Hopefully the title of this post won’t frighten you away, as I’m not going to talk about regular schools or universities. My dream and wish of finding inspiring institutions and places, made me stumble upon a great variety of different kind of “schools” (When thinking about school, I like what’s said on the website of The Idler Academy: “It’s intriguing to note that in Ancient Greece, the word for ‘leisure’, scholee, later turned into our word for ‘school’.)
But this article is not (just) about leisure. I’m now going to share with you my favorite schools, academies and universities, that are – as far as I know – representing a pleasing alternative to what one finds at “regular universities”.

Should I study something? What and where can I study, so that I don’t have to neglect some of my many interests? And about a degree I don’t care, anyway.
If that’s how you feel, one might like the danish concept of højskole. – Read here for further information.
A similar concept can also be found in Sweden and Finland, as the Orivesi College of Arts shows, for example. It is “an independent college focusing on education of music, creative writing, and visual arts, situated in the small town of Orivesi in Finland.
What I loved about my own højskole experience is, that it’s such a great environment for learning, connecting and simply being – without (exam)pressure, but great stimulation and motivation.

Then there’s other kind of free academies like the vienna poetry school. Founded as an independent artists’ project, “it concentrates on the teach- and learnability, the multimedia & the multilingal aspect of poetry, publishes books, cds & videos and organizes lectures, panels, performances, workshops & internet classes. Among the teachers were well-known people such as Allen Ginsberg, Nick Cave, Inger Christensen, H. C. Artmann, Anne Waldman, Waris Dirie and Henri Chopin. At vps you can attend singular classes, according to your interests.

Somewhat similar seems to be Københavns Kunstskole, Copenhagen art school, that describes itself as platform for education, artistic development, production, debate and networking. It focuses on art and creative writing and classes can be attended in 6 weeks courses.

There’s also universities, that seem to stand out. Naropa University in Boulder/Colorado, for example. It wants to be a place, where eastern and western philosophy can meet. One can study subjects like: music, environmental studies, peace studies, creative writing, interdisciplinary studies … Check out the website, to find out more about it.

Another college I would like to mention, is the College of the Atlantic. It is a college focusing on human ecology. There are no academic departments, but only three resource areas: Arts and Design, Environmental Sciences and Human Studies. All students are free to design a programm of study that allows them to explore their interests, pursue their passions and discover new ones, as it says on the website.

I’ve already mentioned The Idler Academy in London. Vienna’s i-akademie is of a similar kind.

If you’re still going to school, you might be excited, to know about the United World Colleges. There’s 13 UWCs all over the world, and they are “offering an educational experience based on shared learning, collaboration and understanding so that the students would act as champions of peace.” It’s unique and it’s gorgeous! Learn more about UWC here.

… to be continued! ;)

And one should keep in mind, that every job and journey, every experience one makes can be considered education, because we learn and go forward with everything that we do and experience. So keep your heart and eyes open for the abundance and variety in the world!

PS: This post contains of course a very subjective collection and cannot be representative for all the colleges and academies in the world. I am trying to show, that there is so much more, than one might think. I’ll be happy for recommendations, additions and comments!

PPS: And of course – over and over again I can refer to Sir Ken Robinson!

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