Document Actions

You are here: Home Counseling Students Studying in Covid-Times

Studying in Covid-Times

HN22049235 Fotograf Harald Neumann 722x155


Studying (and living!) during a lockdown, studying mainly online, with a limited social life and lack of balance: it's challenging, often frustrating and exhausting for most. We can't easily provide you with the study and life experience we want you to have right now - but we've put together some ideas on this page to make this time a little easier for you.

Two guiding principles are particularly important to us in this situation
Take care of yourself as well as you would your best friends. And: Practice physical distancing (when and as long as necessary), not social isolation.


With this short checklist you can get a first personal overview (you could update it weekly) of how things are going for you. Additionally, the following selection of tips and links can offer you further inspiration on what could support you.

You can find these offers directly from us:

  • If you have individual questions, you are welcome to make an appointment (also spontaneously) for the open office hours or a detailed counselling interview.

  • We also offer online workshops (in German) (on topics such as study doubts, stress, self-management, etc.).


Stay well informed

It can be very helpful to carefully calibrate your daily news intake to suit your personal needs. So take a moment now and then to think about what and how much news is good for you. You can also examine your normal news intake habits and try to find out what is good for you and what might be less good for you.

The University of Freiburg provides useful and reliable information:

Self-care: Strengthen your physical and mental health

Not going to classes regularly and having extra worries comes with new challenges for your body and mind. Here are a few tips:

  • Rituals and regularity can help you. Many people find it useful to plan a regular daily routine and stick to it. Try to find a good balance of study time and leisure activities for yourself. Eating regularly is also good for you: good nutrition not only helps your body, but also your mind.
  • Breaks are important, also during the online semester: Allow yourself regular time-outs (also from physically uncomfortable learning positions): Simply go outside, go for a walk or a bike ride, explore your surroundings and/or do some sports...
  • If you feel like it, you can also try out our idea for a "Hangout2gether"-walk.
  • Daily times of calm, e.g. meditation, writing or spiritual practice can be very helpful. And to support you in this, we can recommend a free tool (in German) from a calendar start-up (also for the summer).
  • The University's Studentische Gesundheitsmanagement (Student Health Management, Website in German) aims to provide a holistic healthy environment during your studies. In addition to consultation, you will also find activities on topics such as nutrition, exercise and relaxation. In the course of your studies, you can also complete your “UniAktiv-Pass”.

Other useful links:

  • Here’s an overview on how to deal with isolation and quarantine.
  • And here is a helpful resource on the science of well-being,
  • Maybe there is an old new year’s resolution that you never quite managed to pursue? Here’s the free motivation tool Woop.
  • If you feel ill and would like support in finding a local physician with whom to communicate in a language other than German, the Student Social Services can help. You may also contact your general physician (preferably by phone!) to ask for guidance concerning psychological healthcare (see more information below).

Crisis intervention: Professional support

If you feel that you or a fellow student needs professional support in dealing with anxiety, depressive thoughts and/or other problems, you can find free help here:

  • Psychological counselling of the Studierendenwerk offers first consultations much faster than other psychotherapists.
  • B2gether-Online counselling for youth and young adults is a free online counselling service; the website is only in German [DE] but counselling can be provided in English as well, just send them a message.
  • iFightDepression is a preventive, self-directed online service offered by the „European alliance against depression“.
  • hellobetter is a young start-up with online trainings and personal support (Corona; depression prevention; sleep problems etc.), partly free of charge, partly with reimbursement by several health insurances, partly with costs.
  • The psychological counselling centre for marriage, family and life issues is run by the Archdiocese of Freiburg, but provides counselling regardless of denomination.
  • The Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy at the University Hospital of Freiburg has also compiled helpful behavioural recommendations [DE] for psychological prevention during the Corona pandemic.
  • Here you will find information [DE] on what you can do if it is about someone other than yourself.


In emergencies, here are local clinics:

For a better understanding of the German mental health care system, consider this book or this advice.

Social Connection

Even though physical distance is an imperative in pandemic times, this should not mean social isolation. How about one of the following ideas to stay in contact and exchange with your acquaintances, friends or family?

  • Every day: Ask at least one person you care about (by phone, via internet, ...) how he/she is doing and tell them how you are doing and what you are doing.
  • Have dinner together regularly via online meetings?
  • Doing the same online sports exercises (videos) together and talking to each other over loudspeakers (until you/they are too out of breath;-))?
  • Watching the same series/movies at the same time and talking about them on the phone afterwards?
  • Writing a real letter again, like in the old days, to someone you care about?

Getting involved, whether at university, in your neighbourhood or in global human rights or environmental work, meaningful tasks and supporting other people can help you and others even in times of pandemic:

Local Connections and Challenges as an International Student

While providing you with great new experiences and insights, living in a foreign country can sometimes make you feel lonely and like it’s harder to establish connections. While this may be a natural part of adjustment, here are some options to connect (many offers have been transferred into online formats):

Note: Times of uncertainty are known to (re)activate stereotypes and in the worst case racism (see this). If you feel that you are being ostracized or discriminated against:

  • The Federal Anti-Discrimination Agency provides information and resources, including confidential counselling free of charge.
  • Please report your experience to the students union’s antidiscrimination division.
  • Prof. Gisela Riescher is the University’s Vice-President for Research Integrity, Gender and Diversity.
  • Being excluded hurts, also in digital interaction, take it seriously! This article on ostracism includes respective research findings.

Staying on top of your studies

The new situation with online classes poses new challenges and chances. The following offers may support you in maintaining your academic progress in times of online-studying:

  • New to the University? The ILIAS-room “Studienstart Uni Freiburg 2020/2021” offers comprehensive information concerning life and studies at the University of Freiburg in English and German. Information especially concerning International students is provided as well.
  • The University’s e-learning service provides Support for Students and Student Tutors concerning Digital Learning.
  • Students also have the option of organizing digital study spaces in ILIAS. You can set up a 'Student study group' and your own BigBlueButton video conferences.
  • The university library is expanding its online services.
  • At the University of Freiburg, learning opportunities inherent to public service (during and beyond times of the pandemic) are recognized and may be acknowledged with credits through the Service Learning program.
  • Kosmic offers free online self-learning opportunities, for example concerning academic culture in Germany and core competencies for your studies, e.g., presentation skills.
  • Another ILIAS-based course provides you with self-learning opportunities to manage your studies in times of online-classes, e.g., concerning learning strategies, planning tools and dealing with procrastination.
  • Do you struggle with academic writing, especially since it may seem harder to obtain feedback when you are not interacting with your instructors face-to-face? Here’s a guide provided by the global studies program; and here’s a compilation on offers concerning academic writing by the University Library (UB; in German).
  • This may be the perfect time for you to improve your German. The University’s
  • Language Teaching Center (SLI) offers language learning opportunities online, e.g. in their summer- and winter university.
  • If you are concerned that you may not be able to continue your studies due to financial distress, please refer to this overview of financial support options provided by the SWFR.
  • The University of Freiburg’s Central Academic Advising (in the Student Service Center) also provides individual consultation on scholarships. You can make an appointment.
  • Looking for a job? Check out the job-placement-service of the SWFR
  • The Deutsches Studentenwerk, also provides information on financing options.
  • Note: Should you know someone who is in a financially solid position and interested in helping students, maybe you want to bring this information on the student emergency fund to their attention.

Planning for the future

In challenging times, it can sometimes be good to look into the future and develop perspectives. This can help to see the current challenges in a different light. You can find some ideas here:

  • Check out if the JobTeaser Career Center might be for you.
  • Found a job you’d like to apply for? Wondering how to write an application in Germany? Here’s advice and information on working in Germany.
  • If you are interested in options of obtaining a PhD, you can find information and advising at the University of Freiburg’s International Graduate Academy.
  • The Central Student Advisory Service also offers advice on the transition to a Master's degree or alternatively to starting your career directly.
  • Free online courses to prepare for the European labour market, such as those offered by edx or coursera, can also help. (Note: If you are looking to go into business for yourself: Advice for entrepreneurs is also provided through the University’s Founder’s Office.