The title of today’s post may sound a bit ironic — as you can see, I’ve been away for almost two months, and believe me, the last thing I could think of a couple of days ago, was the excessive amount of free time! However, as I have just come back to Barcelona, I’d like to share with you my ideas for creative use of your free time. Ready? Let’s go!
#1 | online courses
Have you heard of coursera.org? It is an online platform providing universal access to the highest level of education, in collaboration with the most prestigious universities and cultural institutions worldwide. I discovered coursera thanks to my Husband who came across one of its courses while browsing his Twitter feed. I fell in love with this idea instantly — what can possibly be better than sitting on the couch in your fav pijamas, and taking a course organised by California Institute of Arts, Princeton University, or MoMA?
Taking online courses is a great idea for everyone who has found him-/herself in a situation of having no job — just like me. Generally, the participation in a course is free, but if you want to include a new achievement in your CV, you might need to purchase a verified certificate. The cost of a certificate depends on the course, usually you can have it for 49 USD. However, there is a chance to apply for financial aid from coursera; if you can’t afford the tuition fee, you may be given an opportunity to earn the certificate at no cost at all.
#2 | learning foreign languages
I love expanding my horizons and learning new things. You already know about my passion for museums, but I don’t think I mentioned to you how much I enjoy learning foreign languages, did I? I began studying English at the age of 8, and it quickly turned out that when it comes to learning foreign languages, I am a gifted student. Thus, my English classes were followed by French, German, Italian, and Russian ones, only to focus seriously on learning Spanish a couple of years later. Now, since I ended up living in Barcelona, I had to take up another course — in April I started learning Catalan.
In Barcelona, one can learn Catalan at virtually no cost. The classes organised by Consorci per a la Normalització Lingüística de Barcelona (cat. Consortium for Linguistic Normalization) are funded by the Generalitat de Catalunya — one has to pay just for the coursebook, which is around 15 EUR. Each of Barcelona’s neighbourhoods has its own CNL center, so the access to learning is beyond easy. In a week I am about to begin my second course; I’m very excited about it, because thanks to the results from my previous one, I was able to skip a whole level! Thanks to the fact that I am already familiar with Spanish, some French, and a little bit of Latin, learning Catalan is so much fun. There are so many ways you can supplement your classes — ex. by reading books, watching TV, or using mobile apps such as Apprendo.
#3 | presential courses
Not long ago I came across a Spanish association called Arte Sostenible, organizing courses that seemed tailor-made especially for me! I decided to take up a 4-day course in Museology and Museum Management. The course was in Spanish, so I had an opportunity to practise language, as well as to learn some specialized vocabulary. I took over sixty (!) pages of notes, discovered how do Spanish museums funcion, and participated in a mind-blowing visit to some of the storage rooms of Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya! Although I had already been familiar with many issues that were presented during the course, I also learned a lot of new fascinating things, and I have a feeling that a lot of good will come of it in the near future.
#4 | …
There are so many ways to spend your free time in a productive and creative way. And… surprise, surprise! The truth is that you don’t actually need plenty of time, you just need s o m e . There are blogs to be written, museums to be visited, books to be read. What are your ideas to make the most of your time? I am still learning how to stay motivated and not let my time slip through my fingers. I’d be more than happy to discover your hobbies and life hacks, so don’t hesitate to share them (for the sake of mankind)!