“Self-isolation”, “quarantine”, “social distancing” – you’ve certainly heard these terms over the past few months with the global outbreak of COVID-19. Along with impacting much of the global health systems and world economy, millions upon millions of people around the world are now without employment for the foreseeable future.

As a high school or college student, with summer break just around the corner, chances are you’re quite uncertain about whether or not you’ll be called into work this summer.

The reality is that this is a VERY uncertain time, and businesses are having to make some very tough decisions which often means laying off seasonal/temporary employees. If you find yourself without reliable employment this summer, there are still some excellent ways in which you can utilize your free time. In fact, that’s what much of this “quarantine” should be focused on – how can I make productive use of all this newfound free time?

Virtual Networking

Although you see many industries such as education making a massive push to online operation due to safety concerns from COVID-19, the concept of “virtual networking” has been around for a long time. This can best be described as the act of meeting, collaborating, and networking with other professionals, students, advocates, etc. through the use of online chat rooms, webinars, or virtual conferences.

Due to recent events, there are many people (young and old) who are seeking work or looking to connect for networking – this means a lot of companies who are looking to recruit talent or engage with the community will turn to these virtual networking opportunities. Oftentimes, companies will share networking opportunities on their social media pages such as LinkedIn, Facebook, or their company website.

Another great resource for seeking out virtual networking events is to do a quick internet search. There are many event-hosting platforms like Eventbrite and Meetup which can help you find events in the near future (as well as in-person events near you, once it becomes safer to host these).

If you are able to join a virtual networking event, it is very important to be prepared just as you would for an in-person event! That means to dress professionally, be open to discussions with lots of new people, and ask questions to hear about other people’s advice and experiences! The success and payoff of a networking opportunity is certainly what you make it.

Afterward, be sure to follow up with whoever you meet by adding them on LinkedIn or continuing your conversation over email. Some experts estimate between 70-85% of all jobs are filled through networking, meaning it’s oftentimes who you know that will help you land a job!

Complete a Remote Internship

With many countries implementing their own restrictions on travel, your summer abroad plans may no longer be feasible. If you have to stay in your home country, there are still some excellent ways in which you can gain valuable career experience – like completing a remote internship!

In order to support students impacted this summer and provide a platform for international experience and cultural/career learning, CRCC Asia and their sister company, Virtual Internships, have developed the Virtual International Internship Program. This program connects students and young professionals with companies in all of our countries of operation – UK, China, Japan, South Korea, India, and Vietnam – for a remote internship experience.

How much time you invest into the internship is up to you: 20-30 hours per week for a period of either 1, 2 or 3-months – the choice is yours. All participants are guaranteed a placement in one of their chosen career fields, and all interns can choose the country of the company they would like to work for; with the option of completing an internship on-the ground in that country at a later date.

Remote Internships provide students the very unique opportunity to participate in real working environments from the safety of home. Students are fully supervised and supported as they gain industry knowledge from within a chosen career field, after which they’ll be able to add the host company to their resume as they would with any other internship.
Completing a remote internship demonstrates adaptability, problem solving skills, and the ability to motivate oneself – all skills which are highly sought after by employers. A remote internship is a stellar way to continue to gain skills and experience this summer, especially as the current timeline for normal in-person business operations in most countries is still incredibly uncertain.

Learn a New Skill

Have you ever wanted to become a whiz at Photoshop? Or pick up/improve a language? Or perhaps, you’ve fantasized about building your own website for your small business, but have no idea how to start? Well, in 2020, you can pretty much learn how to do ANYTHING online, and now is as good a time as any to start putting some serious effort into developing important skills.

Let’s take languages for example – there are tons of language-learning programs out there offering both free and paid options. Some that come to mind are Rosetta Stone, DuoLingo, Babbel, etc. which offer a variety of languages, levels, and course selections. Just like any skill, your success in mastering a language will depend greatly on your motivation, time, and effort!

Days are gone where you need to enroll in a full college-level course to pick up skills in programs like Photoshop, Excel, or Python. Nowadays, there are vast arrays of tutorials on websites like YouTube, which can walk you through beginner, intermediate, or advanced learning in these programs. Some people can even teach themselves just by playing around with the inner workings of a program! The important thing is that you devote time and effort, and the skills will surely develop.

Maintain Your Health and Well-Being

There is no denying that it is a crazy time for everyone, and the situation in the world is causing widespread anxiety and stress. While there are lots of things you cannot control, there are certainly ways in which you can work to control your physical and mental health.

Let’s take physical health for example, as there are numerous ways to work and improve your physical well-being. Experts typically attribute this to a few common things – exercise, proper diet + hydration, and sleep. Even with most gyms being closed, there are numerous ways to get in a solid workout in your own home! Do a quick internet search to find some excellent workout regimens for all fitness and skill levels. The same goes for diet, hydration, and sleep – focus on getting healthy foods (fruits, veggies, protein) into your diet which can even help fight against certain diseases. Ensure you are drinking plenty of water, and also getting the recommended 7-9 hours of sleep each and every night!

If you’re feeling very stressed and overwhelmed right now, chances are you are a perfectly normal human being and not alone! Focus on keeping your mind busy using some of the things mentioned above to alleviate stress and boredom (which can be just as bad as stress).

The truth is that even experts do not currently know when the COVID-19 situation will get back to normal. This means that it is very important to think about how you can best use your free time to maintain productivity and gain new connections and experiences. Whether you are able to take part in virtual networking opportunities, participate in a remote Internship such as CRCC Asia’s Virtual International Internship program, learn a skill, or focus on staying well physically and mentally, don’t let this free time be wasted!