Life in a foreign country means dealing with some less-than cooperative internet at times. Good thing you can still find things to do, right?
No matter what ILP country you’re headed to, you’ll have internet access, but where you are sort of depends on what that looks like. As a general rule, expect the internet to run a bit slower than you’re used to. However, certain countries do have some more restrictions.
In China, the internet is heavily mandated, so you won’t be able to access anything like Google or Netflix unless you have a VPN (which tends to make things run a lot slower than you’re used to). Oh, and in most of our humanitarian locations, you’ll also have days with slow internet … and some days with no internet.
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Those times with slow internet or no internet aren’t too bad to handle if you have things you can do when the internet is out, which is exactly how we can help:
- Organize Your Pictures
- Make A Photo Album
- Write A Blog Post
- Keep Up Your Journal
- Get Your “To Do List” Done
- Write Your Thank You Letters
- Finalize That Bucket List
- Play These Games
- Watch Downloaded Movies/Shows
- Write About Your Kids
Organize Some Pictures
Take a few minutes to delete the duplicates, the shots where you totally had your eyes closed, and the blurry pics you accidentally took on your bus ride to that really cool castle. It’ll make your life of picking which pictures to post so much easier if you only have the best pictures on your phone or computer.
Make A Photo Album
Alright, now that you have your photos all cleaned up, organize them into an album. Create a mini folder of pictures to show friends and family when they ask how living in Russia was like (pretty sure no one wants to sift through all 3,403 pictures you took abroad!).
Put all of your pictures from your trip to Bali in one spot, and make albums for each of the cities you’ve visited so far (and have yet to visit). Make an album of all the pictures and videos you have of your kids, too! You’ll want to remember their cute faces.
Write A Blog Post
If you don’t have a connection, you can still type up a blog post in “Notes” if you have a Mac, or on any Word Document. Stage out the pictures you want to use, and write out the entire post so when it’s finished and you have WiFi, you can hop onto your blog and copy + publish the post.
This also works for emails home. You might not have time to send your family an in-depth email when you’re too busy teaching and traveling, but on days when you have no internet, find time to send home a detailed email about your adventures (and what foods you miss from home). The email will save as a draft, which you can send once you’re back online.
Here’s a quick guide to setting up a blog in case you don’t have one already.
Keep Up Your Journal
Guilty of getting behind on your journal? Same, but this tip helps. I keep a list of things I want to remember each day in a bulleted list on my phone, then go back and write it all in my journal with more detail, along with some illustrations or taped-in tickets, Polaroids or movie stubs that help me remember the experience.
That way, you don’t forget the details if you’re a few weeks behind and have a big list of what you want to write about in your journal when you have the time …. and the minute the WiFi cuts out is a pretty ideal time to catch up on your journal.
Jot down these journal prompts for ILP volunteers now so you have them when the internet goes out.
Get Your “To Do List” Done
Everyone in your ILP group will need to pitch in to keep your place tidy. Maybe the next time the power is out you guys can put on some music and wipe down the kitchen, or sort through the supplies you all brought and each make a shopping list before you run out of soap or conditioner.
Maybe you’ve been meaning to get some pictures developed in the city, or have been meaning to organize your souvenirs to make sure they will all fit in your suitcase. It’s not as fun, but feel free to use this time to accomplish something you’ve been putting off.
Write Thank You Notes
During your semester you’ll have the chance to get to know the locals! You could find yourself getting close to the cute ladies who cook your meals, the families of the students you teach, your host family and host siblings, the other local teachers you work with, plus countless others. When the internet cuts out, use that time to write “thank you notes” to pass out the next time you see them.
Pst: this might be a good time to write a couple of notes to the members of your ILP groups too — everyone could use a mid-semester pick me up by getting a note filled with favorite memories.
Finalize That Bucket List
Before it’s too late, make sure you have a list of all the things you want to do and see (and eat) during your semester. Before you know it, you’ll be heading home in a few days and won’t have time to “try all of the Milka bars in your grocery store”. Take the time to fill out all of your bucket list adventures, big and small, and put them on the calendar so you’re sure to make them all happen.
Play These Games
All ILP volunteers are set up with a fellow group of volunteers, so you’re not alone. What does that mean for you? Well, besides have instant travel buddies, you have friends to play these group games with!
The ILP office brainstormed our favorite games you can play with just a few supplies or no supplies, which means you can really play these anywhere, as long as you have enough people.
Watch Downloaded Movies/Shows
We tell this to every ILP volunteer because it comes in handy — whether you’re out of WiFi at home, or on that really long train ride back from vacation, you’ll run into times when you don’t have an internet connection which means having shows already downloaded on your computer, tablet, or phone will come in handy.
Figure out how to download Netflix offline, or keep movies loaded on your device for easy streaming or group movie nights.
Write About Your Kids
Hard to believe when you’re teaching every week, but you won’t be able to remember your kids’ names as quickly as you can now! I wish I would have done this on my semester so I could flip back and remember all their cute faces and little quirks.
Take a notebook and write the name of each of your students on a page and write down your favorite memories, funny things they said in class, and what you’ll miss about ‘em. Now you have a space to add stories and little notes and artwork you may get after teaching class, just like a scrapbook. So cute, and something you’ll want when you’re not living abroad any more.
Ready to dive in and live abroad?
Don't worry, we have your back. When you start your application, you'll be put in touch with an ILP rep who's volunteered with our program before, and can let you know all the details about the ILP countries you have your eye on.
No commitment, just help finding the perfect program for you: