On March 16th 2020, Universities and schools across the UK announced that they were shutting down for quarantine. By the 21st of the same month, almost all students had returned to their family homes, many of us with plans to work, study or travel abroad suddenly cancelled. The six months at home stretched out like a long tunnel in front of us, with the hope of returning to university in September the one shining light.
But for us language lovers, one vital thing was missing, the ability to travel. With all current plans cancelled and no foreseeable hope of planning new trips, here is what I did during quarantine to make up for my cancelled travel plans:
- Films and TV:
The main thing which helped me feel like I was travelling from home was watching as many travel shows as I could find! Of course, experiencing it on TV was not nearly as good as the real thing, but it definitely helped. My favourites were Race Across the World, in which teams must race each other around the world on a limited budget; Travels with my Father, where Jack Whitehall takes his Father on many exciting (and hilarious) adventures; and finally all the many David Attenborough series. I watched these shows with my family, which made us feel like we were all enjoying the journey together.
Another thing I enjoyed over the summer was cooking with my family. Often, as all families do, we tend to get stuck in a cycle of having the same meals on repeat, but with more time in the day, we could enjoy cooking new meals a lot more often, which made us feel like it was a proper holiday. As well as this we tried to cook meals from around the world, testing out new curries, risottos and stir fries. Food is a wonderful thing which brings cultures together, and so trying many new foods distracted us from being stuck at home.
As language students, we are constantly told to read, listen to, and watch things in our target languages. Whilst this is very good advice, often it can feel like schoolwork, putting us off. But over the Summer I found that watching tv shows, reading books or listening to podcasts in my languages of study helped me feel like I was travelling and not just stuck at home. It was something new and different, and reminded me of previous holidays.
Here were some of my favourites:
Fortunately for me, my family are all learning French, so we were quite happy to put the French subtitles on when we watched Netflix! However, we also watched ‘La Dernière Vague’, an innovative French paranormal thriller on BBC iPlayer. As it was set on the beautiful beaches of the Bordeaux area, it really felt like we could be there.
We also watched Money Heist, a Spanish police drama on Netflix. This we watched with English subtitles, so that we could pick up the language without having to think too much about what was being said.
As the Winter approaches, and we are still living with restrictions, many people are becoming fed up. No longer can we fritter away the days on sunbeds. We now have heavy workloads, and harsher weather to contend with. So in Winter 2020, I offer to you my tips and tricks to feel like we’re not still stuck at home, I invite you to try these things, and feel like you too are travelling from home.