One of the blessings of being retired is the time now available to you for educational pursuits of your own choosing. Most retirees no longer need to take courses to fulfill degree requirements; instead, they can take courses purely for enjoyment. If you're fortunate enough to live near an "OLLI," there is a whole world of educational opportunity available.
OLLI, or the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, is a program of the Bernard Osher Foundation, which provides post-secondary scholarship funding to colleges and universities. Currently, there are OLLIs operating on the campuses of 119 institutions of higher education around the country. You can find a list of these institutions here.
The programs and courses offered by each OLLI vary based on the volunteers who participate. This is because the basic structure of an OLLI is for volunteers to teach the classes and work at various functions for the institute, while seniors who attend classes pay a generally reasonable membership fee and "tuition" to take a few courses per semester.
If you're thinking that these courses are traditional or boring, you couldn't be more wrong. Often, OLLI courses are an eclectic mix of subject material -- everything from issues of the day, to classic movies, to architecture unique to the area. It all depends on what volunteer instructors think up, and on what OLLI members suggest.
Getting involved in an OLLI in your area offers other benefits as well. In addition to courses, many OLLIs host meetings, presentations, workshops, and cultural and social events. OLLIs also provide volunteer activities. The colleges and universities with OLLIs on their campuses often allow senior students to take advantage of other campus perks, such as using the library and dining halls. OLLIs are a great way to connect with other seniors in your community, especially if you are new to the area.
Looking for a way to stay involved, informed, and invigorating? Maybe OLLI is for you.