The Experimental University

One of the best things about Seattle is the ASUW Experimental College.

The EC is a collection of classes, offered very cheaply, and taught by professionals, usually, just for kicks. As a concrete example, when I was living in Seattle, I took two classes, one in creative writing, taught by a professional author, another in cartooning, taught by a professional cartoonist. Each class cost around twenty-five dollars (if I remember correctly) and was between six to twelve hours of instruction.

Just looking at the homepage now, it seems that they’re currently offering courses in meditation, voice acting, book-making, baking, pastry making, and languages, among others.

I bring this up now because I recommended the EC just this morning, to a friend who has recently moved back to Seattle, as a way of getting out and meeting people and doing things other than sitting at home watching TV. I also bring it up because, in talking to my friend this morning, I realized how much I miss being able to take those kinds of classes – classes that have absolutely no purpose other than to teach you something that you did not know.

It is no secret that I like learning new things. This should be evidenced by my absolute fascination with new technology and my ever-growing collection of hobbies. But, while I am presently learning a lot about painting, coding, writing, Japanese, and Spanish, I am, by and large, either teaching, or studying by myself. I am not taking any classes. And what I realized I missed, more than anything, was getting out to class, meeting people, talking to other people about what works and what doesn’t and what I learned that day.

Even during my trial at the Hell-hole known as the Tochigi Driving Center, I enjoyed meeting (and commiserating with) the other students.

So. I’m not sure how to remedy this. I suppose the first step is to go to the community centers in either the town I live in, or the town I work in, and find out what courses they offer. (I know they offer a lot because I teach English courses at these places and see a lot of teachers and students who are not myself or my students!) Ideally, I would like to find something that sounds interesting, but about which I currently know nothing, or as close to nothing as possible. Even better would be if I could find something that matched those criteria that my wife would be interested in studying with me. Best would, of course, be if I could find a great, interesting class that M and I could both fit into our schedules. And if it was really cheap.

Which means, I guess, that it is time to do research. Both to find out what is offered and to find out what my wife wants to learn about. And after, that, well, we’ll just have to see.


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Filed under Learning From the Master, Left From Seattle, True Thoughts on True Life

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