• • • finance

Most of us tend to believe that estate planning and administration are things one does later in life, preferably sitting before a dazzling ocean view. Mais non! You should learn about these matters before your beach dream turns out to be a figment of your imagination, and the only breeze reaching your face is the one provided by an electric fan resting next to your ingenious swimming pool: the tub. So gain an understanding of the fundamentals of estate planning on April 23, at the 92nd Street Y (; 996-1100). Issues discussed include wills and estate and gift taxes . . .

. . . But if you already possess the wealth and have lived in your dream house for years, then it's time for you to learn about current money-management options, retirement planning, and IRA distributions, and other complicated money matters—at the 92nd Street Y on May 7. —Camila Gamboa

• • • international study

If the soundtrack to Buena Vista Social Club is still in your CD changer, you might consider taking a legal trip to Cuba through Cross-Cultural Solutions (800-380-4777; In addition to offering study tours, this New Rochelle-based organization sends hundreds of volunteers to do humanitarian work around the world.

Want to relive your study-abroad year from college, or take one for the first time? New York University's School of Continuing and Professional Studies (998-7080; has programs tailored specifically for noncredit adult students. One of this year's summer intensives is a week-long tour of the United Nations in Geneva (998-7133), allowing you to confer with foreign diplomats and try your hand at solving world hunger.

On the pricey end, the Smithsonian Associates (877-EDU-TOUR; bases tours on subjects ranging from architecture and literature to cooking and hiking. If you have $14,000 to spare, you can spend 16 days retracing the sites of WW II battles in a privately chartered jet. For the rest of us, there are 359 other tours and 249 destinations to choose from. —Wendy Lee

• • • language

Whether Japanese is essential for your business career, or you're ready to immerse yourself in Far Eastern culture, the Japan Society Toyota Language Center (715-1256; specializes in providing both aspects of the language at any level. A training program offers native speakers skills to teach English speakers.

If you want to open doors to another culture, start by learning the language. NYU offers courses in over 25 of them, including Turkish, Persian, and Portuguese. For further information, call 998-7030.

You've got the plane tickets. You've mastered your sangria recipe. You're all set to hit the beaches of Majorca. Only one thing's missing: basic knowledge of Spanish. Never fear. With language immersion, you'll be able to master a working knowledge of the language in plenty of time for your next trip. The Learning Annex ( offers "Speak Spanish Fluently" on May 7. Cost: $54 + $10 materials fee. —Ariston-Lizabeth Anderson

• • • music

Legendary house music producer and DJ Carlos Sanchez shares his expertise at Pace University (346-1244) this spring. His new course, "World Music: The Underground," begins April 19 and offers a retrospective of dance music, in all its forms. One good reason to enroll includes a class trip to a nightclub so you can shake your groove thang. Cost: $175

Kai Fikentscher works the music and your mind at his "House to Learn" series. Author of You Better Work: Underground Dance Music in New York City and a Ramapo College professor, he blends the idea of DJ'ing with lecturing. Don't miss this open-ended monthly discussion of topics and issues in house-music history. The class meets monthly at Idlewild (477-5005) from 8 until 9 p.m. Cost: Free!

If your tastes are international, perhaps "Classical North Indian Music," at Lotus Music and Dance (627-1076;, will please your palate. Taught by songstress Daisy Paradis, a world-renowned Ali Akbar Khan graduate, the class covers essentials like "raga" (music), tala (rhythm), and tan (Indian improvisation). Not only is this rare gem cheap, but it's led by a 34-year vocal veteran. Cost: $11 per class; $10 registration fee —Celeste Doaks

• • • nature

New York is known for its harsh living accommodations, and finding the right spot to call home is almost as hard as finding your soul mate. It's no piece of cake for gorillas, mandrills, and okapis, either. Thankfully, the Wildlife Conservation Society (718-220-5100; has a team of skilled designers, artists, craftsmen, horticulturists, and zoologists, who create the perfect living environment for these demanding clients. At the Bronx Zoo's "Conservation by Design" event on June 9, you'll be able to learn how they do it! Cost: $40 members, $50 nonmembers.

Flowers make all the difference. It can be a gray room with plaster chipping off its corners, and mold slowly invading the walls, but if a red orchid is beautifully placed in the middle of the floor, there is a chance no one will notice the decrepit space it inhabits. Everyone will spot the dancing flower—so learn how to fill your space with joy. The Brooklyn Botanical Garden ( offers an April 21 class ("Vases 101") on flower arrangement and will teach you how to condition cut flowers and make your designs last longer.

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