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Adult Education and Socialising

There is every opportunity to combine adult education with expanding your social circle. Interacting with people in itself helps to keep the brain active, so if we can combine the two things, that's both enjoyable and good for us.

Doing any sort of class will provide social interaction, so learning something either academic or practical with a group of other people is beneficial. Read the two pages on academic and practical continuing education in this Guide for help on where to find classes in something that you are interested in. In particular, the University of the Third Age (U3A) is very good for providing social contact. Click on the link to find out all about them and to find your local group.

Guide to 'Adult Education'. Content Links

Essentially, the U3A is a voluntary organisation, run in local groups, that organises activities for local people. The activities are run by people who do it for pleasure, not money, and all the activities tend to be very informal and relaxed. The range of activities depends on what people volunteer to organise but, in the large groups, can extend from lunch out to Latin with anything and everything in between, both academic and practical. It is also cheap both to join and to participate in. The activities cost just what it costs for the teacher or leader to put on.

Learning to dance is very mentally stimulating and also, of course, very social. The over 50s learn all kinds of dancing, with dances such as ceroc being particularly popular. As well as being quite physical, learning all the moves and trying to put them together also exercises the brain, so it is, of course, a form of adult education. If you Google 'Dance classes in....(your location)' you'll find some of those that are happening. Also look in your local leisure centre or gym for details of local classes.

Learning a sport is covered in the page on Practical Education but one of the benefits of joining a sports club is that you will meet people and most sports clubs are very social organisations, too. If the club provides lessons you form a bond with fellow learners and the social element of the sport is re-enforced. Furthermore, joining a sports club will almost certainly bring you into contact with younger, as well as older, people. This is important because we need to mix with people of all ages in retirement. There is a tendency for us to mix solely with older people, which means that we miss out on all the benefits of knowing younger people.

 There is also a social element to the pub, of course. If you join a pub quiz team, you will want to expand your general knowledge in order to do well for the team. Therefore, you might read more about things that interest you and, indeed, about anything that mightThe Biggest Pub Quiz Book Ever! 2come up in a quiz, so you are undertaking an informal, unstructured form of adult education. If you go to there are numerous general knowledge books and 'Pub Quiz' books that give you ideas for questions but also have the answers, so you can learn from them.

Joining a book group is also a good way to improve your education by reading and learning about books as well as getting social interaction. Most book groups tend to have a very strong social element as well as the reading and discussion activities. To find a local book group, enquire in your local library.

Organisations such as the Women's Institute (WI) will also provide some informal continuing education whilst enabling you to make new friends. The WI will hold talks and lectures as well as running courses in crafts, cooking and so on. Click on the link to their website to find out how to join and where your local branch is.

Many things are more enjoyable if you can share them with others. Adult education is no exception and there are many opportunities to combine some continuing education with meeting people. Now read the rest of this Guide to get some ideas on how and where to get some adult education.

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This Guide to Adult Education is written by Retirement Specialist Dave Sinclair supported by members of the LaterLife team. As well as writing on retirement matters Dave is Training Director at LaterLife and responsible for the content and continuous improvement of LaterLife's Retirement Courses.
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