Massive Open Online Courses (MOOCS) For Retirees Overseas

Living And Learning Overseas

Jan. 20, 2015, Panama City, Panama: Living or retired anywhere in the world, one way to continue your education is through free massive open online courses (MOOCS).

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Henry Ford said that "anyone who stops learning is old, whether at 20 or 80. Anyone who keeps learning stays young."

I think moving abroad amounts to one of life's great learning experiences. Live in a different culture for a while, you'll start to think like the locals do, at least a little bit. Before a trip to Turkey years ago, I asked an expert on Turkey how I could prepare. "Take your head off," he said, "and screw it back on the other way around."

Besides learning by moving, we learn on the job, by raising children, by reading and listening to others, and so on. But in recent years we've also been able to take classes online, free, at the world's best universities. I'm talking about MOOCs, or massive open online courses.

If you're interested in learning (and in staying young, according to Henry Ford), I encourage you to look at MOOCs. You can take a free course in just about anything you can think of, from computer programming to cosmology, calculus, or history. If you have Internet, you can take these courses from wherever you happen to be living.

Two online sites provide most of the MOOCS: Coursera and edX. You can get a complete rundown on the MOOCverse hereCoursera, for examples, offers free courses from Stanford, University of Virginia, Yale, University of Tokyo, and many more.

I got started taking courses when a friend recommended one. He wanted me to accompany him in a Robert Shiller course at Yale on markets and money. I knew Shiller and was curious at what he had to say on the subject. I enjoyed the online course along with the email discussions with my friend.

I was hooked.

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Porte De Clignancourt A Shopping Neighborhood North Of Paris

Emergency Pit Stop At the Porte De Clignancourt

Jan. 19, 2015, Paris, France: The Porte de Clignancourt has been called a “no-go zone” northeast of Paris, but it’s the welcoming shopping neighborhood it’s always been.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

My two children and I had been driving in France in the region northeast of Paris all morning. Clignancourt wasn't our destination, but, as we approached the Porte de Clignancourt exit on the ring road, I urged my daughter, who was driving, to take it.

"I'm in desperate need of a ladies' room," I explained.

"Me, too!" she replied enthusiastically as she began pulling over to leave the highway.

Porte de Clignancourt, where we landed unexpectedly that day about six weeks ago, is a busy, crowded neighborhood historically famous for itsmarché aux puces, the biggest antiques market in the world. More recently, this area at the end of Paris Metro line 4 has become known for other reasons. 

That day not long ago when Kaitlin, Jackson, and I decided to drop in, we weren't thinking about the neighborhood's reputation and we were in no mood for shopping. We had a simple, basic agenda.

Driving along the narrow rues with cars parked on both sides and people coming and going everywhere, we couldn't identify a likely place to make our pit stop. Finally, we came to an open spot alongside the sidewalk and pulled in.

Kaitlin turned off the engine, and the three of us looked up and down the street. Jackson, 14, stepped out onto the sidewalk and called up to the young man standing on the steps in front of his shop.

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The World’s Top Retirement Havens For 2015

Big Year Ahead

Jan. 18, 2015, Panama City, Panama: These destinations are among the world’s top retire-overseas choices for 2015.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

We want to do everything we can to help make 2015 your year, the year you get up and get going to make your dreams of a new life in a new land come true. And we realize that we'd better get moving, because, as I write, we're already midway through January.

A big part of our role in this conversation, as we see it, is to provide options. Around the first of this New Year, I suggested a top 10 list for where to retire in 2015 (which you can read here if you haven't already).

The 10 destinations that made that short list are a great place to start, but they're not the only places in the world that might make sense for you. Maybe your ideal Shangri-la overseas isn't among the world's top 10, as we recognize them right now.

That's one question we put to ourselves when we sat down to prepare the 2015 editorial calendar for our Overseas Retirement Letter: Where else, beyond that top 10 list, offers opportunity and lifestyle upside for the would-be retiree overseas this year?

Our answer to that question became our Overseas Retirement Letteragenda for this New Year. That is, here's our ORL line-up for 2015. Subscribers can look forward to detailed and comprehensive reports on what retirement would be like in the following destinations:

George Town, Malaysia:

"Malaysia has a strong retirement-investment program, is English-speaking, and offers luxury living on a low to medium budget," explained Asia Correspondent Wendy Justice when making her case for why this city should be featured on this year's ORL calendar. Wendy's case was so persuasive that we decided to start the year here. That is,Overseas Retirement Letter subscribers can read Wendy's complete report on retirement in George Town in this month's issue, in their email inboxes the 15th of this month (last Thursday).

George Town is a busy, thriving city with a large expat community that has managed to retain its colonial charm (it's a UNESCO World Heritage Site). George Town is affordable, has a tropical climate, excellent health care, and an intriguing culture. Last featured in ORL in 2009, Wendy's feature piece this month brings you up-to-date on the many advantages and benefits from this top option for city living in Asia.

Barbados:

This Caribbean pick is from Correspondent Rob Carry, who writes: "There is no bad place to be in the West Indies, but Barbados offers the most for retirees. First up is the laid-back, fun-loving Bajan way of life. It's great to watch and a joy to slip into. Barbados also offers a gorgeous beach around every bend of every bay, exquisite seafood, and a climate to die for. Plus it's all underpinned by well-developed infrastructure, a solid democracy, and an English-speaking population. Although it's beloved by millionaires and celebrities, Barbados can be surprisingly low cost with the right insight (rents are especially low), and the excellent health care is available at a fraction of the cost of U.S. health care."

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Belize Is A Top Choice For Agricultural Investment

Expanding Agri-Opportunity In This Embarrassingly Blessed Market

Jan. 16, 2015, Belize City, Belize: Belize is one of the best places in the world to invest in agriculture, including forestry, cash crops, fish farming, livestock, and more.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

Belize is a green and fertile place. Most everything grows here. This is a big deal, both in a current global context and also in the context of regional geography.

Central America and the Caribbean are running short of locally produced food. One reason is regional climate change. For the past couple of years, Central America and the Caribbean have been suffering through drought cycles that have caused severe crop losses. Meantime, more and more land in this part of the world is being given over to the production of cash crops. Countries can't feed themselves on coffee, sugar, and bananas, and it's all being grown for export outside the region anyway. 

At the same time, the Central American diet is evolving. Increasingly, people in this part of the world are interested in expanding beyond their traditional beans and rice staples to eat a more diverse "Western" diet that includes quality meats, more dairy, and a range of vegetables. 

Bottom line, throughout Central America, populations are growing and diet interests are broadening while available farmland is shrinking. Meantime, the only island in the Caribbean that is self-sufficient for the production of food is Jamaica. Otherwise, these little countries have little arable land. CARICOM estimates that the Caribbean as a region imports US$4 billion of food annually. 

All these factors are creating increasingly dramatic market pressures... that in turn are creating opportunities in Belize.

Belize is the only net exporter of food in CARICOM and, unless current policies elsewhere in the region change, may soon be the only net exporter in Central America. It is not an overstatement to say that the countries of the Caribbean are looking to Belize, their nearest neighbor and their duty-free trading partner, to feed them. 

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Couple Visit Ambergris Caye, Belize, And Decide To Retire Full-Time

At Home On Ambergris Caye—The Friendliest Community In The Caribbean

Jan. 15, 2015, Ambergris Caye, Belize: The friendly, welcoming expat community is perhaps the biggest the greatest appeal of Ambergris Caye, Belize.

Dear Live and Invest Overseas Reader,

The friendliest spot in Belize? If you ask me, that's Ambergris Caye, the little island just offshore from where we're sitting right now in Belize City.

Ambergris Caye is about 26 miles long and about 1 mile wide at its widest point. You get there from the mainland by puddle jumper (that is, little airplane) or water taxi. 

The heart of Ambergris Caye is San Pedro. This is where the expat community is based. It's a quirky, comfortable little beachside town with open-air bars and restaurants, art galleries, wine shops, bakeries... a lot of infrastructure that has developed over the past 10 years or so, specifically as a result of the big North American presence. More on this in a minute.

Really, San Pedro is three long blocks: Front Street (along the beach), Middle Street (between the other two), and Back Street (along the lagoon). Simple and easy, like everything on this fun little Caribbean outpost that was ranked the number-one island in the world by TripAdvisor for both 2013 and 2014. 

Ambergris Caye appeals to the retiree who wants the Caribbean and who appreciates that this classically Caribbean spot is also affordable. But maybe the biggest appeal of this little island is the community that has taken hold here. About 15,000 people live on Ambergris full-time, including about 3,000 expats. 

Among those 3,000 are Caroline and Ed, a couple of retirees who, in 2011, purchased a condo, pre-construction, in San Pedro at Grand Bayman Gardens. In 2013, when their condo was finished, the couple moved from their home in Michigan to live on Ambergris full-time. I assumed, when I met Caroline and she explained where she'd come from in the States, that she and Ed had made the move because of the weather. I figured they'd come to Ambergris to escape the cold back in Michigan. But that wasn't the case. 

Read more...

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Kathleen Peddicord

Kathleen Peddicord is the founder of the Live and Invest Overseas publishing group. With more than 25 years experience covering this beat, Kathleen reports daily on current opportunities for living, retiring, and investing overseas in her free e-letter.

Her book, How To Retire Overseas—Everything You Need To Know To Live Well Abroad For Less, was recently released by Penguin Books.

Read more here.

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