By Alasdair Flett and Adam Hughes

05 January 2018 - 10:58

Cardboard box with coffee mug and house key
'You make a profile; then, you can search for apartments and rooms with people who are looking for someone like you.' Photo ©

congerdesign licensed under CC0 1.0 Universal and adapted from the original.

Two British Council language assistants share the mobile apps that they use to navigate the unknown.

Alasdair Flett uses Memrise to learn the German grammar that he needs, when he needs it.

Memrise has user-created advanced language courses, and you can choose the most relevant lessons for you.

I learn a little every day from the Advanced German Vocabulary course. My conversational comprehension has improved drastically. The sudden death flashcard function promotes instant recognition and fast responses. The app also helps recognise 'false friends', and teaching you, especially in German, how suffixes and word endings function in building intimidating composites.

One drawback of the app is the lack of speaking/listening exercises, which you must pay for in order to access. Memrise is great for learning specific terminology but is heavily focused on single words. It can expand your vocabulary but leave you wondering how to use this broadened Wortschatz – or trove of words – in a sentence. I wanted to say that I was currently living in temporary accommodation while on the hunt for a flat in Hamburg and said zeitweilige Unterkunft, which was promptly corrected to vorübergehende Unterkunft.

Adam Hughes used Badi to find a flat in Spain.

When I arrived in Barcelona, another teacher who had recently moved to the area told me about the Badi app. You make a profile; then, you can search for apartments and rooms with people who are looking for someone like you.

When you see a place you like, you send a request to the person advertising it and they can approve or deny your request. If you get approved, you can then chat with them about the flat and set up a viewing.

People who are advertising can send you a request as well. You can then swipe left or right to start a chat. You can also look at the profile of the person who is advertising the flat to see if they like to party as much as you, are into sports or prefer quiet time. The profile tells you what languages they speak.

Alasdair Flett uses the Flixbus app for affordable intercity travel in Germany

Flixbus is an affordable, comfortable intercity bus service in Germany. A former language assistant recommended the Flixbus app at our four-day introductory training course in Cologne. You can use the web version, printing emails with every journey, but with the app you can get everything – mobile tickets, search function, booking, payment, schedule alerts and delay updates – all in one place.

If you’re not fussy about when you travel, it’s possible to visit several nearby cities for less than 20 euros return. Most buses have adequate reclining seating and legroom. All journeys sell snacks and have fast, free WiFi. Most have complimentary USB charging. Transferring your journey is simple. One drawback is not knowing precisely which stand your bus departs from.

Find out how to apply to be an English language assistant.

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