In a recent interview with CBC News, an international student named Mohamed Rami Boumaaza has shared how the ‘iCent’ iOS app helped him navigate life in Toronto by offering information about accommodations, transportation, and accessing health-care and employment. He first came to Canada in 2015, and is currently a student of the Sheridan College.
The app, which is available in a number of languages, even helped Boumaaza change his program from business to architecture by helping him better understand his options. “I arrived here after an eight hour flight and it was a culture shock,” he said. “I didn’t know any dates, for example, the orientation day, or if I wanted to change my program, what the deadline was for that,” he added.
The iCent app’s developer Ganesh Neelanjanmath, who came to Canada in 2010 for post-graduate studies in project management, said he thought of building this app to help ease the life of international students since he knows “how daunting it can be to live and study in a foreign country”.
“Almost every international student faces the same challenges,” said Neelanjanmath. He describes iCent as “an acclimatization tool that helps student become acculturated to local community and life and academic systems in Canada.”
Neelanjanmath lanched the first version of iCent on Apple and Google app stores in 2014. The tech creator has partnered with 15 colleges to offer a digitized handbook ever since.
Information about everything a student needs, from health services to transportation and school requirements; is available in less than three clicks, according to Neelanjanmath who says information often gets lost on student websites.
The iCent app has already been download 11,000 times, and includes a platform to facilitate meetings between students looking for new friends, travel partners or roommates. You can download the app for free at this link.