OXFORD, England — Dressed in shorts with tights and sneakers, her brown hair pulled back, Charlotte Lynch looked like any other 25-year-old graduate student when she stepped to the podium in front of the eight-piece string orchestra. Read more

Teenagers of KOTH GAUN, Nepal

KOTH GAUN, Nepal — It is not the easiest of villages to find: Up a narrow dirt road full of hairpin turns, which turns into an even narrower walking path, there are severe drop-offs on one side, with sweeping views of the Katmandu Valley and hilly farmland on the other. Another steep rocky dirt path to the right of the water pump finally leads to this tiny hamlet of Koth Gaun.

Though there is electricity, the toilets are outside and the furniture in the homes consists of straw mats and bamboo stools; goats, chickens and a few cats share the living space. These are not auspicious living conditions for scholars, but this is the place Jeny Shrestha and Jayanta Tamang call home. Read more

students1a

LONDON — Walking around her design studio in London’s elegant Chelsea neighborhood, Jennifer Manners pulled out a box stocked full of all different-colored yarns, from deep blues to warm grays and spirited reds. “It’s like a doctor’s kit bag,” she said jokingly, opening up one of the trays filled with a palette of green to point out a few specific yarns. “Greens can be tricky. You would be surprised how many times we debate over which two of these colors is better.”

Ms. Manners, who moved into her studio a few months ago, uses the space for client meetings and as a place to display her custom carpets, which she designs and then has handmade in India and Nepal. She started her company, which bears her name, only a few years ago, and already has an upscale client base spread across London as well as a boutique hotel in Hampshire that will be using her carpets throughout the property. Read more

inle-lake

NYAUNG SHWE, MYANMAR — Across the marshes and open waters of Inle Lake, in Myanmar’s Shan State, motorboats and traditional canoes carry monks to temples and villagers to market, while fishermen with spherical wooden nets pull fish from the murky waters. Lately, another sight has also appeared — boatloads of tourists, cameras readied for the perfect shot of a rapidly disappearing traditional way of life.

Tourism in Myanmar, formerly Burma, is readying for takeoff, with new hotels, airports and restaurants under construction all over the country. Yet development in places like Inle Lake risks being held back by a major constraint: Decades of isolation and repression under the former military junta have left a shortfall in higher education and vocational training in essential skills, not least a working knowledge of foreign languages. Read more

megatredn

BELGRADE, Serbia — Around Belgrade, they are jokingly referred to as Megatrendusas — a take on the Serbian word “namigusa,” meaning flirty and a dig at the alleged frivolity of some of the more fashion-conscious female students attending the private Megatrend University, which will celebrate its 25th anniversary next year.

Controversies have swirled for years around Megatrend, which offers degrees in everything from media to economics and has campuses across Serbia.

When Col. Muammar el-Qaddafi, the late Libyan leader, was granted an honorary doctorate in 2007, Srbijanka Turajlic — the then deputy minister for higher education — was quoted as saying, “This is not something this university should be proud of.” Read more