The Munk School of Global Affairs invites you to free seminars, York University lets you earn a degree for free, Ryerson offers over-60s free four-year tuition and the U of T offers over 600 lectures in its School of Continuing Studies.
University of Toronto Munk Centre - for life learning University of Toronto Munk Centre - image courtesy of Google streetview

Seminars at the University of Toronto’s Munk Centre

Catch a noon-hour seminar at the Munk Centre. The Munk seminars bring life learning to life.

Seminars may be a presentation of a new book by a professor or simply a topic of significance to a particular faculty’s program. The Munk seminars bring in respected academics, civil servants, former politicians and others from around the world. You sign up on a list, book the topics that interest you and head off for the Munk Centre.

Some of the seminars take place around a boardroom-size table, others are in a large conference hall. All seminars are free. And they all invite dialogue.

As one of my friends says, “The Munk seminars unpack a world that doesn’t exist in news media. They confront us with problems, points of view and possible solutions; presented by someone who has earned the stripes he or she wears. We can question the presenter. We have the opportunity to learn, to change….or not. ”

York University - life learning

York University – image courtesy of Google streetview

How can you beat free tuition toward a degree at York University?

If you’re over 60, a Canadian citizen or permanent resident, you can earn a university degree at York and pay no tuition fee at all! You will need to pay the other costs associated with the courses you select – such as books etc. You get a shot at one undergraduate degree and one graduate degree at the domestic rate for non-professional undergraduate arts, science and other programs.

Dozens of courses at Ryerson!

Dozens of courses make Ryerson a natural for life learning

Dozens of courses make Ryerson a natural for life learning – image courtesy of Google streetview

I discovered a Ryerson University program I didn’t know about – it’s Continuing Education Programs for 50+.

You can learn to be a therapeutic “Caring Clown” who brings a lift to isolated seniors in long-term-care homes . Or you can sign up for about 55 other courses by my count. They range from point-and-shoot photography to “God, Genius and the Great Composers.” There’s a wealth of study groups and lecture courses in the Arts, Humanities, Sciences, and Technology and Contemporary Issues, along with social activities to keep you connected.

The University of Toronto’s commitment to life learning covers three campuses and online learning

The U of T’s School of Continuing Studies can help expand your horizons and help you achieve your full potential through lifelong learning. These are fee courses, but there are fee waiver opportunities.

You can enroll in business and professional studies, creative writing, language and translation, art and science and/or its English language program. You even can blend online and classroom learning in any of three campuses – the St. George campus in downtown Toronto, University of Toronto at Mississauga and University of Toronto at Scarborough.

As the School of Continuing Studies website says, learn what you want, when you want, where you want.

I’ve discovered how much there is to learn about life learning

We all get locked into relatively narrow patterns in our life, but there’s no reason to.
For example, I had never heard of the University of Toronto Innis College Later Life Learning Program. It runs three 10-week lecture series twice a year, in the winter and autumn, at the Town Hall at Innis College. Fifty bucks for ten lectures. That’s just $5 each, That’s way cheaper than going to the movies.

The Winter series runs from January 9 to March 20, 2017. Series A covers Films of Wonder, Series B looks at Canada at 150, Series C examines Special Places/Special Spaces and there’s a Discussion Group in Series D. Membership is free and the lectures are $50 per series.

learn4life life learning

Toronto District School Board Learn4Life

Imagine: 1700 Learn4Life classes run by the Toronto District School Board!

Nearly 30,000 adults in Toronto enrol in the Learn4Life classes to take up a hobby, learn a skill or just to meet people in their community.

There are fees for the classes; the TDSB website tells you what’s on, where and what the fees are.

With advance notice, the classes can accommodate people who use a wheelchair or who are accompanied by a support person. As well as the general interest courses, there are classes in English as a Second Language (ESL) and public and high school credit courses.

The TDSB welcomes students from all over the world and tailors some courses, such as ESL or learning to teach ESL, to their needs.

Search the Internet, visit your community’s institutions; life learning is all around you!

It may not be called “seniors learning.” Or “life learning.” But it’s out there. Just look at what the Toronto Public Library offers. You may find something that tickles your fancy at your neighborhood church, mosque, temple or synagogue. Or at your community centre. Can’t get out? don’t overlook TVO, PBS, the Documentary Channel or the History Channel on TV. Or programs such as “The Current Review” and “Ideas” on CBC radio.

I’m staying in touch with friends, staying mentally stimulated and enjoying getting out of the house. Who knew life learning could be so much fun? Come on, get out there and sign up for something. You’ll be glad you did!

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