Codecademy – Create your Dream Website

Codecademy is a online platform that allows you learn basic coding skills for free. Get the skill that is so important today & realise your ideas.

MOOC-List – An Endless List of Free Courses

Whatever you want to learn you can do it now, online and for free, with MOOC. Choose from a variety of courses and learn at your own pace.

Highbrow – Knowledge straight to your inbox

Sign up to Highbrow to enter the lifelong learning zone. Chose from 100+ courses that are delivered in bit-sized emails. Learn new things everyday.

Startup Digest – The best start up events in your city

StartupDigest is an email newsletter giving you an overview of all startup events in your city, curated by experts within your local start up scene.

Duolingo – Free language learning

Always wanted to learn a new language? Duolingo is an amazing, free app that you can use on your smartphone to learn new languages.

How we founded a NGO in Uganda next to our studies

“What counts in life is not the mere fact that we have lived. It is what difference we have made to the lives of others that will determine the significance of the life we lead.”

– Nelson Mandela

Inspired by the saying of Nelson Mandela, my friend Laura and I founded the organization Health for Uganda/Africa e.V. in 2014 with the purpose to share our knowledge about health in order to increase living standards in Africa.

In December 2013, I met some old school friends in a local café to talk about everybody’s stories and happenings of the past six months. A lot had changed since we went off from school. I started studying geological science after few months of traveling and working in the UK. Laura, who was about to start studying medicine, went to Uganda, Africa. During that time, she did a voluntary internship in the dispensary of Bugema. She asked herself during this time, “How would doctors in Germany be able to work and improve without access to electricity?” She was sure that if she wanted to be a good doctor someday, she would have to know how to work without electricity and technical devices that help us to perform daily tasks. Within a few weeks, she had extended her six week stay to almost three months.

It was incredible to talk with Laura and our friends about their experiences. I honestly never thought about that issue until I heard her personal impression. Laura said, “The work in the dispensary was incomparable, and I learned so many interesting things. I was welcomed by everybody so kindly. For me, it will always be my second home, the place where I feel welcomed and comfortable.”

IMG_2863
Lauras stay in Bugema in 2013.

After our conversation in the café, I couldn’t stop thinking about Laura’s stories. We wanted to do something!

Laura had the idea of setting up a charity organization. Laura and I, her friends and family members, and others interested around our town, decided to establish a Non-Governmental Organization called “Health for Uganda/Africa e.V.” We had to write a statute, open a bank account, and finish all the paperwork before we finally got the approval to become a charity organization in March 2014.

(If you would like to know more about Laura’s time in Uganda, please click here)

What I took away from starting this NGO was that it doesn’t really matter how old you are or where you come from; it is about the dreams that you should follow. We are a diverse team representing many ages, yet we all have the same mission in common.

The mission of our organization is to optimize living conditions of people in need. This includes both preventing diseases and helping to promote health. We plan to achieve our mission through the use of medical supplies, treatment, water supplies and enlightenment on the subjects of infectious diseases, hygiene, and nutrition. For us, capacity building in the communities is very important. The organization’s projects have to be sustainable, and they have to be able to continue without our presence in Bugema.

My experience was that it doesn’t really matter how old you are or where you come from; it is about the dreams that you should follow.

After funding the organization, many questions arose, such as what are the main constructs? What is the best way to achieve our dream together with friends and people in Uganda? What is the best way to contact and communicate with people around the world? How should we collect money? How do we best structure the organization? Everything seemed overwhelming! But we had to get started…

After funding the organisation, many new questions arose, e.g. what are the main rules? What is the best way to achieve our dream closely with friends and people in Uganda? What is the best way to contact and communicate with people around the world? How should we collect money? How is the best way to structure the organisation? Everything seemed overwhelming! But we had to get started…

Over one and a half years ago, we structured the teams and organized different kinds of events in order to raise money for our projects in Uganda. The organization is spread into three working groups: promotion, health and hygiene, and water and technical supply. Laura is the contact for the health group, and I am the contact for the water group. I realized that this kind of group dynamic is successful only if everybody works together and performs their tasks. When it comes to communication, being open-minded yet critical are the most important factors for an organization working closely together. It is great to go to fairs, talk with people about your mission, have fun with your friends in the organization, and collect money for the projects. You have to love the work, otherwise it will be hard.

The first trip began in 2015. I had never been to Africa, and I was excited to meet people in Uganda and learn about their opinions, feelings, challenges, and visions of life. We had been preparing projects in Germany for almost a year by collecting money and trying to broaden Laura’s network in Uganda to implement our projects.

So the first trip started in 2015: we prepared projects in Germany for almost a year, collected money, and tried to broaden Laura’s network in Uganda to implement our projects.

Laura and I flew from Frankfurt to Entebbe, Uganda, on October 2, 2015. We implemented our “Hygiene- Project.” The German working group “Health” (which includes nurses, medical doctors, paramedics and hygiene and nutrition specialists) spent a lot of time writing a Hygiene-Handbook for the dispensary of Bugema. The organization “Health for Uganda/Africa e.V.” equipped every toilet on the campus ground with a soap dispenser and liquid soap. We also printed posters that said “Wash your Hands!” and “Disinfect your Hands” for the soap dispensers and toilets around the campus

IMG_5803
At the Health Centre Bugema.

IMG_5810
At the Health Centre Bugema.

Moreover, we printed posters saying “Wash your Hands!” for the dispensary and the toilets around the campus, and also printed posters saying saying “Disinfect your Hands” for the dispensary. The organization “Health for Uganda/Africa e.V.” equipped every toilet on the campus ground with dispenser and liquid soap. The dispensary was equipped with liquid soap, disinfection for patients and staff members.

Not far from there, the solar project at the Health Centre in Bugema began. We wanted to ensure that a possible electrical breakdown would not damage the vaccine by creating a break in the cold chain of the vaccine. By setting up an efficient solar system and buying a new fridge, the vaccine remained safe and cold. It took us almost the whole month to fulfill the project with the help of the University Bugema. There was always something unexpected happening, and it was a really exciting time. I learned that everything will work out at some point; you just have to be patient.

IMG_7073
Installation of our second project “Solarpennals” with the team and engineers.

After talking with interested members of Bugema University, the Local Council, and the Health Inspector (who were all a part of committee for our organization), we made the first decision about the water supply project for 2016 during the last week of October.

IMG_5875
Looking at a borehole, which is not functioning close to “Baps” Primary School.

A special day

During mid-October 2015, we walked with the Local Council to two primary schools in the area of Bugema. I saw for the first time the real nature and villages of Uganda’s bush land. We met head teachers that showed us the school ground and inoperative boreholes, and they explained to us the water shortage situation. In the beginning, it was hard for me to understand that the inoperative boreholes meant there were many people without access to water.

IMG_6672
A meeting about disease prevention and health promotion

We learned a few more details, for example the fact that one borehole was drilled on a hill and the water aquifer was too deep to pump up the water. After our eventful morning, we visited the Hope Orphanage Centre, where there are around 500 orphans. Because we had heard stories from others about the orphanage, we knew to bring food and hand it out to children at the “Hope Orphanage Place” in Kiwenda with family and friends of Bugema University. Representing “Health for Uganda/Africa e.V.”, Laura and I gave them a short lecture about how to wash their hands. The orphanages were happy about the food and very interested listening to our presentation. We got a thank-you letter saying the children still remember it well, and they are now washing their hands before eating. It really motivated us to keep going to fulfill our projects and work in the organization.

 1
At the “Hope Orphanage Centre” in Kiwenda.

We were sad to leave Bugema in November of 2015, but we had a wonderful time with the community of Bugema University. We flew back to Europe highly motivated and with many new ideas for our projects. We are looking forward to working together with the committee at Bugema University in the future and returning to Uganda.

Now, it is easier for me to understand different cultures and opinions. I’ve learned to approach all things with consideration and to take everything in stride. It was a lovely journey with ups and downs, but also with wonderful people who made it prosperous and a lasting memory.

Returning to Germany, motivated with our experiences in Uganda, we met with members of our organization and shared our experiences. Right after we returned, we participated at many charity events and markets in November and December of 2015 and began planning the next projects for 2016.

IMG_6941
At the source of the river Nile (Victoria See) in Jinja, Uganda during a day trip with friends.

I am really amazed at how much things change and how fast our organization is growing. I am grateful for the support and encouragement from all of the people around me, and especially Laura. It is fascinating to see how interested people are in our projects, but at the same time how hard it is to find more new members and sponsors who are committed to our mission.

Our mission right now is to expand our organization and take the next steps. I am looking forward to working with our team. Working with something you are passionate about is fun, keeps you going, and broadens your horizons and skill sets. Don’t dream about tomorrow, do it today! After all of my experiences, I recommend to reflect on the old and have courage for the new! And to try your best at all times. 🙂

Don’t dream about tomorrow, do it today!

Thank you for reading my story about founding the organisation “Health for Uganda/ Africa e.V.”! If you got curious about our project, please feel also free to contact me in person e-mail: evaflorina.kaminsky@yahoo.de.

Best,

Eva Kaminsky

Co-founder of Health for Uganda Africa e.V.

Health for Uganda/ Africa e.V. Email: info@health-for-uganda-africa.org Homepage: www.health-for-uganda-africa.org

Bank account: IBAN DE65830944950003291111 BIC GENO DE F1 ETK Ethik Bank

Eva
Studying geology and co-founder of the NGO “Health for Uganda/ Africa e.V.” (www.health-for-uganda-africa.org). A culture & science interested and open person.

How to wake up stoked every day by living your passion

Miriam Tymiec is a freelance graphic designer/art director/kite-surfer and professional fun-haver. We had an awesome interview and she is someone who, in my eyes, perfectly embodies the spirit of being a digital nomad. You can check out all of her design work here and if you’re into kite surfing check out her kite surf blog Wake Up Stoked.

In this interview we focused on topics such as:

1) How to connect with like-minded people

2) The essentials of being a traveling freelancer

3) The impact of traveling on one’s personality

4) How to get over your fears and get out of your shell

Enjoy!

S: Tell me a little bit about your journey. How did it all begin?

M: At first I worked at an agency as a graphic designer, but my goal was to become a freelancer and location independent. My ultimate dream was to kite-surf more. So I decided that I was going to adjust my job to my kite-surf life. Pretty much what I do now is look up different destinations where the wind is the best and where I will be able to work as well.

S: Awesome. At what point in life did you figure out that you didn’t want to work in an agency, but chase that kite surf dream and still focus on your work in the process?

M: I studied abroad in Italy and I always loved traveling. So after my studies, I went on a kite-surf holiday to the Dominican Republic, where I learned kite surfing. That’s when I was around 24 years old. It was during that holiday I decided that I didn’t want to get a job right away. I needed something in between and I wanted to travel and explore various things. At this point, I decided to book a one-way ticket back to the Dominican Republic and stay there for a few months, which turned out to be a year. I started working as a kite surf teacher and also started to freelance as a graphic designer. However I didn’t make enough money from that, so after a year I was very broke. That was the point where I decided to get a proper job that I can make a living of.

In spite of having no money, that year really changed my perspective on life and I can safely say that it was THE best year of my life. I can only recommend either after school or university to just go out there explore, travel and see the different lifestyles there are in this world.

So I started to work at an agency. I enjoyed that but I felt that I was not as happy as I could have been. It felt like there was always something missing. I think that idea was born because of my travels to the Dominican Republic and my passion for kite surfing, so it took me a long time to figure that out. Finally, after 3 years I realized that this lifestyle wasn’t for me and that I needed a change.

 

S: It must have taken a lot of courage to leave everything behind to go to the Dominican Republic because that’s where you felt your heart is. What impressions or reactions did you get from your friends and family once you told them that this is what you wanted to do?

M: The great thing in my case was that I got a lot of support and encouragement from my brother. It actually was his idea to go and he really wanted me to go with him. I was very scared at the time. Statements like “I have to get a job now”, “What will my CV look like if I just go travel for a year or for however long it will be” were constantly running through my mind.  I would have never made that decision myself and it was my brother who pushed me to do this.

My friends back then thought it was a little weird, they didn’t say too much but I felt that they thought it could take me a step back career wise. My parents are very easy going and were very supportive. They even told me that if they had the opportunity to go, they would do it too.

I think it was more of a passive thing, that people or society in general, will think I’m some sort of a failure if I do that now, so that was the bigger fear behind it.

S: It’s very common that people are afraid to fail and that they are afraid of what other people might think. For example there’s always that fear of judgment by people in your environment, that when you have an idea, which you want to realize but fail to do so.

In this case it’s always good to see the upside, which is that you actually did it! You don’t have to constantly ask yourself “What if?” And this can be a pretty huge deal, even if it doesn’t work out the way you want it to be. There’s always some kind of lesson, which you learn in the process that will bring you one step further in some way.

Would you consider yourself to be a Digital Nomad? If so, can you describe from your point of view the most important characteristics of a Digital Nomad?

M: Yeah, I would consider myself a digital nomad, but that’s because it is a really broad term. It’s simply defined as a person who

  1. Works wherever they want to

  2. Need internet to work

It’s a nice word to describe my lifestyle since it is easy to understand without going into any further detail. However it’s not a job description. You can’t go around saying your job is being a digital nomad. It’s more about a way of describing yourself as a person. Generally I feel like it’s a hard term to define simply because there are so many different ways people live life on the road.

S: There are so many people who dream of a more independent lifestyle, to not be bound to any specific location or to work while traveling and adventuring. What advice can you give digital professionals who want to achieve that lifestyle? Can you share a few points or life lessons that you learned while being on your journey?

M: I think the most important point is to have a vision and to know why you are working towards achieving this lifestyle. You really have to have a goal and to “feel the dream”. What I haven’t done at the time, and what I recommend everyone who still has the chance to do so should do, is to start building it next to your day job. It takes time to build that foundation. So start slowly and when the time comes when you can actually make a living off of it, then go quit your day job and 100% focus on your independence.

Another advice I can give is to generally save money. Just to have something to live off in the beginning, in case it’s not going so well. But basically, I would really recommend to everyone to work on it on a long-term basis and to really go for it, because like I said, for me, it was the best decision I ever made.

S: How have your travels and the whole digital nomad lifestyle affected you as a human being in terms of personality and mindsets?

M: I think my first travels were the ones, which affected my personality the most. Traveling makes you more open-minded. The more you see, the more you can think of, the more you can dream of. I’m also a bit of a shy person so it makes me more open towards others and to meet new people. And I think the most important thing is it really keeps you in the moment. You always experience new things and by changing places and working that way you’re always grateful and happy for what you have. For example, when I came back to Germany from South America I started appreciating the little things, and if you’re in another country like Dominican Republic, you just appreciate nature so much, so you’re really in the moment and very grateful for that. So I think I became more present personally and concerning my work life I think I’m way more focused and productive because I know what I am working towards. I’m living my dream and my motivation is way higher to work productively in an effective way so that I can enjoy the rest of the day at the place where I currently am.

 

S: That sounds so cool. Coming back to the freelance graphic design work you do, how hard is it to establish a client base? Do you think it’s easier or harder to find clients while traveling?

M: I think it’s way harder to get clients on the road. On that note, another important advice I can give is to get your clients before you travel. I had zero clients, completely started from scratch. My first clients were actually my family and friends and since some of my friends were graphic designers too I got some jobs from them. Even today it’s still hard for me to get clients since there’s always a certain distrust about the fact that I’m traveling constantly. So the best thing to do is establish a connection with your clients from your home base and show them that you do good work and later let them know that you’re traveling but still can accomplish all the work that you get from them. I also know some people who don’t tell their clients that they’re traveling and they don’t even notice that they’re gone. It’s just important that your travels do not interfere with the quality of your work.

S: You hear a lot about people who love traveling on social media and other platforms but are still to afraid or hesitant to make that final step. How can you give them that push which takes them over the edge and to get started? What would you say to them?

M: For my first ‘push’ when I traveled to the Dominican Republic I had my brother, but for my second push I actually went to a conference for digital nomads. For anyone looking for additional motivation, I would highly recommend that. The one I went to is called DNX, they have a national event in Germany and also an international one in 2017 in Lisbon. I am sure they are tons of other events and conferences, but for me, this was the one which was really mind-blowing. 

I think the most important point is to have a vision and to know why you are working towards achieving this lifestyle. You really have to have a goal and to “feel the dream”. What I haven’t done at the time, and what I recommend everyone who still has the chance to do so should do, is to start building it next to your day job. It takes time to build that foundation.

I would really recommend to go there and to just talk to people, feel the vibe and explore the many ways you can live this lifestyle. It’s such a big community and people are so helpful and open-minded. What you can also do is simply join Facebook groups for digital nomads and talk to people through there. They are very active groups and you get so much advice from people. Those two different communities really helped me a lot and made my vision bigger and constantly provided me with new ideas. Get to the beginning of the path and with the help of these communities see how many possibilities there actually are, and you’ll find your way on your own just by listening and taking it all in.

S: That’s very true. If you have a goal or a dream, doesn’t matter what it is you always have to get together with like-minded people and support each other, give advice and get motivation from one another. That probably also makes the whole experience a lot easier, especially at the beginning when you’re trying to figure it all out.

 M: Yes exactly. There’s this one saying “You’re the average of the five people you spend the most time with”. So even if you don’t have these like-minded people in your friends or family, look for them online or on conferences, watch YouTube videos, read quotes. The more you surround yourself with these things and see them constantly the more natural it gets for you. 

Daniel
I am the Co-Founder of Fypster.
Hope you guys are having fun here! Always happy to connect ?
So a little bit about me: I love entrepreneurship, traveling, diving into different cultures and languages whilst having football as another big passion. I love to be surrounded by people who encourage me to think beyond my limits. I also like reading (non fiction) books and to enjoy culturally diverse food. A lot of it. (if I can afford it)
When I am not working on some projects I love to spend quality time with my loved friends and family.
Fun fact: I am German/Brazilian which means I have to deal with two very opposing forces in me.
Before you ask: Even though I grew up in Germany, I always supported the brazilian national team a lot. So I witnessed the 7:1 in a Brazilian Restaurant having to drink many caipirinhas to be able to deal with the game.

All you need is a start

I live on a houseboat in the center of Amsterdam. Recently, I was standing by the living room window, watching the rain and admiring how tranquil the city looks from the water.

Thinking of that, I started to remember something: When I was a child, my best friend always had stories of vacations to tell, that sounded incredible to me. Spain, Greece, Tunisia. Surfing, Snorkeling, the hotels, the markets…. In addition, he also seemed to go to the Netherlands all the time! That might have been one of the more ordinary destinations but for some reason the typical Dutch canals he told me about, really struck a chord with me. If my family went on vacations, it would be within Germany. It made me quite jealous of my friend and left me picturing the fun times I’d be having in Holland, if my family would regularly go there too.

About 15 years later, I was living on those canals, was part of a great company and had worked on 4 continents before my 25th birthday. It occurred to me, that getting to that point was all thanks to an opportunity I took about 5 years earlier, just one shot.

ams-boat

Various friends of mine live a similar life, have lived in multiple countries, speak various languages, go to renowned and inspiring universities or travel for their work. A great many of them started this path from a young age on, their parents being entrepreneurs or seasoned travelers themselves. It is no secret that even here in Western Europe, where equality is prioritized and everybody has access to education, some have the resources to fulfill their dreams and live up to their potential while others don’t. When I was growing up, the resource I was lacking in was money. Many young, outstanding people I’ve met attended high ranking international schools, went for studies abroad or did low paying internships in expensive global cities. For my family, financing projects like these was no option. And yet, nowadays I have the same opportunities as they do and I’m here to tell you that you will too.

See, all you need is a start.

My personal start was being accepted to Weltwärts, the voluntary service run by the German federal ministry of development and economic cooperation. A popular program enabling high school graduates to do a year of different types of voluntary work in developing or threshold countries, while receiving education on intercultural collaboration and communication. All expenses such as flights, accommodation, language courses, insurance and food are paid. I wouldn’t have been able to do it otherwise. I went to rural China where I taught English and set up afternoon activities for my students aimed at informal learning and cultural exchange.

chhina-teach-2

What I learned during my time there, made it possible for me to be accepted to a one semester university program in Beijing and continue to work there on the side. That experience was relevant to a job I took in Amsterdam later on. There, I gathered the experience needed to work in a tech startup, after I decided that was a better fit for me than corporate life. A personality that blends in with startup culture I developed in that international environment I lived and thrived in in China.  Then ultimately, my skillset and personality became valuable to one of Silicon Valley’s most interesting companies.

Now what could be that stepping stone for you?

I know from experience that it can be frustrating seeing your goal in unreachable distance. Try to take it one step at a time however and it becomes much more realistic.  If you want to travel but you can’t afford it, maybe there’s an internship you can apply for. Maybe you know someone with ties to the destination of your choice. If you want to live abroad but don’t have the funds, why not strive for academic excellence to qualify for a scholarship or work on skills that the workforce of the country you want to go to is short of. If your grades aren’t good enough to be accepted to a particular study, you might be able to do an apprenticeship, teaching you more practical knowledge and thus giving you the edge over other applicants to the study in the long run. If you want to be an athlete, run one block further every day, do one more push up, then find yourself a coach.     If you want to become part of a tech startup but have studied something entirely different, use free online resources to learn to code or use analytics tools.

Whatever it is you want to do: All you need is a start. Just one opening that will enable you to get closer to your goal, step by step.

kungfu-man

There’s millions of driven, young people like yourself and it can be very valuable to get some inspiration and read the stories of your peers. For that reason, Fypster was created. A platform where young people share their learnings and experiences in travel, entrepreneurship and personal development.

You can get advice and hands on experience from the community and who knows, Fypster might just pave the way to your personal skipping stone. We’d love to see you drop by!

Have a great start and stay focused!

Daniel
I am the Co-Founder of Fypster.
Hope you guys are having fun here! Always happy to connect ?
So a little bit about me: I love entrepreneurship, traveling, diving into different cultures and languages whilst having football as another big passion. I love to be surrounded by people who encourage me to think beyond my limits. I also like reading (non fiction) books and to enjoy culturally diverse food. A lot of it. (if I can afford it)
When I am not working on some projects I love to spend quality time with my loved friends and family.
Fun fact: I am German/Brazilian which means I have to deal with two very opposing forces in me.
Before you ask: Even though I grew up in Germany, I always supported the brazilian national team a lot. So I witnessed the 7:1 in a Brazilian Restaurant having to drink many caipirinhas to be able to deal with the game.