Five Great Ways to Learn If You’re Not Quite Ready for University


The value of a University education is clear, but in recent years young people are taking a more value focused approach to higher education, taking time out to learn about the world independently before tackling college more mature, worldly and ready to learn. Travel is of course one of the key ways in which young people take time out, discover themselves and in doing so learn about the world and broaden both their intellectual and cultural horizons.

The youth travel experts at Contiki know young people; what makes them tick, who they look up to, how they interact with their friends and how they want to see the world. The past two months Contiki has been busily surveying its audiences globally to further this millennial understanding, to refine its product and to ensure it speaks credibly to young people. All of this with a view to creating the No Regrets List, an epic list of millennial and Gen Z travel preferences about life, travel, education, friendships and much more.


One of the key takeout’s of the research is that a fifth of young people would prefer to travel than go straight to university or college, and this figure rises to almost a third when taking into account only Generation Z; post-millennials. To help out those who are hungry for life and knowledge but not quite ready for further education, Contiki has some great suggestions of ways to broaden the mind on your own time and in your own way. Hint – one of them might just be by travelling…

  1. Independent Learning – learning was a key topic of Contiki’s research, with some really interesting results being thrown up around just how important broadening and enriching one’s mind is to young people. One interesting new way of doing this is through services like Coursera, which offer anyone with a computer the ability to take college level courses online. With courses available from top universities in topics like Psychology, Digital Marketing, Medical Neuroscience and Classical Music, this way form of independent learning can be a great way to get a flavour for a college course without actually committing to it, or just learning something new for the heck of it.
  1. Cooking Classes – traditionally something associated with bored housewives or even those looking to meet their spouse, cooking classes need not be just for older people. An appreciation for food and the importance of a varied, balanced diet is something that millennials value more than their parents did at a similar age. Learning to cook, whether it’s a gastro basics class or deep dive into a specific national cuisine, can be a hugely rewarding experience and something you’ll maintain for years to come. With almost 60% of young people indicating food and culinary experiences are the most important type of experience to them, it’s a learning trend that resonates strongly with young people today.
  1. Reading – reading, whether fiction, non-fiction, textbook or newspaper is the oldest and most traditional way of learning, and its making a comeback. In recent years the swathes of E-Readers available to us have prompted resurgence in reading’s cool kudos, with many many more of us reading books in the tens than in the noughties. This is mirrored in the results of Contiki’s survey, in which almost 50% of young people claimed that ‘actually reading books’ is a defining feature of their generation.
  1. Learning to Code – the late Steve Jobs was once quoted as saying ‘“I think everybody in this country should learn how to program a computer because it teaches you how to think”. While some may not agree with Jobs’ opinion here, the prevalence of computer devices and their software in our society is undeniable, and a basic understanding of how lines of code create the digital worlds we inhabit every day is becoming a fundamental digital understanding. Bolster your CV now and learn what looks set to be a valuable life skill easily now with one of the thousands upon thousands of basic to complex coding classes available online.
  1. Travelling – you knew it was coming! Travel is obviously a fantastic way to lean, without actually going to school or college. Travelling instils an understanding of other cultures and people, grasp of foreign languages, appreciation for foreign food and last but not least a better understanding of oneself. The life experience and growth that can be gained from travelling when young is invaluable, so there’s really no surprise that a fifth of young people surveyed by Contiki would prefer to travel before embarking on their higher level/college education.

The No Regrets List – the top 20 travel experiences to do in 2017, as voted by 18-35 year olds.

For more information on Contiki’s trips throughout Europe, USA, Canada, Asia and Latin America check out

Life’s an adventure – make it count with absolutely #NOREGRETS.

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