At this time, when the world has stopped for a second to catch a breath, we feel optimistic. It is important to understand – the situation that all of us are facing, while challenging, brings many opportunities along.
There is nothing more important right now than staying at home in a joint effort to #flattenthecurve! For all of you out there, greeting this beautiful spring out of your window – you are not alone. In fact, probably never in the history of humankind has there been such a widespread and strong union of people present across continents, countries, and balconies 🌍
So let us turn this situation around and make the most out of it. Here at Fintiba, we have put our heads together (virtually, of course 😉) and came up with 15 ideas on how you can make use of this unexpectedly generous gift of spare time. And look at the list below – is there even enough time to try it all out?
Once the isolation is over, we will open the door and step into a different world that opens many new opportunities. So why not use the time to prepare yourself for it? See this situation as a chance to improve your skills, learn something new, and grow. Here are a couple of suggestions:
- Build professional expertise
Whether you are only at a starting point of your career or already have years of experience behind, there are always ways to enhance your skills. Use online learning platforms like udemy or coursera to find online courses with a possibility of certification. Level up your CV 😉
Or maybe you decide to continue your education and apply for PhD program in Germany? Here is a practical course on the application process.
- Learn something completely new
Have you ever felt like you would like to give a try to a brand new skill or hobby? Maybe you always had that interest for programming, sign language, or history of arts. What about hair braiding, website building, or, possibly, psychology?
Well, good news – you finally have time for it! Do some research, watch YouTube tutorials and lectures, find expert communities, and bring your ideas to life.
- Improve your language skills
Use free apps like Duolinguo to get fluent in foreign languages. There are also platforms allowing you to find a tandem language learning partner, making it possible to practice having a real conversation. Other platform types are offering thoroughly structured courses with teachers holding both group and private classes with video calls (lingoda, speakly, etc.).
As an alternative, why not go through your friend list on Facebook and check if you already know any native speakers in the language you’re learning? Calling them would be a great chance to both catch-up and train a little 😊
Is it essential and also – absolutely realistic – to keep yourself in shape while staying at home. Today, there are many possible ways to do so, since many sports clubs, dance schools, and studios offer their courses online (and quite often, absolutely for free – here is an example of a club in Frankfurt regularly streaming its classes).
Check out apps like gymondo for home-based workouts, as many of them are currently offering free membership for a month or even more. If you are lucky to have flatmates or family members living with you – practice together to make it more fun and motivate each other to stay fit 😉 Or start a challenge with your friends and make a small competition out of it.
Unlike common misbeliefs, being at home does not necessarily mean being bored. Here is a wide selection of things you can do during the quarantine:
- Dive into the world of history and arts with Google Arts & Culture. Explore museums, galleries, and sights from all over the world and absolutely for free. How amazing is that?
- The Philharmonie Berlin announced that the Digital Concert Hall is now open to everyone for free for 30 days. Use the website for access or download the app and use the code BERLINPHIL.
- Vienna State Opera broadcasts recordings of previous opera and ballet performances free of charge. The sessions start at 19:00 or 21:00 CET and will be available during the next 24 hours.
- The Metropolitan Opera launches online broadcasts of Nightly Met Opera Streams with the archive opera recordings. The shows start at 19:30 New York time and will be available for another 20 hours.
- Bayerische Staatsoper provides individual performances as live stream or videos-on-demand here.
- If you are missing your favorite concerts and musical events during this time, check out this website for a variety of international music shows offered in an online format. Or scroll your social media feed – it is common that musicians stream home-based concerts these days (here are, for example, sessions from Chris Martin from Coldplay and Robbie Williams).
Cooking at home is a trend now 😉 Try all those recipes you have always wanted to taste and share the result on your social media!
If you do not consider yourself to be a talented cook and are afraid for the well-being of those around you when you are in the kitchen, we recommend checking the websites of your favorite restaurants. Many of them now offer takeaway menus or have even introduced contact-less delivery. It is essential to support local restaurants and stores now, as they have been hit pretty hard with the crisis and might not be able to return to the market afterwards.
- Dedicate some time to yourself – do something that most of us barely have time for with the everyday routine. Take a nice bath, read a heavy book, or make a movie marathon. To stay calm and keep a clear mind, consider giving meditation a try (for example, with Headspace).
- Call your loved ones and friends you have not talked to in a while! Get yourself a glass of wine and enjoy having a long, quality conversation. Or host a dinner party with a group of friends via Skype or Hangouts!
- Do some online shopping – get yourself some comfy clothes for home office or decorate your room a bit to make it cozy. Many stores that were only available offline before are now delivering your favorite items right to your door.
Settling down in a new country
Our thoughts are out there with all the international students who have recently arrived in Germany. It might be challenging to adjust to a new environment from your room or apartment – but we are there for you!
Here are some ways to make the transition easier:
- Get your German SIM-card online
Offers from WINSim and Lebaro are student-friendly and can be purchased entirely online. Vodafone and other providers have similar offers as well. In general, feel free to check out our recommendations regarding a German SIM-card in this article.
- Search for shared or free Wi-Fi connections
If you are stuck at home and have not yet set up a Wi-Fi or internet connection, try asking your facility manager for shared Wi-Fi accounts. If you are living in a private apartment, consider talking to neighbors and asking them to share access with you as a temporary solution.
- Virtual student buddy or a community
Many universities offer a buddy program to make the integration of newly arrived students easier. Even though you cannot meet in person, use this chance to connect with a local student online. Learn about the city, your university, and classes.
As an alternative, join an online community of international students in Germany. Find new friends, ask your questions and learn more about the country you are now living in!
- Start vlogging or blogging
Your parents and friends back at home would be happy to know if you are doing well in a new country. So instead of having hundreds of calls a day, considering sharing what is going on with you through available online platforms.
- Get accustomed
Use this time to better understand German rules and laws. People here are used to doing things in a certain way, and you need to learn to respect it. For starters, figure out how a garbage disposal works and then move on to all the bureaucratic processes you need to go through once the quarantine is over. Our Welcome Guide would definitely help you with those topics! Log in here and check it out in the “Documents” section of your account.
Hopefully, all of those tips would help to spice up your days at home a little! If you found it useful, feel free to share it with your friends 📢
We hope that you and your loved ones are staying safe wherever you are. And remember – whenever you have questions, we are always there for you!
With ❤️ from Frankfurt,
Your Fintiba Team