UT System students create new travel app geared towards study abroad experience

Vera Bespalova

A group of UT System students have created a new social networking app, Awayys, to help connect study abroad students to resources when they arrive in unfamiliar countries.

“Awayys is an app that brings the world together at a whole new level,” said Doris Llamas, co-founder of the app and UT-El Paso senior.

The app helps travelers find people to hang out with by using a search engine with multiple filters. The app is synced with users’ Facebook accounts to maintain authenticity, which also gives users the option of limiting their search to their social circle and to the social circle of their friends. The app lets users leave reviews of the places they’ve visited for other users to read.

Llamas said she came up with the idea for the app while studying abroad in Paris.

“The concept of Awayys was born out of my own needs as an exchange student,” Llamas said.

Diego Urrutia, an economics junior at UT-Austin and co-founder of the app, said the app allows travelers that wouldn’t otherwise connect to do so.

“We’ve all been to Europe backpacking … if you’re by yourself over there, there’s a lot of people that are also backpacking in the same areas as you are, but you don’t necessarily meet up,” Urrutia said. “Awayys will allow you to see those people you would have otherwise missed.”

The app is particularly helpful for anyone traveling alone, not just study abroad students, allowing them to make friends during their trip, Urrutia said.

Llamas said the app can also serve as a safety net for students. 

“We believe that connecting to people from your community is essential,” Llamas said. “Awayys can serve as a safety measure for students abroad, who, in case of any disaster, can find help and support wherever they are.”

Harrison Crowl, an international relations and global studies sophomore, said he plans on studying abroad next year and thinks the app would be helpful.

“I think this app would be a great way for me to get in contact with other exchange students who might be outside my program and I wouldn’t see otherwise,” Crowl said.

The app is in its last stages of testing and should be released to the public on Google Play and the iTunes store for free at the beginning of May.