Carlos Arias embodies the spirit of lifelong learning

It would not be surprising to open the Merriam-Webster Dictionary one day and see a photo of Carlos Arias next to the entry for “enrichment.”

Carlos, an OASIS member for over 20 years, is perhaps the embodiment of lifelong learning. He and his wife Claire began taking classes with OASIS in San Diego, expanding their horizons in a wide variety of topics. “There are hundreds of classes offered every year,” Carlos says. “There’s something for everybody to enjoy.” 

And Carlos should know, having taken some 50 OASIS classes on art, history, theology and cinema, just in the last year. 

“The foreign film classes are wonderful,” he says, “there’s a great selection, and discussion before and after, with rich information about the film and its nuances.” Besides his native Spanish, Carlos speaks both French and German and says the foreign films also help keep those language skills sharp.

The 77 year-old who was born in Mexico City, permanently moved to San Diego with his wife in 1980, where they raised their three children.  But before settling in the United States, Carlos spent time touring Europe, visiting some 18 countries after his schooling. An architect by profession, Carlos was educated at the University in Mexico City as well as the Sorbonne in Paris, completed a fellowship at the Ministero degli Affari Esteri, Roma, Italia, a foreign ministry of the government of the Republic of Italy, and took post-graduate courses at the University of Arizona in Tucson.  His career spans positions held in Mexico, Europe and in the United States.

Now in addition to his passion for learning, Carlos serves as a volunteer with OASIS, part of the “Monday Crew” doing everything from registering other OASIS participants for classes, answering phones and handling administrative tasks -- keeping the San Diego OASIS center humming along. 

Recently Carlos added another experience to his long list of enriching activities – media spokesperson. Reaching out to the Latino community in San Diego, Carlos has become OASIS’ Spanish language media ambassador. He’s done on-air radio interviews with Univision, a Spanish language media network, and has recorded public service announcements (PSAs) about programs offered at San Diego OASIS which are being run on Univision. 

“I’ve very much enjoyed doing these interviews,” Carlos says, “letting the Latino and Spanish communities know about all of the great services we (OASIS) have.”