Friday, February 17, 2012

Life-Long Learning

I had planned to write today about some ideas to avoid boredom in all the free time we suddenly discover after retirement.  While doing a bit of research on that topic, I discovered a wonderful website, Open Culture, that offers 400 free online courses from top universities like Harvard, Yale and M.I.T.  I'm so excited about the possibilities that I've decided this deserves its own blog post. Since the website gets 1.2 million visitors per month, I may be the last to discover it, but maybe not.

In addition to the college courses, they have many other free items: audiobooks, movies, books, textbooks, science videos, and language lessons.  There is even a free iPhone App! The classes are delivered via YouTube, iTunes Audios and Videos, websites, downloads, and MP3.

The course list reminds me of one of my old college catalogs, with choices like: Archeology, Architecture, Art History, Biology, Computer Science, Economics, Engineering, History, Literature, Math, Philosophy, Physics, Political Science, and Psychology.  And there are many classes to choose from under each of these headings. 

They have links to free online classes in forty different languages: all of the usual plus more exotic languages like Catalan, Danish, Esperanto, Finnish, Gaelic, Greek, Hindi, Lithuanian, Maori, Urdu, Swahili, and Ukrainian.

There are also links to 300 free eBooks, mostly classics, from authors like Charles Darwin, Walt Whitman, Paulo Coelho, and even the Kama Sutra.  There are hundreds of free audiobooks, both fiction and non-fiction.  Textbooks include many topics from high school to college level.  I took a peek at Art History, Botany, Mathematics, and Physics.

I didn't get to go to college until I was almost forty.  I majored in Latin American Studies but since I never worked in the field, I guess you could say that I studied to retire in Mexico.  I'm sure it will come in handy when I take my citizenship test in a couple of years.  But the most important thing I learned in college was the love of learning.  I couldn't wait for each new semester to start and I never found a topic that I couldn't have happily majored in - well, except maybe math.  I could have happily been a perpetual student, except for the cost of tuition and the need to earn some money.  I'm excited to find out all of this is available to me, without charge, right here in my home in Mexico. 


  1. Your goals are wonderful Kathy. I am enjoying your site. Here in Sun City Texas, we have endless possibilities, from travel, interest groups, arts, you name it. One cannot get bored here. We also have what is called Senior University, a series of intellectual lectures and classes. We also have Southwest University here in Georgetown that was founded in 1846. Many in our community of amost 12000 persons attend classes there as well. So as long as one is at least 55( and there are many) , there is an interest to persue.

  2. It sounds like you are living in a great place! I think most of those who complain of boredom just don't make any effort to find something they want to do. It is so much easier to turn on the TV. I'm glad you are enjoying my blog - I'm having fun writing it.