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5 Extraordinary Tips to Make Your Day Productive During the Economic Downturn

As many nations and people are forced to stay back at home due to the outbreak of the global COVID-19  disease which started late last year December in a small city in China called Wuhan, many economic, social and other religious activities have been put to a halt. Over time, global pandemics such as coronavirus have always been unpredictable events in many histories. Disease outbreaks like this gained foothold due to the profound level of human interactions with various microorganisms such as viruses. Indeed, the history of a global pandemic can never be fully told or discussed without the recent outbreak which started in 2019. Scientists made it clear that it is a highly contagious disease, and in fact, millions of people around the world have lost their lives to the ravaging hands of COVID-19.

Countries and territories around the world have enforced lockdowns of various types, be it partial or total lockdown. In some places, the restriction includes total movement restriction while others have enforced restrictions based on time. In most places, only essential commodities and businesses are allowed to remain open while schools including universities and colleges have closed. The big question lingering in many people’s heart as we collectively hope for a time of refreshing is, “When will this end?” While we are faced with so many uncertainties, many especially the youths and young adults have sought for activities to engage in to keep them productive and better equipped for the post COVID-19 era.

It is no doubt and in fact already evident that many are being laid off at work, while many are at the mercies of their employers to retain their positions at work. No doubt, the struggle has been real, but there are quite a number of activities, with education inclusive being adversely affected at this time. Video conferencing apps and other useful online tools have played a crucial role in the sustenance and continuity of normal life during the lockdown period. In the midst of it all, many young people have started resolving to the use of their gadgets for more productive uses.

There is no better time to acquire some new skills other than a time like this. Many people before the lockdown have been procrastinating and shifting their enrolments for online learning, particularly certificate online courses, many have given the excuse of not having sufficient time to sit before their gadgets to learn. There is a list of online courses to take online that are available for free or almost free. Moreover, many learning websites are offering discounts to people to study and earn certificates. Websites like: Udemy, w3schools, Coursera, datascience360, Pluralsight and a lot more have a lot of mouth-watering and exciting offer for those willing to learn their desired course. Going online is the best way to get knowledge and make the best use of the internet.

Late into the lockdown, a lot of people are already getting sensitized about the resourcefulness of their free time. For some people, this is probably the break they have been waiting for,

Before you proceed with the article, watch this video
‘5 Of My Best Simple Productivity And Personal Growth Apps’

Here is a list of engagements and activities to leverage for productivity:

1. Learn Languages Online

A language is a tool which connects us to different people, cultures, and traditions around the world. People learn new languages to access new and exciting opportunities such as travelling to a  new country, communicate well during foreign trips, educate students, or just for fun. The process of learning is mostly via a full-fledged language course. Over time, languages have always been a good option for many people willing to learn especially widely accepted languages like French, Spanish, Latino, German and a lot more. French language, in particular, is one of the most sought after as there are many opportunities open to bilingual people domestically and internationally.

In some countries like Canada, some provinces offer more job opportunities to people who have an exceptional quality of speaking both English and French. In fact, some jobs are specifically reserved for native French users. One of the best ways to get a good grasp of a language and adapt quickly to its use is by practising it; online classes offer a platform that allows you network and practise in an ecosystem containing people willing and passionate to learn a new language just as much as you do. Some of the best websites to learn new languages are:

  • Duolingo: This is one of the most popular language learning apps. Duolingo offers a variety of games and other creative ways to learn the basics of a language. It works well on a mobile phone for those who may want to learn flexibly.
  • Open Culture: If you still cannot get the language you so desire to learn from Duolingo, this is probably a good option to look into as well with about forty eight language options available. In addition, there is an additional feature of learning which includes hearing options. It offers all the language skill sets such as speaking, listening, reading and writing.
  • Livemocha/Bilingual: Similar to Open Culture, Livemocha offers a wide variety of languages and different ways to learn and practice your new language. Livemocha currently offers 35 languages. This offers a unique style of teaching by introducing native speakers from different nationalities. Also, you can practice your speaking and listening skills with other members.
  •  Babbel: This simply for beginners who only care to learn the basics of their chosen language. This website offers only 14 languages including English, French, German, Portuguese, Swedish and Turkish. From this website, you can obtain the following language skills: speaking, reading and writing.
  • Busuu: They have a very large network of different language users. There are approximate, 500 million native language users. The website is way more sophisticated and offers its own language assessment, GSET (Global Scale of English Tests) for users learning English.
  • Learn a Language: The website was created by the U.S. Institute of Languages with the aim of bridging communication gaps especially for new arrivals into a country. Here are some of the languages offered by the website: French, Spanish, Italian, Japanese, German, Chinese, Russian, English, Arabic, Portuguese, Swedish, Hebrew, Greek, Turkish, Norwegian, Danish, Korean, Dutch, and even Latin.
  • Mango Languages: It was the first film-based language learning software. Today, Mango Language offers courses on its website and mobile app. This website and app require access code to get full access into their resources. They offer 60-lesson courses for a myriad of different languages, which include Swahili, Punjabi, and Icelandic.

2. Online Courses

There are numerous courses available to upgrade or completely one’s knowledge of courses. There are inexhaustible sources of online materials that can guide anyone interested in learning any course through. In fact, some schools such as universities and colleges now put some of their courses online for people who are willing to learn from a distance. Distance learning became more prominent with online resources. This lockdown period, you may take advantage of learning the skills one of your freelancers or employees may find useful post COVID-19. here are 10 of the most popular options for upgrading skills:

  • Coursera: It is one of the most prestigious online learning sites; they are partnered with leading universities in the US and around the world. Lately, a new option for specialization was introduced to facilitate the learning of different course pathways leading to certification from an affiliated university.
  • Lynda .com: it is a premium website strictly for those willing to pay the cost of obtaining a quality education. Just like Netflix and iTunes subscription, Lynda websites allows you to subscribe to course-based videos for a period of time. The membership provides unlimited access to more than 80,000 videos on a broad range.
  • Udemy: for many people, Udemy is considered a bit more expensive site. They offer courses that span different areas of lives including business, science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).  Udemy allows you access to course overview, which means you can preview your course to guide informed decision making.
  • Udacity: is a platform with a strong focus on technology; for those planning on breaking out into the field of data science, this is one of the best online websites to get resource materials to start up with. The pricing and payment structure on the website is one of the best you can find anywhere, permitting subscribers to pay in instalment.
  • Khan Academy: They offer a mixture of text and video form of training depending on the subscriber’s suitability. It is a free website for materials like math, science, economics, humanities, and a bit of computer programming. It is a non-profitable website with a collection of free online resources.
  • Codecademy: This website is strictly committed to teaching people how to code. It is strictly for coders and it is free to all users; you can choose to learn coding at your own pace. There are quite a reasonable number of courses offered such as PHP, Python and Ruby.
  • Bloc: offers a more intense option for those fully committed to learning web development. Those who enrol with them pay tuition to make them eligible to access materials.
  • Iversity: It is partnered with European and international universities to offer academic courses for free. They do not issue out any form of official certification.
  • Skillshare: It is an open community to pick up various skills, especially in a time like this, to pursue a career and to perfect already owned skills. It offers an online catalogue of video-based courses, as well as in-person workshops in cities like San Francisco and New York.

3. Professional Courses

Online study is now a popular thing today. It opens a world of opportunities for people to improve themselves and their career. There are many websites offering professional courses to people even from the comfort of their home countries. Taking professional courses is a great way of boosting one’s qualification and also getting to learn things outside the jurisdiction of one’s field. During the lockdown period, there are quite a number of professional courses that can be taken.

With online facilitated learning, there is hardly anything that cannot be learned. Some of the common professional courses people find interesting to take are: programming, finance, marketing, photography, and public health and so on. Here are some of the professional courses you may decide to take this lockdown period: Advanced iOS for iPad Programming, Affiliate Marketing and CPA Marketing Training Program, Basics of Accounting, Basics of International Finance, Big Data and Hadoop Training, Bootstrap Development Mastery Training, Capital Market Instruments and a lot more.

4. Create and Complete Your Resume

Once you learned how to write a resume, you will never be far from a paycheck.  A time like this is the best to learn how to polish up a resume. Many who have not had all the time they need on how to write a proper resume can seize this opportunity to tidy it up. Resume play a very crucial role in job hunting, it portends the personality of the employee to the employer, and therefore it is important to learn how to perfect it over a period like this against post COVID-19 period.

While there are time and many resources to learn how to write a professional resume, there is no excuse for not shaking off our old resume this long period of idleness. The chances of picking up a new job or even securing your first potential job after the outbreak is learning how to create an effective resume capable of succinctly describing the ability and potentials of the applicant.

5. Apply to Fellowships and Scholarship Opportunities

The good news is that a large number of scholarships are available for international students of a variety of backgrounds to help them study abroad. Funding is often offered by the governments of countries which are keen to attract more international students, as well as by individual universities. Scholarships can also be accessed via independent organizations; for example, QS runs a popular scholarships scheme, in partnership with universities around the world.

Ever since the pandemic started, a lot of surveys have been carried out to seek the opinion of returning and potential students about the challenges they may be passing through or envisage. In fact, many schools, particularly schools in United State are beginning to drop some of their requirements to encourage more students to apply for programs in spite of the lockdown and several uncertainties surrounding schooling. Some schools go as far as dropping exams graduate entry requirements like graduate record exam (GRE), proficiency exams such as IELTS and TOEFL, waiving application fees and encouraging people to apply even without any of these requirements. To cap it up, there are myriad of scholarships and bursaries awaiting people who will seize the opportunity of the lockdown to searching out the internet for available scholarships.

First, it is crucial to know that there are different types of scholarships:

  • Merit-based scholarships:  are awarded to students who demonstrate great and exceptional talent in a subject. Good recognition is granted to students’ academic achievements, such as an impressive grade point average (GPA), or a high score in a standardized test. These type of scholarship is a form of recognition for exceptional academic performance, the reward of the previous academic history.
  • Need-based scholarships: students willing and ready to study without strong financial capacity are awarded based on an assessment of the financial situation, and that of your parents. They are intended to aid less fortunate students in following their academic dreams and consider a range of factors, including income and dependents.
  • Student-specific scholarships: These are scholarships which are offered for a particular group of students, often aiming to provide additional support for an under-represented or disadvantaged group. This includes scholarships for minority groups, scholarships for women in male-dominated industries.
  • Subject-specific scholarships: specific subjects offer scholarships are available within the university, often centred on a particular career path. Examples include medical scholarships, business school scholarships and engineering scholarships.
  • University-specific scholarships: Many universities have internal scholarships to offer- including a combination of the types of the scholarship listed above. Eligible students may be automatically considered for these when they apply to the university or may need to submit a separate application.
  • Unusual scholarships: In addition to the main types of the scholarship listed above, you may also encounter some rather more unusual scholarships, which often require applicants to complete a particular challenge.

With more and more organisations resolving to offer scholarships, the chances of winning a scholarship continue to increase, however, one of the best ways to study for free as a foreign student in another country is to apply for international scholarships offered by the government of that country. Here is the list of scholarships available to International Students:

  • Australian Development Scholarships (ADS) for African Students: an initiative of the Australian Government, is a pan-African program of development scholarships and fellowships that offers 1,000 postgraduate scholarships each year to eligible African professionals.
  • Australian Government International Postgraduate Research Scholarships (AU IPRS): IPRS enables international students to undertake a postgraduate research qualification in Australia and gain experience with leading Australian researchers. The scholarship covers tuition fees and health cover costs for scholarship holders, and health cover costs for their dependents.
  • Austrian Government Scholarships for International Students: The award has been financed by funds of the Austrian Federal Ministry of Science, Research and Economy (BMWFW) and the EU for international PhD or Post-Doctoral scholars who desire to undertake research in science. The award aims to promote scientific secondary growth, promote scientific cooperation and build a sustainable network of academics with relation to Austria.
  • Beijing Government Scholarships for Undergraduate, Masters & Doctoral International Students: The Beijing Government Scholarship (BGS) was established by Beijing Municipal Government, aiming to provide tuition fees fully or partially to the international students studying or applying for studying in Beijing. Its administrative office is the International Cooperation and Exchange Office of Beijing Municipal Commission of Educations, which is in charge of project establishment, review, acceptance and daily management of the Beijing Government Scholarship Program.
  • CUD-ARES Scholarships in Belgium for Developing Countries: The Minister for Development Cooperation and the Directorate-General for Development Cooperation entrust the Belgian Higher Education Institutions with the preparation of Postgraduate Programmes (Advanced Masters) and Training Programmes that are specifically oriented towards young professionals from developing countries. Within the programme for International Courses and Training, Programmes ARES grants 150 scholarships for participation into the masters and 70 scholarships for participation into the training programmes.
  • VLIR- UOS Masters &amp: Training Scholarships in Belgium for African/Developing Countries VLIR-UOS offers full Masters & training Scholarships in Belgium for students from Developing countries – half of this scholarship will be offered to African students and preference will be given for Women. The eligible training or Masters programmes are taught in English.
  • Chinese Government Scholarship Program: In order to promote the mutual understanding, cooperation and exchanges in politics, economy, culture, education, and trade between China and other countries, the Chinese government has set up a series of scholarship programs to sponsor international students, teachers and scholars to study and research in Chinese universities. China Scholarship Council (CSC), entrusted by the Ministry of Education of the People’s Republic of China (MOE), is responsible for the enrolment and administration of Chinese Government Scholarship programs.
  • Czech Government Scholarships for International Students: The Government of the Czech Republic offers a number of undergraduates, Masters and Doctoral scholarships within the framework of its Foreign Development Assistance Programme in support of the study of foreign nationals from developing countries at public institutions of higher education in the Czech Republic.
  • Danish Government Cultural Agreement Scholarships for International Students: The Danish Government Scholarships under the Cultural Agreements are aimed at highly qualified exchange students wishing to immerse themselves in studies of the Danish language and culture or other fields of study related to Denmark. Danish Government scholarships programme covers 30-50% of the tuition fees, which means that the rest must be paid by the student. Students who are awarded a scholarship from UCN may under certain circumstances also receive an additional partial monthly living costs scholarship.
  • Government of Estonia MA/PhD Scholarships for International Students: The Estonian Government through the Estonian Institute offers international master’s students, doctoral students and post-doctorate researchers, scholarships to study at Estonian universities.  The Estophilus Scholarship is offered to finance foreign citizens with foreign higher education masters, doctorate and post-doctorate researchers in their studies and research.
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There is no exact limit to what can be done to be productive in this lockdown period. All you may need to do is identify your passion and leverage on the availability of excess time to improve yourself and become more resourceful.  For most parts, the majority of what people considered are already explained in this write up.

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