Business and IT student Zach Ciappara is studying at the University of Malta, and has successfully completed something beyond his typical assignments or exams. He has developed an app called FreeHour, which helps students find common free lessons with their friends, to find free time to catch up with each other in between their busy schedules.
In just a week. over 1200 students all over the Maltese Islands have downloaded the app and are already enjoying using it with their friends. Insite’s Johann Agius spoke to the app’s creator about what inspired him to develop it, and about other endeavors he wants to pursue for FreeHour to continue growing.
When did the idea for this app come about, and was it inspired by your personal experiences?
I’ve had this idea since March 2015 while I was still a student at Junior College, and for a year and a half I simply sat on the idea and did nothing about it. Whilst at Junior College, finding out when my friends were free on campus was quite annoying. I would have to message many different people, to eventually find out that only one or two people from my whole group of friends are actually free. So, that’s where the idea came about.
How does this app facilitate student life in practice?
In a student’s everyday life, the FreeHour app eliminates the need of contacting numerous friends in different group chats. It provides an easy solution for students to check whether their friends have a free lesson at that particular time, or any other time for that matter.
What are the app’s most interesting features?
As it stands, the app’s functionality can be summed up into two features. After signing up and inviting friends to share their timetable, with a tap of a button a student is able see who has a free lesson with them during any time throughout the week. The app also offers the ability to view a list of all the free lessons you and your friends share together, which is great for planning ahead.
How has the feedback been so far now that you’ve just started, and how do you plan to reach all Maltese and Gozitan students?
The feedback has been outstanding. In just 15 hours after its launch, FreeHour had exceeded 700 downloads, making it one of the fastest growing local apps ever. These last few days have also been simply fantastic. FreeHour is growing everyday and students seem to be loving it. Therefore, we are working hard to continue expanding it and reaching out to as many new students as we can around the Maltese Islands. Our mission will always be that of making meeting friends on campus as easy as it should have always been.
Do you hope to take this app abroad in the future? Or else to expand it to having other additional features?
Yes, definitely. After first launching it in Malta, we will be looking into marketing the app in other countries. With regards to future features, I think it is safe to say that we have some great features that students are going to love, and which we will be launching on FreeHour very soon.
Johann Agius is a fourth year law student who is currently the CEO of Insite after fulfilling the roles of Public Relations Officer and External Relations Officer in previous years. He joined Insite as a writer and photographer in 2013 and was elected in the executive for the first time a year later.