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You are here:Home»When You Arrive»Making the Most of Your Year Abroad»The top free online resources for study abroad students

The top free online resources for study abroad students

Written by  Lizzie Fane Saturday, 04 December 2010
Skype in action Skype in action Press of Atlantic City

We've put together a list of the absolute best free websites to help you improve all aspects of your language skills, keep in touch with home, store and organise your photographs, get quick online definitions and translations and get your year abroad questions answered.

Whether you’re more of a writer, a photographer, a language-learner (or all three!) check out these fantastic websites to help you make the most of your year abroad...

1. Skype
SkypeIf you haven’t tried Skype then sign up NOW and discover what all the fuss is about! We can’t recommend it more highly. Free video calls across the world for as long as you like; all you need is a computer, webcam and microphone and you’re laughing.  A word of warning: you’re abroad for a reason – don’t keep in touch more than is really necessary!

2. What's on When?
What's on When?Whatsonwhen.com is a worldwide events guide covering festivals, parties, all sorts of music, sports and art. Search by country, city or date to plan your year abroad around unmissable events, and don't miss their fantastic Weird & Wonderful section which does what it says on the tin!

3. Livemocha
LivemochaUse Livemocha’s free online language-learning software to top up your skills before or after your year abroad. Get your language exercises checked by native-speaking members of the world’s largest online language-learning community.

4. ThirdYearAbroad.com
ThirdYearAbroad.comHost your year abroad travel journal and online guidebook with ThirdYearAbroad.com! Get top tips and advice from recently returned students, ask questions in our Forum and pass on the benefit of your experience to future students.

5. Flickr
FlickrStore all your year abroad photographs quickly and easily in neat online albums for public or private view on Flickr.  Send links to friends and family and get acknowledgement from the Flickr community for your photography skills.

6. Open Culture
Open CultureThey describe themselves as “the best free cultural and educational media on the web” – and they might have a point.  On Open Culture you can download foreign language audiobooks, listen to ideas & culture podcasts and also get free language lessons – a really useful resource if you’re interested in learning around your subject.

7. WordReference
Word ReferenceThe number one tried, tested and relied-upon online dictionary for language students (and it got the TYA team through finals too!).  Want to find out how to use a foreign word in a particularly strange/unique context? With its hawk-eyed network of international linguistic enthusiasts, this site will have the answers.

8. Multilingual Books
Multilingual BooksMultilingual Books is an unbeatably comprehensive collection of online foreign internet radio stations, online foreign newspapers and online foreign television to keep up your general knowledge of your destination country and hone your aural understanding in preparation for finals.

9. Spotify
SpotifyListen to an inexhaustible collection of your favourite songs on Spotify to help you feel at home while you’re abroad!  Add some songs from your new country into the mix – there’s nothing better than subconsciously singing complicated foreign lyrics!

10. Facebook
FacebookAn obvious one really but this is the definitive list… Use Facebook to stay in the loop with goings-on back at home, get involved in events abroad, invite new friends to your flat parties and grow your international network. Join our Fan Page to get top year abroad information, advice and news hot off the press.

11. WordPress Blog
WordPressYou will kick yourself afterwards if you don’t write about your year abroad – whether in a diary or online, it’s the best way to remember people, places and events – especially if you’re planning to return in the future. WordPress is (in our opinion) the best blog provider out there, but if you prefer to handwrite your memories, sign up to TYA for up to 20% off travel journals.

12. Frengly
FrenglyInstant online translation is a hard nut to crack – think of all the language nuances the engine would have to understand! Frengly does a darn good job though. Check it out and send us a screenshot if you can fool it…

13. Twitter
TwitterThink Twitter is just a load of people talking about what they ate for breakfast? Well there are a few oddballs, but it’s mostly used as a never-ending source of information about everything. Want your questions answered quickly? Ask us in 140 characters (@thirdyearabroad) and we can even crowd-source a response! If you don't want to sign up, the Twitter Search is a fantastic way to find out what's going on.

14. Tweetdeck
TweetdeckGet a personal feed of all your friends' updates from Twitter, Facebook, MySpace, LinkedIn, FourSquare, GoogleBuzz (and more) in one free smart desktop application! Track when you're mentioned, reply to messages and search for keywords - you'll never need hundreds of tabs open again!

15. Word of the Day
Word of the DayBefore you go, why not improve your vocabulary simply by getting one new word of your chosen language in your inbox every day? Your challenge is to use your Transparent Language Word of the Day in conversation without anyone noticing…

16. Joobili
JoobiliIf you know when your holidays are but can't decide where to go, then visit Joobili to find the unmissable worldwide events during that time. You can also search by themes e.g. 'New Year's Eve' or 'chocolate' and you can browse the top events in each country. 


17. CollinsDictionary.com
Available for French, German and Spanish speakers, these online dictionaries let you type special characters, give you detailed translations including synonyms and related words and, something which all true linguists will appreciate, they give you the word you've searched for in other languages as well so you can see (and hear!) direct international influences on and connections with your language.
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