Learning Can Be Joyful

Learning in retirement is a joy for many. There are so many different and interesting courses. Some classes are formal, some are informal. Some people graduate with a degree, some leave a course with a certificate whilst others are content with gaining a new skill or hobby.

What Type Of Classes Are Available?

There are so many options for courses – online and in person.  Your library may be a good place to ask about courses in the community. Often there are brochures about neighbourhood courses in libraries.

How long do you want to spend learning a new skill – a day?, a term, even longer?

Photo: Iheb AB

Retirement for some is simply another stage in life. For others, however, it can be a challenge. Other people have told me that they try and buck the system and are ardent ‘un-retirees’ rebelling quietly and trying not to conform to a stereotype.

‘My project in retirement was to travel’, Ellen, aged 78, told me. Pre Covid, she and a friend had gone on a bus trip through Europe that was aimed at ’20-35 year olds’.

‘Well, the brochure didn’t say that you had to be exactly in that age group’, she said.  ‘We had the best time and we met really interesting younger people. You learn a lot by travelling and also by mingling with people who are quite a few years younger’.

I haven’t heard if she has planned anymore such trips, post Covid.

Some retirement projects can involve renovating a home or garden or working on improvement in a sport, such as golf or tennis.

Types Of Learning Experiences

*U3A Alliance Australia: University Of The Third Age 
*Council Of Adult Education (Victoria)
*Adult and Community Education (NSW, QLD)
*Home Adult Education (Tasmania)
*Adult Community Education (South Australia)
*Mature Adults Learning Association (Western Australia)
*Darwin Adult Short Courses
*Neighbourhood Centres
plus many other options!

For many others, however, learning is their project in retirement.  There are so many options for courses – online and in person.  The University Of The Third Age began in 1984, in Melbourne. These days it’s known as the U3A Alliance Australia: University Of The Third Age  (this brings together  the networks of U3A state and territory groups).   There are online courses as well as ‘off line’ courses. The courses are varied and may include. science, writing, history, arts and culture, technology, exercise, games, languages, music

Local neighbourhood centres are also an amazing source of varied course from Yoga, dancercise, beading, first aid, historical walks, ukulele and other music lessons, strength training – to name but a few of the many courses.

Laneway Learning

If you live in one of several Australian capital cities, then Laneway Learning may be of interest. It’s a not for profit community based organisation.

The courses are ‘affordable, informal and are taught by ordinary people from the local community; florists teach about flowers, scientists about science and bookworms about books. Attending them is less about becoming an expert overnight and more about getting some top tips to take home and practice later’.

Stephen Peterson, a writer and blogger speaks at Laneway Learning on: ‘Japan – What your travel agent won’t tell you’, and ‘Tackling Retirement’.

The Joy Of Learning In Retirement: A Bigger Project

Sometimes a retirement project can take on a bigger perspective.  Lorna Prendergast who graduated with a Master of Ageing from Melbourne University at age 90. Living in a rural area was not a problem for Lorna as the Master of Ageing was online.

She was motivated to study for her Masters after seeing her late husband, who had Parkinson’s Disease, and others in a nursing home respond in a positive way to music.

Lorna was full of praise for Melbourne University staff, including the i.t. staff who were ‘marvellous’.

David Bottomley is the oldest PhD graduate in Australia’s history. – at age 94. He’s got more projects on his radar too.

One Day University is another example that you are never too old to learn

There’s a place in the U.S. that allows you to attend a lecture, it’s called the One Day University.  The founder, Steven Schragis, says there is around 70% of people return after the first lecture.

‘You’ve got to have a project. Before or after retirement, you need something to stretch the brain and the body’.
Patricia, mid 70’s

What would you like to learn in retirement? What are you learning in retirement?
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