family and friends around and being able to share with them precious moments of life. However, nowadays, more than ever, the distance and absence of our loved ones can be reduced by VoIP services, which use the internet for free phone calls to other accounts or, cost very little if you call to an international mobile number. Instant messaging apps can be used to share videos and images if you wish to share with a specific group of people or one person only. Social media and forums are a great way to connect with other expats in your host country and become a member of a global

For navigation

Using Google maps
ThomasDeco /

Moving and living in a new country means that you have to learn to find your way around the city or the town you live in from scratch. Roads, shortcuts, and landmarks will have to be discovered, as well as the best places to eat, shop, and meet up with freshly made friends. Whether you move around by car, transport, or on foot, navigation and maps applications can be of great help, and can save you a great deal of time and hassle, especially during your first months in your new area. Among other features, you will get (depending on the app) live traffic updates, 3D maps, and cycling routes.

For everyday tasks

online shopping

There is a whole set of things that you find yourself in need of when settling in a new country — the good news is that technology is on your side to make things easier. For example, trying to communicate in a new language may at first feel impossible. However, with translation and language applications, you can speak (or shall we say read) full sentences and possibly purchase items in the local language or ask for directions or, why not, introduce yourself. Another useful application is a currency converter, which will save you a lot of money, preventing you from overspending until you familiarise yourself with the local currency. Also, ask around for the best online shopping services in your location, as they may not be the most obvious ones. A smartphone or a tablet are the ideal devices to download your new tools to.

What applications or tools do you use to make your expat life easier? Share your suggestions in the comments section below.