OPAL Self Care: Phone-Free Adventures

Before arriving at their host institutions in the United States, Global UGRAD participants take part in World Learning’s Online Professional and Academic Learning (OPAL) course that covers topics like self-care, intercultural competency, and successful academic writing. This year’s self-care module included a challenge to gather a group of friends for a “phone-free adventure”. The goal of the assignment was to become more aware of how phone use affects well-being and connectivity. These Spring 2020 Global UGRADs accepted the challenge!

Asri enjoys a phone-free dinner with friends in Indonesia.
Lauali Dare going phone-free with friends in Niger.

“I want to say that it was a strange but interesting activity [to go phone-free]. First of all, all of them wanted to use their cellphones, but I convinced them not to. We went to the movies and then ate at Taco Bell. I feel like we really enjoyed the moment better this way than when we all use our cellphones.” -Pablo in Guatemala
“My two best friends and I went out after not seeing each other for a month. We met at the park and we spent all day together. We talked for hours, ate, and played our favorite game. At the end of the day, I felt really fresh, recharged and ready for the pressure of finals week.” Hadeel in the Palestinian Territories

“I thought this would be very challenging for one of my friends because she loves her phone. I invited her to spend a day with me, but without using her phone. At the beginning, she was a little bit anxious because she wanted to use her phone to check her social media accounts. However, she did not touch or use her phone. We ate and we spent seven hours together. We talked about different topics without getting bored or looking our phones for any reason. I cannot deny that technological devices are very useful in people’s lives, but we can still have some phone-free adventures, enjoying and discovering what life offers to us every day. I really enjoyed this task!” – Genesis in Honduras
“Lately I have been so stressed out, and I felt so annoyed while talking on the phone with people. I’ve grown so attached to my phone and using it even for unimportant things. For a week I tried to use it less and less. Today I took the day off and just went to my village where we have raspberries. I helped my family with that and didn’t use the phone not even for listening to music.” – Sofije Zenuni in Kosovo


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