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If you fancy yourself the next Michael Kors (or someone less bland), try SUNY's Fashion Institute of Technology (217-7178, www.fitnyc.suny.edu), a top-drawer design school at bargain-basement prices. For New York residents taking evening/weekend classes, tuition is $125 per credit (1 1/2-3 credits); for full-time students, around $1500 a semester. Summer session begins June 5. --J. Yeh

film

At the New York Film Academy (674-4300), students learn every aspect of the director's craft--from light and sound to scriptwriting--by wearing every hat in a production team. You will write, you will edit, you will shoot, you will gaff. Classes begin the first Monday of every month and last for four, eight, or 12 weeks. Tuition runs from $3500 to $4000, plus an additional $1000 for equipment costs.


Or, if you lack the time or money to spend at NYFA, check out the Learning Annex, which always offers a wide variety of one- or two-day crash courses in film and video production. According to their Web site ( www.thelearningannex.com), the makers of The Blair Witch Project graduated from one of their workshops.


Film Video Arts's (673-9361) fall semester offers courses in digital and analog filmmaking and editing. The cost per course ranges from $50 to $575. Action! --David Crohn

finance

Pork bellies aren't merely the source of the yummiest food ever--bacon--they're a "commodity" traded on the "futures" market. If you don't know what that means, find out in the Learning Annex's (371-0280, www.thelearningannex.com) "Intro to Commodity Trading" (May 15, $39). Hear about the regular stock market on May 9 ($49).


Like Madame de Pompadour's coiffure or a Lhasa apso in a coal mine, money is high-maintenance stuff. Once you've got some, what do you do with it? You might invest $35-$65 in "The ABCs of Purchasing a Home," "Women and Money," or (woo-hoo) "Estate Planning" at the 92nd Street Y (996-1100, www.92ndsty.org). New classes start early June.


Defy Alan Greenspan and take part in Wall Street's irrational exuberance with the aid of the Seminar Center (655-0077, www.seminarcenter.com). Learn to "Select the Right Day-Trading Firm or Online Broker" (May 11, $35 for members, $53 for nonmembers). (Query: Is any day-trading firm "right"?) --J. Yeh

international study

College students can get credit for sailing around the world with Semester at Sea (1-800-854-0195 or www.semesteratsea.com). International fieldwork supplements a complete academic curriculum; this spring, the "shipboard classroom" pulls into ports at Havana, Cape Town, and Beijing. It isn't cheap ($13,650-$15,550 for tuition, berth, and board), but several kinds of financial aid are available.


Founded by a class of 1886 Princeton grad, Princeton-in-Asia (609-258-3657 or www.princeton.edu/pia) allows recent college graduates to spend up to two years teaching English in one of 10 Asian countries. Teachers receive housing and a local salary but must pay their own airfare. Applications for fall '01 available this August.


Professionals interested in international NGO work can apply for an M.S. in Management of International Public Service Organizations at New York University (998-7425 or den-nis.smith@nyu.edu). This unique program seeks to provide business skills tailored to the international NGO environment. The seven-month curriculum allows students to continue working part-time and offers internship opportunities. --Nell Freudenberger

language

Parlez-vous français? ¿Tu hablas español? If not, it's time to check out Accent on Language (355-5170). In existence since 1974, the institute offers all levels of individual and group instruction in French, German, Spanish, Italian, Portuguese, or Japanese. Classes meet twice weekly for three to five weeks. Price range: $299-$759.


Increase your children's language capacity and make them bilingual babies by enrolling them in the Language Workshop for Children (396-0830). The program, founded in 1973, prides itself on its extensive French and Spanish inclusion programs for children as young as six months old. There is a preschool, an after-school program, Saturday language courses, and a seasonal day camp. Enroll today for a well-rounded child.


Learn a nontraditional and exciting language by enrolling in the Greek Language Center (682-1470). The school, established in 1974, offers private or group classes in modern Greek. Courses are 10 weeks long and are held weekdays, evenings, and Saturdays. Price: $450. --Danielle Douglas

music

Learn to nurture the Pavarotti inside you and conquer stage fright with a one-evening singing workshop at the Seminar Center (655-0077). The class is taught by renowned jazz chanteuse Pucci Jhones, who has sung with the likes of Dizzy Gillespie. Classes are two and a half hours and cost $69.


Round out your musical education with lectures, concerts, and other special events at the 92nd Street Y (415-5580), which, in addition to its eight-week summer semesters in just about any and all musical instruments, hosts a variety of special events throughout the year. Cost: $360 for hour-long, one-on-one classes once a week.


At Gramercy Park School of Music (683-8937), students learn not just the right finger positions and how to distinguish an eighth note from a quarter note, but what it all means to an aspiring performer. All instruments, genres, and levels are taught. Prices range from $40 to $75 per session. --David Crohn

nature

Ah, spring. Time to enjoy hiking and local wildlife--and a bit of technical knowledge doesn't hurt. Carson Tang (718-965-3056), of the Appalachian Mountain Club, will conduct a workshop on "Hiking Essentials," Wednesday, April 19, 8 to 11 p.m., at Paragon Sporting Goods, 871 Broadway (near Union Square). Beginners and experienced hikers welcome. Cost is $15 (preregistration) and $20 at door.

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