Friday, December 19, 2003

Be A Hobostudent
by Skald

The internet has opened up tremendous opportunities for hobopoets who wish to go to school. No longer is it necessary to be bound by the limitations of a traditional campus. No longer is it necessary to live in a dorm, pay outrageous student fees, and be bound by a rigid class schedule.

The world of distance learning opens up new possibilities. A hobostudent can now study at their own pace, on their own schedule, while living wherever in the world they want to live. Also, the modern hobostudent can continue a nomadic life while pursuing a wide range of degrees. There are distance learning programs in many fields and at all levels (Bachelors, Masters, and Phd.).

I am currently enrolled in just such a Masters program, through Shenandoah University's TESOL program. I applied to this program while living in my van, unemployed. I was accepted and began the first semester while still living in my van. I used the local library for free internet access.... to research my assignments and to post my papers to the University. The internet is one huge library, so researching papers is no problem at all.

One month into the semester, I moved to Bangkok Thailand without significantly disrupting my studies. I now use internet cafes to do my work. Classes are sent to me on DVD, which I watch on a portable DVD player... or at Thammasat University's library. I arranged an observation practicum at a local English language school.

I am amazingly free compared to previous stints as a traditional student. I watch classes whenever I want to.... am not bound to anyone else's schedule. I can also do my work according to the timing that works best for me. I prefer to work in short, concentrated bursts.... doing alot of work in a short time and then loafing in between. The flexibility of distance learning lets me do just that.

And I can stay on the move. I can take off to Malaysia, or the ocean, or the country, anytime I want without worrying about missing class. I either take the portable DVD player with me and continue working while traveling.... or I catch back up once I get back to Bangkok. Almost every sizable town in SE Asia has internet cafes, so I can write and post assignments from anywhere.

And the best thing of all is that I'm learning much more. I love the independent nature of this program and find that I do more research and more work than when I was just plugging along in an on-campus program. This really is a fantastic way to get a degree!

Matt Salleh is also pursuing a Masters degree via distance learning, while living and working in Malaysia.

In the near future I will compile a list of links to distance learning programs.... look to the sidebar for upcoming information.

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