There is a wide range of learning opportunities that are specifically geared for people of retirement age and older. One well-established organization that provides continuing education for adult learners is Elderhostel, now called Exploritas.
I learned about Elderhostel a number of years ago, when I accompanied my mother on various learning trips. Together, we traveled to the Southwest to learn about ancient Native American cultures. On another occasion, we went further west to learn about the San Juan Islands off of Washington State.
My parents have gone on trips to the Galapagos Islands, to the Grand Canyon, and to Spain with Elderhostel.
Exploritas’ marketing promises: “Educational Programs For Whatever You Love to Do.” Based on my experience and their website, they do their best to deliver on this promise.
The following information is drawn from their website:
“Discover nearly 8,000 educational tours in all 50 states and more than 90 countries with Exploritas, the not-for-profit leader in educational travel since 1975. Alongside local and renowned experts, experience in-depth and behind-the-scenes learning opportunities, from cultural tours and study cruises to walking, biking and more.
From single-day Day of Discovery programs near you to overnight programs in cities and locations around the United States and the world, you’re sure to find an Exploritas adventure that captures your interest, dreams and desires.
Explore Your Mind and the World. There are no grades or tests on Exploritas programs. All that’s needed is an inquiring mind, an adventurous spirit, and the belief that learning and discovery are lifelong pursuits.”
Their list of programs provides an excellent summary of the types of lifelong learning opportunities that are available through a number of organizations. Again, quoting from the Exploritas website:
Adventures Afloat: These exciting, educational voyages traverse some of the world’s most spectacular waterways, offering you a convenient and fun way to learn and explore.
Independent City Discoveries: Independent City Discoveries combine structured learning with independent discovery on your own. Each program includes hotel accommodation and some meals, lectures by local experts, expert-led field trips and detailed outlines for four self-guided excursions.
Individual Skills: Learn the secrets of Southwestern cooking, take up the watercolorist’s brush, practice the ancient discipline of yoga, or engage in the hands-on study of traditional pottery making. Experienced craftspeople and experts guide these forays into the creative experience.
Intergenerational: Discover and explore together with your grandchild through interactive learning experiences and field trips. Both you and your grandchild will share the joy of learning with other grandparents and their grandchildren, bridging generations and opening doors to discovery and friendship.
Outdoor Adventures: From hiking in the Grand Canyon to exploring central France by barge and bicycle to sharpening your golf or tennis skills, Outdoor Adventure programs exercise the body and the mind.
Road Scholar: Road Scholar features small groups and experiential learning at its best. These programs are very active and focus on hands-on learning presentations in the field, centrally located accommodations, and independent time to explore topics on your own.
Service Learning: From tutoring schoolchildren or helping restore a crucial forest habitat for wildlife, to assisting with artifact restoration and museum curatorial work, Service Learning programs are an opportunity to make a difference in the world.
Women Only Programs: Join other adventurous women on learning expeditions around the world. Gain insights and new wisdom as you discuss the female perspective in topics ranging from fine art to natural medicine.”
Truly, something for anyone who has the time and financial ability to take advantage of these offerings.
Please understand that I am not attempting to market Exploritas. I simply think that their range of offerings is a good example of the variety of lifelong learning possibilities available for mature adults.
Next week, we’ll continue our look at lifelong learning opportunities for the elderly with venues that are inexpensive and occasionally even free.
May your learning be sweet.