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University of the Third Age (wikipedia.org)
119 points by wslh on Jan 27, 2019 | hide | past | favorite | 17 comments

My parents do the same too, at least they join a what you called "university of the third age". The costs for all of this is not at all high and perfectly affordable to mid-lowclass citizens. My parents seem pretty amazed by what they can learn, especially because for them it did not work as easily as for us, who had an easy access to schools and public instruction. They are now taking the chance to learn things they never had time to learn before and keep their brain elastic with new notions. I am very proud of this mindset and proud that instruction can be accessed with very few barriers (at least in Italy).

My mom is also part of another "club" of people who give their time for free. This is a sort of knowledge exchange. The entrance fee is ridiculous it is 1€ per year and everyone can arrange classes with topics that range from art to botanic or even sport. In the end it is only about one's mindset and one's curiosity! There is more to life after work than one thinks.

See also https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Open_University

They used to broadcast their material on weekend mornings on BBC2, a kind of educational Youtube avant la lettre in a more Reithian time when it was deemed a worthy use of one of the four available channels. I learned all sorts of random fragments that way as an interested kid.

>They used to broadcast their material on weekend mornings on BBC2

They also broadcast overnight, with the expectation that learners would record the material for later viewing. There was something beautifully surreal about people shambling home from the pub at midnight and turning on the TV to be lulled to sleep by a lecture on non-Euclidean geometry or medieval history.

I loved the programmes too - so many highlights. Primarily, people giving proper lectures. For a child, even if you don't properly understand, in the same way as you learn language you can start to learn really advanced topics.

And the fanfare: https://www.open.edu/openlearn/education/educational-technol...

This is great from mutliple points of view. Not only does it make easier for senior people feeling like part of the society (and forming new friendships and social relationships), but studying/learning has also been touted as one of the main methods of prevention various mental diseases and/or undesirable mental states.

I'm British, married to a Spaniard. The way my parents were able to keep mentally active after retirement - including being part of U3A - is in stark contrast to the way my parents-in-law have been casting around for things to do after retirement in Spain. My wife thinks that so much of society had been controlled by the Catholic church until Franco's death in 1975 that it's taking a while to catch up with more secular things like this. My mother-in-law would like to work with children, but the vast majority of social services involving children also involves the church, which she wants no part of. Of course they could start something like a local U3A branch themselves, but not everyone's that kind of person.

My in-laws are Chinese, and after they retired they (particularly my mother-in-law) began attending their local 老年大学 ("senior university"). It's a terrific idea--I know that some seniors audit classes at community colleges and universities in the US, but it's an idea I'd love to see spread more here.

Thanks for posting an upvoting this. I sent an enquiry to the local group when I read this, and they just called back. She’s signed up for a French Conversation course and is very excited about it.

Who's 'she'?

Opps, edit screwup. My mother.

Where I leave the local chess club is actually affiliated to U3A. Participation to both lectures and tournaments is tied to an U3A membership and the meetings are held in their classrooms, and it attracts both expert players and retired people looking for a new hobby.

Its kinda weird living in the US where people can't afford to go to university and/or get saddled with huge loans. I do believe free university is a great goal, but free university is mostly to help people start their career or gain life skills, not for retirees to do something interesting.

At least in the UK, the U3A isn't a university per se - it's an affiliation of voluntary organisations, run locally and funded by member subscriptions. Unlike a bunch of teenagers, retired people have a lifetime of knowledge and experience behind them; a large proportion of retirees are perfectly capable of teaching a class or leading a discussion group.

It's also worth pointing out that the US has many excellent community colleges, offering academic and vocational education at reasonable tuition fees. If you're a retiree and don't care about the signalling value of a credential, a community college is an excellent place to pursue your education.

Highly disagree; education for sake of education is highly desirable. Education for sake of getting a career leads you to the exact broken system that is in the US.

But however, there is evidence that activists can help dementia and Alzimers. https://alz.org/help-support/i-have-alz/live-well

My aunt (about 65) recently retired and she kept being active: she goes to yoga classes, hydrogymnastics, classes where they do memory exercises/games, and she helps my cousin with his car-rental business.

This is awesome, but part of it is enabled by her being relatively high class. These kinds of things should be sponsored by the government because they keep people healthy.

I remember reading somewhere that mortality risk increases considerably after retirement, plausibly because people become more sedentary.

PS I'm in Portugal if you're wondering. Here they call it Senior University - a bit better than Third Age if you ask me.

There's also a correlation/causality question -- perhaps mortality causes retirement -- people work until they can't work, and they can live bit longer because living is a bit easier than working.

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