We’re living in a singularly extraordinary time. Nobody could have predicted the ways in which the pandemic would change the world as it has. After almost two whole months spent in quarantine, countries around the world are now slowly inching towards whatever inkling of normalcy they can get. When it comes to university students however, the erstwhile norm of in-person classes, mensa lunches, and student parties still seems a long way away. Nonetheless, not all hope is lost. There are many digital platforms available which can replicate, at least in part, the experience of meeting other students. The BLUG has compiled some of the best ways for you to connect with other people and make friends online to smooth the pandemic over.
- The Foyer International
The Foyer International is a part of the Göttingen International Office dealing in all things international. In happier times (pre-Corona, that is) the Foyer hosted a myriad range of cultural events from Germany as well as from other countries around the globe. They have regular weekly events dealing with the Arts, Theater, Languages, and Yoga. For international students wanting to know more about the Germans and their ways, the Foyer also hosts a weekly affair of all things German in an event called ‘Typisch Deutsch’ (Typical German). While normally the Foyer conducts all of their activities in a big seminar room with snacks and coffee, in these special times they have now moved their whole inventory online! The events are conducted on Big Blue Button and you can join them to know more about the things you’re interested in, to pick up a new thing altogether, or even to just talk to other students in the city. You can find their complete online schedule here.
2. The Erasmus Student Network
ESN, or the Erasmus Student Network, is a European student organisation offering help, guidance, and information to international students studying abroad. Apart from their information and orientation sessions, the ESN charters are also for their fun-loving members and crazy parties! Keeping up with the current times, ESN Göttingen is still very much active and has moved all of its activities online. They have a set schedule of activities each week, ranging from beer-tasting to quiz nights! They also host a ‘Language Cafe’ every Tuesday for people from different countries to come together and learn or practice whatever languages are on offer! To join any of these events, simply reach out to the members via their website or even via their social media. ESN members are some of the most open-minded and welcoming people you’ll come across in your time abroad in Göttingen, so don’t hesitate to reach out!
3. The University SprachTandem
Why not be productive during the lockdown and learn a new language or strengthen the one you’re already learning? Easier said than done, you would say. Keeping up productivity in times of the pandemic is much like the pandemic itself – a singularly extraordinary task. Being an international student myself, I know all too well the struggles of keeping up your motivation to learn a foreign language over a long time. Luckily, Uni Göttingen has already thought of this problem for students and is one step ahead! The university’s integration and diversity center (INDIGU) offers a language tandem platform for fellow students to meet. Its use is very simple. You simply sign up online with your university student account details, and enter some basic information such as which languages you want to learn and which ones you can offer. The platform – called Matorixmatch – then matches you with one or more potential students you can have a tandem with! With a new tandem partner at your fingertips to nudge you every time your motivation drops, you can make a new friend while still being productive – all in a foreign language! To know more about the experiences of actually making a Tandem, you can read this post written by fellow blugger Verena.