Online Courses to Make You a Better Traveller

They say that travel is the best education and we wholeheartedly agree. But there are skills you can learn to make yourself a better traveller. More and more online courses are becoming available to help us pass time during quarantine. Why not make this time count towards future travel by up-skilling in ways that will enrich your next journey? Find out all you need to know below.

Learn a New Language

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Planning a big trip through South America? ¡Muy bien! Wouldn’t it be great if you could read, write, understand and even speak the local language of your next destination? Learning the local language will make travelling a breeze. It will also open you up to deeper conversations with tour operators, vendors and locals that may have not had the opportunity to learn English.

It takes a lot to reach the point of fluency in another language, but even just a few basics will make a huge difference. People appreciate travellers that make an effort to learn greetings and by starting an exchange in this way, you are more likely to get a better response.

Duolingo is one of the easiest ways to get started with a new language. It is a free language learning app that teaches through gamification. The user-friendly interface uses listening challenges, games, and multiple-choice questions to help you learn common words in another language.

For something more structured, try Babbel: a subscription-based language learning app designed for people that want to learn the practicalities, fast. The content is designed by linguists and delivered in a clear-cut manner that will help you navigate your way through realistic scenarios. It is interactive and allows you to choose what type of vocabulary you want to learn.

Pimsleur Language Programs offer bite-sized lessons like the apps mentioned above, but also self-paced courses. The lessons are based on linguistics professor Paul Pimsleur’s original audio language programs adapted for online learning. Here you have the option of learning one of over 50 languages by spending 30 minutes per day listening, responding and learning to converse in your chosen language.

Learn How to Take Better Photos

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Some places in the world are impossible to capture in a picture, but still, we try. Why not give yourself the best chance at preserving your memories through pictures by learning some photography basics? You’d be surprised at how much your camera roll can benefit from understanding even just the basics of lighting and composition - even if your only camera is the one on your phone.

iPhone Photography School offers online courses designed to help you make the most of your phone’s camera. Up your iphotography by diving into their iPhone Photo Academy course, or if you’d like to learn about post-production you can choose from their editing or photography art course.

If you have a DSLR camera, learn how to make the most of it by enrolling into an accredited professional photography course offered by The Photography Institute or The Australian Academy of Photography. These online learning classes follow traditional online learning structures with tutorials and online assessments. At the end, you’ll come away with a wealth of new photography knowledge and accreditation.

For something a little less formal, consider taking one of the many self-paced online photography courses on offer. You can learn from esteemed photographers such as Annie Leibovitz and Jimmy Chin via Masterclass, or if you’re looking to dip your toes into photography without too much of a monetary investment, try one of the many free landscape photography tutorials offered by Mark Denney.

Turn Your Memories Into Art

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If you love to get creative while you’re on the road, use your time at home to learn how you can capture your memories through art. How wonderful would it be to sit at a vista and be able to draw, paint or write a poem inspired by what you see?

Sharpen your writing skills by taking a class on the art of the written word offered by Masterclass. Learn creative writing from Margaret Atwood, short story telling by Joyce Carol Oates or poetry from Billy Collins. Visual artists can look to the artist-run Schoolism website for a range of online art courses: from drawing portraits in charcoal with Nathan Fowkes, watercolour fundamentals with Gonzalo Carcamo or painting creatures with founder and award-winning artist Bobby Chiu.

If you haven’t quite found your medium, start your foray into art by following @isolationartschool on instagram. The account was created in response to the lockout laws by Turner Prize winner Keith Tyson. The goal is to provide inspiration and easy-to-follow art tutorials and projects to inspire children (and big kids) to get creative at home.

Learn to be a Better You

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Many grounded travellers are taking this time to focus on their personal development. Online courses are perfect for teaching yourself practical travel skills or knowledge that will give you a better understanding of yourself or of the world.

Udemy is an online learning and teaching marketplace for skill sharing. Courses and classes are star-rated by users so you can get an idea of how helpful they have been to past students. Here, you can learn the art of compass navigation, travel journaling and monetising travel writing for the fraction of the cost of other courses.

Traditional institutions such as universities have also responded to the lockdown by offering more online courses through the platform Coursera. One of the most popular personal development courses on offer is the free four-week course on ‘The Science of Happiness’ offered by Yale. Here you’ll learn about the latest research in happiness and partake in challenges that will help you increase your happiness and build more productive habits.

If you already have a destination in mind, you might consider getting a head start on learning its history and culture from some of the world’s best universities also on Coursera. Learn about the French Revolution from the University of Melbourne, take Ancient Egyptology from the University of Pennsylvania or Roman Art and Archaeology from the University of Arizonas.

Physical travel may be limited by the lockdown, but technology allows us to be able to continue to expand our knowledge and horizons while we’re at home. What course will you start to help you get the most out of your next trip?

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