For a few years I wasn't involved with much in the way of academic pursuits but I did travel a lot, which was very educational, because I always tried to learn at least a dozen or so phrases or sentences in the native language and something of the history, people and culture of each place.
Right now I'm seriously studying a foreign language (Dutch), and plan to continue for the next year or so. After that, I'm planning to study Italian. I post to a literature forum and several different pop-culture critique sites.
I've become a lot more politically aware in the past decade or so and make it a point to read a variety of sources, both print and online, and read the blogs of a number of different politicos whose opinions I value, even if their views aren't always the same as mine. I've been watching slightly more in-depth news programs like Nightline
and Meet The Press
in the past few years.
PBS has some rockin' documentaries also--everything from bioethics to an overview of the Roman Empire to a history of Islam.
I think the problem is that too many people have become used to being spoon-fed information instead of being self-directed, and way too many people think if it's not on the internet, it's not worth knowing. Newsflash: unless you're taking college courses, you don't have a teacher anymore to give you reading assignments. You actually have to seek out learning opportunities yourself. And loads of information is still only available in actual books
, which can be found in public buildings called libraries
Honestly, if it weren't for the Harry Potter
books, I would be seriously frightened that the next generation couldn't read at all.