E D U C A T I O N O N T H E R O A D
As someone passionate about learning and yet frustrated about the current educational system, I decided to leave Duke University in January and adventure myself on a different path: I am designing and testing testing on myself a system based on self-directed learning principles which connects online theoretical courses and practical travel experiences.
What led me to do so? I have always perceived the educational system as being too much about absorbing knowledge that is disconnected from one’s individual reality rather than creating it. But as Paulo Freire states, “Liberating education consists in acts of cognition, not transferals of information”. It’s about reinvention, not mechanical reproduction. Reproduction makes us fit for a society of no changes, for mechanical jobs we are expected to perform without questioning their purpose and ultimately the purpose of our lives.
Moreover, having spent two years traveling after the completion of high school, I realised how valuable the exposure to different context can have for the kind of understanding I want to gain of the world: one that consists of direct interaction with the reality around me rather than mere exposure to theoretical knowledge I am expected to accept as the ultimate interpretation of reality.
I am thus creating my own schedules, course syllabus and goals in a way that theoretical knowledge from online courses, books, mentors and teachers is connected to practical experiences I have while leading a nomadic life. For this to happen, I believe it is essential to try finding educational resources and opportunities where we usually don’t look for. And this is what this blog is about. I will share details on my journey, how I am planning it and where it is taking me both physically and intellectually. I will share which resources I am using and how I am using them to design my courses. I will reflect about education, travel, and all the little things that inspire me. I will share what works out, and what doesn’t. I will talk some answers I find, but above all about the questions that I ask. Topics will be varied, but above all they will be empirical. You can see me as a case study, an experiment – that is how I am currently seeing my own life.
This is an attempt to put an end to the tendency of studying as a means to an end, ultimately for a piece of paper that means we are fit for society, and instead embrace studying as life itself. Rather than seeing learning as a linear lather I need to climb where a super payed job lies at the top, I want it to be a holistic experience. I want to develop not only as a professional, but as a human being: growing and nourishing my social competences, my empathy, my ability to sustain myself and offer society my work and talents, my emotional maturity and ultimately my spirituality and understanding of life and its calling.
Don’t get me wrong, however – I do believe it is essential to learn with the past, with books, traditional lectures and theoretical knowledge. But only if simultaneously recreating the knowledge we are exposed to and connecting it to reality around us, using both the information from our contexts and the knowledge acquired from the past as references through which we build our own understanding of the world. Both need to be connected, so that education can be an act of empowerment and constant transformation the world around us.
And I am definitely not suggesting you should do the same. Don’t try this at home!!!! But just as the findings of any case study, I hope it does make you think of education in a slightly different way and perhaps proves itself useful for future investigations in educational topics. Or perhaps if you are also rethinking education in some way we could make this case study become a group study :) I will not be posting with consistency (as you can imagine my life is everything but consistent right now), but I am always updating my current whereabouts here or on Instagram and would love to meet fellow experimenters - so please reach out!!