As travel is still restricted across most international borders, staying connected with friends across the globe has become challenging. Whether you met your international friend on a vacation years ago or have only chatted via social media, keeping up with them is a great way to expand your horizons beyond your home country. If you’re learning a language, forming friendships around the world and interacting with fluent speakers can take your skills to a new level.
If you’ve tried Zoom calls, email threads, and Instagram DM’s, but are looking for new ways to stay connected while hundreds of miles apart, we’ve got you covered. Here are six creative ways you can connect with your international friends during quarantine!
Create a book club
There’s no better way to amp up your language skills and connect with friends than creating your own international book club. While we’re still stuck at home, it’s a perfect time to brew a cup of coffee and snuggle up with a new book. You can convene over Zoom to talk about the sections as you read and trade off who selects the book and language. If you’re not sure where to start, here are 10 questions you can use to kickstart your book club conversation.
For beginner or intermediate French speakers, you can opt for a book like Le Petit Prince, which has lessons for any age group despite being a young adult novel. If you’re up for more of a challenge, we recommend L'Étranger or Candide. Spanish speakers — we recommend a young adult novel like Esperanza renace or, for a more advanced option, Crónica de una muerte anunciada.
These timeless classics will have you feeling like you’re cozied up in a cottage somewhere instead of sitting on your couch for the seventh day straight.
International Netflix marathon
If a book club sounds like a lot to tackle, you can opt for an international Netflix marathon instead. Whether you’re into dramatic reality television or fascinating docuseries, you can chat about the latest episode and even watch simultaneously to get a play-by-play reaction.
Netflix has plenty of foreign language shows to choose from, like Dark, a mind-bending German thriller that will keep you on the edge of your seat or Money Heist, which follows a group of criminals through Spain. Turn off the subtitles to practice your comprehension and listening skills.
Take all the extra time you have in quarantine and write your friend a letter! Receiving a letter in the mail is a satisfying and personal way to stay in touch with someone — and could provide a much-needed break from all the Zoom calls.
If you’re feeling extra generous, you could even throw in a small gift or a treat that your friend doesn’t have in their home country. Here are 30 things you can include in your envelope that will make your letter even more personal.
Take an online class together
If you’re both interested in learning a new language, Fluent City offers group language courses that you can sign up for together! You can practice your conversation skills and make study dates to stay on track. One of the best ways to learn a language is through interaction — so having a study buddy will benefit both of you.
Play a board game via webcam
Whether you keep it simple with a stack of cards or decide to order a board game internationally, playing together can break up the monotony of quarantine and give you reason to test out some new vocabulary words. There are plenty of online board games you can play together, from Clue to Battleship to Scrabble — all you need to do is download the app to play.
Take a virtual fitness class
There’s an abundance of free virtual fitness classes nearly every hour, so you can select one that works for both of your time zones. You’ll pick up some new vocabulary and get to connect with your friend, all while breaking a sweat!
Most online fitness companies have a free trial, so you can test out a variety of lessons without spending a penny. Glo offers yoga, meditation, and pilates, or you can try out a service like Fitness Blender, which has over 700 workouts ranging from high-intensity cardio to resistance band workouts. Whatever your preferred workout may be, there’s an online course for you — here are 22 free fitness websites that will have you and your international friend in top shape.
If you’re having a hard time finding a class that works for both of you, try making a workout yourself or follow along with one on YouTube.
Even though we miss jetting off to foreign countries, you can still learn about a new culture and practice your language skills without a plane ticket. Whether you’re working up a sweat or playing Scrabble together, you and your international friends can still stay connected during quarantine.