Long story short, I could never attend higher education, and now, later in life, I would love to be with people 100x smarter than me that take a scientific approach to discussions. Professors seem like good candidates. My girlfriend recently finished her PhD(albeit in a different field than I'm interested in) and interacting with her professors and advisors felt like such a stimulating environment. I would absolutely love to find myself in such an environment.

My question is: I want to contact professors, perhaps attend lectures, and I'd REALLY like to eventually try and develop some sort of mentorship, but I'm completely outside academia. Is this absolutely impossible? Studying is a bit complicated, as my level of the local language is A2, and I need B2 to enrol in a bachelor's, so I'd only be able to attend lectures from Master's level and upwards, which are taught in English.

The topics are psychology/political science/philosophy/neuroscience.

Any tips?

  • 1
    Some universities allow you to enroll in guest programmes / open lectures, etc. - this is a good opportunity.
    – OBu
    Jun 6 '18 at 19:32
  • Those are four very different fields ... I imagine the approach could be different for each one. Jun 7 '18 at 16:07
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    I'd guess that without a few years of studying it would be hard to get anything out of mentoring. They teach the basics at universities for a reason.
    – Dirk
    Jul 7 '18 at 6:35

You could try to select a precise topic, collect related scientific articles on Google Scholar from universities located in the country or city you live in, see if their authors have social media accounts (Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn), add, follow or connect (to) them, read the articles and start asking questions to the authors.


This might mean different things at different schools. The department might not have a lot of time to give you but there's nothing wrong with making an appointment to ask some questions. You can pitch yourself as a potential student but you can also position yourself as wanting to volunteer some time...or both! The more you're around -- and don't be a pest! -- the more you're on their mind. If you can sit in on a few classes or open lectures (or even give one yourself!) you can get a taste of what it might be like to be a student. I can't see any school having a problem with that, but if the one you have in mind does consider looking around for alternatives.

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