Do I need University?

Okay, I agree. This title may be half of a truth because I actually already spent some time in university for a first degree. But, I am at this phase right now where I wondering about postgraduate studies. Where, what, why and more precisely, how much?!

In the meantime, until I finally settle on something or not, I really think there are lots of opportunities out there for people to learn and keep growing. And specially all for free or at a minimal cost.

So I am going to share with you a list of 3 tools that I have found quite useful to keep learning new things. Of course learning is good but not really useful if you cannot apply what you learn. I will also give you a list of opportunities that exist where you can use those freshly acquired skills.

Learn for free and acquire new skills:

1. Udemy

Always wanted to learn how to code, learn to design or Portuguese? Head to Udemy! A wide range of courses – free & paid, are available and you will definitely find something of your interest.

I have followed some free courses on Udemy but recently purchased my first course for 12 Euros and I am really satisfied with it. Instead of buying 2 days of lunch, I decided to invest them in this course and actually bring healthy homemade food to work.

2. Coursera

Coursera is similar to Udemy. The only difference is that Coursera has more courses sponsored by Universities. If you want to obtain a valid certification from the university, you will have to pay a small fee. But else, a lot of courses are also available for free.

3. Social Media

Twitter and LinkedIn are all great sources of information. I skip that friend’s feed on Facebook and  try to spend a minimum of 30 minutes per day to read about the latest trends in my field. Follow those influencers & gurus in your industry or field of interest, because they are most probably experts on the subject. What a better way to learn than from the source itself!

Now that we acquired those skills, it’s time to practice!

1. At work

No better place to start putting those killer skills to work! Try to implement what you learned whenever you can in your daily tasks. I bet the quality of your work and efficiency will just skyrocket!

If what you learned is not directly connected with your work, no worries. Here are other tips!

2. United Nations Volunteering Online

UNV online is a UN platform where you can volunteer to help organizations in the developing world. It is UNV ‘Online’ because it requires you to do online work.

For example you could help translating documents or design websites. So this is an opportunity to use those skills for a good cause.

3. NGO

Join a NGO and use what you just learned to make a difference. Many NGO’s look for field volunteers but also back office volunteers. Use those web design skills you just got to propose a new or revamped NGO’s website.

4. Clubs and Meetups

If you’ve taken a public speaking course and you know that practice makes perfect, join a public speaking club. For example: Toastmasters. I have recently joined the local Toastmaster club and I happily recommend it to anyone willing to improve his public speaking.

Also, have a look at Meetup. Meetup allows people to group themselves under a common or shared hobby, passion or industry, amateurs and professionals. For example, if you’ve learned programming and want to meet more enthusiastic coders, Meetup is the place to checkout!

There are plenty of resources out there to keep that brain active. Having a PC and a decent internet connection, I cannot find any excuse not to acquire new skills. Even not owning a PC is not an excuse as most of those platforms mentioned above have a mobile application.

Of course this list is non-exhaustive and there are way more opportunities that I am not aware of. Do not hesitate to share them with us! I truly believe that sharing with others is among one of the best methods to keep learning for free !


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