Curiosity motivates us to learn, encouragement inspires us to thrive. If I were independently wealthy I would take classes all the time. But - and here's the caveat - it's got to be fun. More so than the all-season gray skies in Belgium, I left Brussels because I was fed up with the dusty post secondary academic system that seeped all the way into creative fields like my design studies. I felt inhibited and put down, instead of motivated and inspired. That's how I landed on the shores of this country where I found a much more open learning environment (I'll leave the financial picture out of the conversation because that's a whole other discussion).
I find that in general college education here encourages inquisitiveness, individualism, creative thinking and doing, critical-analytical thinking, and is practically oriented. Many institutions have beautiful facilities with new buildings, great lab and studio spaces, well designed sports and communal facilities, all of which foster a positive learning environment. I have experienced encouraging, nurturing, personal relationships with professors who work with, not above, the students - a totally different atmosphere than I knew from Europe where I encountered condescending professors on pedestals assured of their superiority.
A Parisian friend said to me a while ago that France's dusty, staid, academic environment discourages exploring and voicing novel theories and inhibits innovation in research. The best learning environments foster an inquisitiveness of seeing the world through children's eyes, full of wonderment and curiosity and of "what if?". I love learning.