LEARNING LATER, LIVING GREATER:
The Secret for Making the Most of Your After-50 Years.
Lifelong Learning in Your Later Years…
A Health Club for Your Mind, Body, and Spirit!
Continuing from last week…
During one of our excursions, while we were sitting at a cafe in downtown Innsbruck, we heard people chanting and were very surprised to see a large human-rights demonstration coming down Maria Theresian Strasse, the main street of Innsbruck. They were Turkish patriots and sympathizers, carrying signs, banners and coffins protesting the death of one of their leaders.
Now, that street–Maria Theresian Strasse – is the very same street that I had seen in a film the day before as part of a lecture on the history of Austria. In that film, the street was again the scene of a large march, not of human rights activists, however, but of Nazis during World War II. What the film showed us was the occupation of Innsbruck by Hitler and his troops.
It was a sobering, eerie experience to sit there and watch this modern-day demonstration since in my mind’s eye I saw the Nazis instead. This was a real life history lesson for me, learning at its very best.
All of our lectures and field trips were designed as real life history lessons. For instance, in preparation for our upcoming trip to Italy and the South Tirol, our lecturer took us through several hundred years of the history of that region, focusing on the treaty after World War I in 1918 that took South Tirol away from Austria and gave it to Italy.
Since the professor blamed President Woodrow Wilson for Austria’s loss of the Tirol, things got a bit sticky between him and some of our group who also knew their history. But it certainly made for a fascinating morning, which flew by. It’s always interesting and very educational to learn about other points of view.
How different these classes were from those of my youth. I found myself thinking over and over how I wished school could have been this stimulating, this challenging, this entertaining. I loved sitting in the classroom at the University of Innsbruck soaking up all the professors had to impart to me.
Next Week…Off to Italy
According to Michel de Montaigne, the Renaissance Scholar, “Traveling through the world produces a marvelous clarity in the judgment of men. We are all of us confined and enclosed within ourselves, and see no farther than the end of our nose. This great world is a mirror where we must see ourselves in order to know ourselves. There are so many different tempers, so many different points of view, judgments, opinions, laws and customs to teach us to judge wisely on our own, and to teach our judgment to recognize its imperfection and natural weakness.” This fact was certainly brought home to me as I sat in that café in Innsbruck.
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Till Next Time…
Nancy Merz Nordstrom is Director of the Lifelong Learning Department at Computer School for Seniors (http://www.cs4seniors.com/)