As blissful as having a few weeks away from your studies might sound, when the summer break arrives being inactive can get boring extremely fast – plus it’s a real waste of valuable personal development time.
That doesn’t mean you’re not allowed some relaxation! But making plans to learn new skills, grow as an individual, and experience new things will make this a time that boosts your future academic, career and life success.
So, instead of bingeing on Netflix shows or idling your days away in the shopping mall, here are five brilliant ideas for having a productive and hugely enjoyable summer recess.
Write every day
Chronicling your summer break is a great way to hone your writing skills – which will be extremely useful for any future career. But it’s also a great way to capture your memories so that you can reflect on them in the years ahead.
Just 30 minutes at the end of each day typing up your thoughts and recollections will sharpen your observation skills; help you acquire a unique writing ‘voice’ – and may even lead to a passion for writing that you didn’t know was there. If you’re feeling ambitious, you could even publish a blog on a major public platform like Blogger, Wix, or Wordpress. Who knows, maybe it will become really popular and you can even turn it into a source of income!
Learn another language
Whether it’s German, French, Spanish or Mandarin – learning a new language can give you a huge competitive advantage when it comes to job hunting as the demand for bilingual professionals is rising in this now globalized marketplace.
There is even a brain benefit to learning a new language! People who speak more than one language have improved memory, problem-solving and critical thinking skills, enhanced concentration, ability to multitask, and better listening skills. If that weren’t enough, scientific studies have shown that as you age, being bilingual or multilingual can help slow cognitive decline.
But if you don’t have money to spare for private lessons, don’t worry! There are plenty of high-quality free applications available such as Duolingo, as well as YouTube videos which can help you practice your grammar and pronunciation.
Learn to play a musical instrument
If you’ve always wanted to learn to play a musical instrument like the piano or guitar, it’s never too late. As well as enhancing your creativity and being a great stress reliever, scientists have discovered that there are incredible brain benefits from reading and playing music too. These include increased comprehension and math skills, better coordination, and a greater capacity for memory. Playing music will even make general learning easier as it involves using both sides of the brain in the process.
Whatever instrument you decide to pick up, you’ll soon find one online for not much money. As far as lessons go, either search for reasonably priced local private tuition in Saudi – or you can go online and find plenty of material from YouTube videos to expansive video courses.
Delve into rich Saudi culture
The Kingdom has a famously rich heritage and culture so why not use the weeks of free time to explore the country’s fascinating past at some incredible museums!
Don’t miss the King Abdulaziz Center for World Culture, known as ‘Ithra’ in Dhahran. With an ambitious vision as Saudi’s first all-cultural destination. Inside, you will find a staggering 85,000 square meters of space housing a museum, theater, library, cinema, exhibition galleries, ideas lab, and knowledge tower.
For a fascinating look into Jeddah’s long and cosmopolitan past, take a trip to the Tayebat Museum for a superbly curated representation of the city’s 2,500-year history. Located in the Al Faisaliyah district, the museum is housed in a multiroom complex that re-creates the traditional Hijazi architecture of the old city, with bay windows overlaid with intricate wooden lattice work and ornate coral masonry.
Or why not learn about the history of Abha and Aseer Province in the Asser Regional Museum which focuses on promoting the culture and heritage of the region. This cool museum shows the development of the region in various stages.It hosts more than 2,500 handicrafts and antiques, showing the lifestyle of people from prehistoric times to the modern era.
Become a volunteer
There are plenty of opportunities for volunteering in any Saudi community and yours is probably no exception! You could become a volunteer at an animal shelter, a charitable organization, or perhaps help out with a local environmental initiative.
Volunteering can even become a stepping stone towards your future career if you are able to volunteer for a company for which you are interested in working one day. Start sending out emails or making calls to see what’s available.
Tip: start planning now!
Don’t wait until the summer break arrives to choose interesting and productive ways to spend your time - start planning now, especially if you need to be accepted on a course of program. You won’t regret it!