This post is an extension of the first post on Must Have Smartphone Apps for Living in Korea. So if you haven’t read that, go start there. Here are a few more apps to make your life in Korea a bit easier. Unlike the first post, many apps in this post are not free, but like they say in Korea, you should spend all your
money credit on things you don’t really need. Also my apologies that some of these apps are for iOS only as that’s the platform I’ve been using. If available for Android I’ll make note and link it.
Learning Korean is incredibly difficult, but the more you know, the better your life will be here. The following two apps have been my constant companions and friends through my three year Korean learning experience.
YBM 올인올 영한영 플러스 사전 – English Korean English DIC
Devices: iphone, ipad
I used about 10 different dictionaries before I finally bit the bullet and purchased this app. And it was $25 when I bought it three years ago. But it’s been worth it. Where many other dictionaries have failed, this one consistently delivers. It also has a lot of features I don’t use like learning games and flashcards.
Favorite features: Extension vocabulary with contextual usage. History record.
Delices: iphone, ipad
I also tried a half dozen flashcard apps until I finally settled on this one. But I am absolutely besotted with this app and it probably gets the most play time of any app on my phone. There are just shy of one million features crammed into this app so it can be a bit daunting, but it’s definitely worth it. Flashcards can be entered in a number of ways. How I do it is that I create my flashcards at quizlet.com and then download them to the app. This keeps all my flashcards in one online location just in case I lose my phone.
Favorite Feature: Spaced Repetition. There are a number of different flashcard learning styles in this app, but spaced repetition is major win. Here’s how it works: It keeps track of how well you really know or don’t know a certain flashcard and then spaces the frequency it tests you on it. For example: If I’m learning a word and get it right today, then it will ask me again tomorrow. If I get it right tomorrow it will put more interval between the next time, so it will ask me next week. If I get it right the following week then it may put two weeks before the next step. Or if I fail it next week, it will reduce the interval down to a couple of days or hours. It’s a very sophisticated, yet very simple system that helps you study the words you need to and not the words you don’t. Check out more information here.
Our last post talked about Daum and Naver, which are excellent maps. But the lack of English language makes navigating it very slow for me, and sometimes impossible. I just want to mention one feature in Google Maps. For me, Google Maps is the quickest way to find the fastest bus route. I just throw a pin down at wherever I’m going and then hit “Find Directions”. Then, after making sure that the Public Transportation icon is selected in the top row, Google will display the a route. However, quite often I use a different route by hitting the icon that looks like a Time Piece, which will display a list of all possible routes. From there I launch Seoul Bus and see exactly how long I’m going to have to wait for the bus to arrive.
By the way, I’ve been riding a scooter these days and having to pull my phone out of my pocket to check directions is a pain, not to mention dangerous. If anyone knows an app that will give me turn by turn directions I’d be very grateful. If there’s an app that will do turn by turn directions while the phone screen is off and while I’m playing music… that would be golden.
Yonhap is a great news channel here in Korea. The app features a clean interface and is updated several times a day with breaking news.
Okay, Lift isn’t technically a Korea related app, but it’s an excellent app that just released this week. Adapting to life in a new country can be difficult and it can be easy to make excuses and let go of valuable habits here and there. Lift helps you stay on track by allowing you to check-in every time you perform a habit and then track your progress. It’s also a social network so you can see how many of your friends are committed to and performing the same habits you are. For example. here’s a list of my habits: Go to the Gym, Call mom/dad, Eat Vegetarian, Floss, Stop Drinking Soda, 30-60 Minutes Reading.
Devices: iphone, ipad
Okay, fine… also not technically a Korea related app, but podcasts are my favorite way to pass the hours on the bus (or scooter). And Instacast is my favorite podcast app. (I was excited when Apple recently released its native Podcast app, only to be let down by its ability to make a snail seem fast.) Instacast allows you to subscribe to your favorite podcasts, sync between devices, play at 2x speed, follow show notes, stream wirelessly, and discover new podcasts.
Do you have any apps you’ve found invaluable in Korea? Please share in the comments section!