10 Must-Have Apps for Newcomers in 2021

Min to Read
Updated on
Jun 14, 2021
Last published on
Jun 24, 2021
10 Must-Have Apps for Newcomers in 2021 | Canada Talents - Blog

Everyone knows moving to a new place involves many awkward hoops to jump through, but as with so much in life, new apps are here to make this more accessible than ever. However, not all of these are internationally supported. This list was intended to address only those popular apps with Canadians and essential to making your transition as smooth as possible. From finding work to finding the quickest route home, these apps cover as many needs as possible.

Apps for Finding Employment

1- LinkedIn

LinkedIn is a staple of the international business world, and Canada is no different. This prevalent professional networking tool serves as a social networking site and a job board to track down local opportunities. If you have career aspirations in Canada, it’s almost a requirement that you have a LinkedIn profile to connect with local businesses and recruiters. The company page feature lists the contact information of employees of thousands of searchable companies, so you can quickly find the right person to introduce yourself.

LinkedIn also features a learning feature for professional development. Business, technology and creative courses are all available at various levels of expertise so that no matter your stage in your career, you can continue to grow. While Linkedin is free, the learning feature costs CAD 35 a month, but you can try it out with a free trial.

2- Grammarly

It always helps to have an extra set of eyes to look over your professional writing, especially if you’re writing in a second language. Grammarly is a beautiful, free tool for correcting common spelling and grammar mistakes. The Grammarly app and browser extension integrate flawlessly across your devices, so there’s no need to waste time opening yet another app window. It also provides suggestions for improving your writing to avoid making the same mistakes in the future. Even more, features are unlocked with the premium version.

Having an adequately proofread résumé or cover letter is an essential component of getting past the application phase in Canada, so you’ll want Grammarly to process these documents. But, more than this, its integration into your phone’s keyboard means that no matter what task you’re doing, Grammarly will continue to teach and polish your writing, so you sound like a local professional.

3- Gymglish

While apps like Grammarly can provide support for professional writing, they cannot support your ability to handle a professional conversation. That’s where intermediate language apps like Gymglish come in handy. The app boasts over five million users worldwide and features daily lessons that adapt to your skill level, so you’re learning new skills at your level of proficiency. The app focuses on ten-minute lessons with written, audio and comprehension exercises. All of which is set in an amusing story that will teach you about English culture. This unique approach to language learning has been proven to stimulate memorization without being too demanding.

Gymglish isn’t just for English learners, it features courses for French, Spanish, German and more, so there’s plenty of opportunities to learn new language skills that can pad your resume.

Apps for Financial Support

4- Mogo

The Mogo app features many services like handling personal loans, mortgages, fraud protection and credit cards. It even operates as a mobile cryptocurrency trading platform. However, what this Canadain-based app is known for is its free credit score monitoring services. Everyone from insurance companies, landlords and employers may request a credit score report to decide whether or not to give you credit. So naturally, this is a crucial factor in requesting personal loans. With the Mogo app, you can easily monitor your score’s health without making this a costly chore.

5- EQ Bank

There has been a growing demand for the feeless services available by online-only financial institutions. EQ Bank is a highly competitive option in this emerging market. In addition, the lack of a physical location means more savings for customers, including free withdrawals, e-transfers and cheap international money transfers without having to leave the app. Not to mention EQ Bank features some of the highest, non-promotional, interest savings accounts in Canada.

The clean and minimalist interface allows for easy navigation inside the app, and you’ll find signing up is equally painless. For newcomers, EQ Bank offers a simple, fast banking service across Canada straight from your smartphone with plenty of support for moving funds internationally.

6- Wise

Speaking of moving money internationally, Wise is perhaps the cheapest option on the market. An international account from Wise allows you to send money to over 60 countries worldwide at a rate of seven times more affordable than your average bank. Furthermore, the app will enable you to convert quickly and hold up to 56 different currencies without any extra expense, so you can always pay in the local currency. In addition, the app features instant notifications that alert you to spending from your account and even offer a 3-D secure authentication feature to authorize your payments.

Wise makes things incredibly straightforward with an easy sign-up to link directly to your bank account, apple pay or credit card. It also features international customer service in a variety of languages.

Apps for Communication

7- Public Mobile

Just as banking has moved away from traditional physical locations, mobile carriers like Public Mobile seek to do away with the brick-and-mortar model to keep costs as low as possible.

Public Mobile is a Canadian discount brand that is owned and operated by Telus. It means it takes advantage of Telus’ very excellent network at discounted prices. The app features a barebones approach to carrier services, dropping even a customer support number favouring lower rates. Still, it also means that you can handle all aspects of your cell service from within the Public Mobile app. It includes purchasing and activating a SIM card without having to visit a physical location.

Ready-made plans range from CAD 15 to CAD 50 per month, but Public Mobile’s emphasis is on your ability to customize the plan to your needs, so if you want a $1 prepaid plan, that’s possible. Use the code E3YM5P to get 10$ off when you subscribe. Overall, its focus on flexibility, affordability and mobility make it ideal for newcomers.

8- ProtonVPN

Sometimes the digital services you love are not available in another country. For example, social media and video streaming are often restricted geographically or feature vastly different content by location. Virtual Private Networks or VPNs help to provide secure access to the same online services you’ve accustomed to no matter your location.

ProtonVPN is one of the most flexible, low-cost VPN services available with a free subscription that allows for unlimited streaming. It features an attractive interface for slick navigation and plenty of privacy tools if you need them. It also claims breakneck speeds, so you won’t have to worry about laggy video. Unfortunately, the free service only lets you connect to Japan, Netherlands and the US, but subscription models as low as $5 a month give you access to over 500 servers.

A quick tip: Use a VPN to shop for cheaper flights. Airline companies will often shift their prices depending on the purchasing location.

Apps for News

9- CBC News App

The free CBC News App is an excellent way to stay informed about what is happening in your local area. The app is customizable to your geographic location, so you don’t have to sift through irrelevant articles. It features a clean interface with scrollable articles and video content. It also features an alert feature that can notify you of stories that may immediately impact you.

CBC doesn’t try to innovate the news app formula, but it does provide federally assisted reporting on the news stories that are important to informed Canadians. Not to mention that CBC Gem, CBC Listen, CBC Radio and CBC sports are all linked to the app. All of which provides thousands of hours of Canadian audio and video content for free.

10- Ground News App

While CBC News is an incredible tool for staying in touch with local and national news, it’s very traditional. Apps like Ground News are innovating the way news is spread to combat misinformation and sensationalism. For example, ground News tags every article as either having a left or right bias and then allows users to search articles by political biases. It also allows users to compare the coverage of the same story from different news sources within the app for those that want a more comprehensive perspective.

The app’s ability to easily place local, national and international news in the context of multiple reporting outlets makes it an excellent tool for learning how news coverage works in North America. For example, you can compare CBC reporting to the New Yorker and discover what works best for your news needs. Use the code 849522 to get a month off the subscription, starting at CAD 2.

Do you think we miss one tool or app? Let us know in a comment below.

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10 Must-Have Apps for Newcomers in 2021

Intentional dreamer, culture speaker, mentor & designer, Julien Mainguy arrived in Canada in 2014 and he got involved with people and communities to make a difference. He thrives on building better societies, by using awareness on cultural management and by understanding yourself better.