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Virtual Date Night

COVID-19 hasn’t made dating any easier. As people adjusted to a new lifestyle, relationships and in-person dates around the world have been put on pause. Though Valentine’s day will be different this year, many virtual opportunities have arisen to help couples spend time together. A perk of virtual dating is that it is designed to fit a college student’s budget and schedule, since they rarely involve additional costs or travel time.

Virtual tours (museum and world)

Confined to the indoors with limited options to hang out, many college students are missing out on the perks of being in New York City. If you’ve missed exploring the Museum Mile hand in hand with your loved one, some museums around the world have got you covered with their online, interactive exhibits. Here are some great ones to check out:

Google Arts & Culture allows you to explore artists, mediums, and art movements (including 360-degree videos that capture every angle). The Louvre is offering tours that show off its collections while preserving the architecture and views of the physical location. The Smithsonian National Museum of Natural History has also gone virtual, allowing you and your partner to explore millions of specimens behind your computer screen. With the National Women’s History Museum’s online Women in NASA exhibit, you and your partner can discuss your views on anything from astronomy to history.

If travel is more up you and your partner’s alleyway, some countries have turned their biggest attractions virtual:

If either of you loves history, visit the Palace of Versailles to explore a wealth of history, from how French royalty lived before the revolution to how the palace hosted the formal end of World War I. China’s terracotta warriors are an impressive sight even from across the world. Hike through Yellowstone without worrying about winter temperatures or injuring yourself in a hot spring.. While we may not be able to tour the International Space Station in-person regardless of the pandemic, put on 3D glasses while watching this video to feel like you’re really there. If you love Harry Potter, explore the Warner Bros. Studio in London with a quick stroll through Diagon Alley.

Building a virtual world together

There is nothing like working together with your partner to create something great. Some great platforms to build virtual worlds together include Stardew Valley, Minecraft and Animal Crossing. Each has its own perks, but can be boiled down to creating the perfect world, alone or with your partner.

Stardew Valley and Minecraft are both available on computers, mobile devices, and consoles including the Nintendo Switch. They both host servers where you can build a multiplayer world completely online with your partner. Animal Crossing is available on the Nintendo Switch, and allows other players to visit your island with a Nintendo Switch Online subscription.

Teleparty and chill

Teleparty (once Netflix Party) has expanded to cater to Netflix, Disney+, Hulu, and HBO. The free platform offers synchronized playback to anyone who joins the link, alongside a live chat. Unfortunately, in order to use Teleparty, all users must have subscribed to the platform in question.

For those without subscriptions, there are free synchronized streaming platforms, such as Squad. If you’re not sure which TV show or movie that both of you would enjoy, we recommend The Queen’s Gambit, Money Heist, The Witcher, Vagabond, and The Umbrella Academy.

Boardless game night

Playing games is a great way to learn about your partner. Life can be hectic as a college student, and game nights can help you take a break from the stress of upcoming midterms or approaching deadlines. Over quarantine, a graduate of Pomona College put together this list of games, which are categorized by genre and include the recommended number of players.

Make a meal together or order each other food

The way to a person’s heart is through their stomach. While you may not be able to cook together in-person, you can certainly cook together online, whether it’s by playing Cooking Mama or by video calling while making the same meal (or your own). If neither of you are particularly kitchen-savvy, you can simply order each other some delicious meals. Then, you can have your significant other try your favorite meals and restaurants while you try theirs, or try new food from cultures and restaurants that you normally might not have ordered from. Some great delivery sites include Postmates, Grubhub, Uber Eats, and DoorDash. If you live internationally, try foodpanda, or ask your partner what their preferred delivery method is. Once you both have your food, dig in together and chat as you would on a date!

If you don’t have a date for this Valentine’s Day, try some of these ideas with your friends (even if they’re on the other side of the globe) for Galentine’s Day!

Staff Writer Swethaa Suresh can be contacted at swethaa.suresh@columbiaspectator.com. Follow Spectator on Twitter @ColumbiaSpec. Follow Spectrum on Twitter @CUSpectrum.

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