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10 Back to School Beauty Essentials for Any Age

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For most of us, the theme of ‘back to school’ is no longer personally relevant but that doesn’t mean we can’t still participate in the fun and excitement of hitting the restart button on a new (school) year. With summer over, it’s time to get back into the swing of things– whether that’s heading back to class, getting your kids ready for their first day or simply ending the past three months of BBQs, warm weather, spur of the moment travel and (relatively) carefree living.

Here at Glo, we love the memories that ‘back to school’ brings. Everything is brand new and the opportunity to start fresh on the right foot is completely possible. The same should go for your skincare and makeup routine, which is why we’ve put together a list of our top 10 essentials for going back to real life and leaving summer behind.

Pressed Base

Pressed Base

It’s easy to create customized looks with a product as versatile as Pressed Base. Our award-winning foundation is buildable, whether you’re looking for a sheer or full coverage finish. And because of its antioxidant-rich mineral formula, Pressed Base is perfect for any age and skin type.

Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+

Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+

There are not enough ways to accurately explain how much we love Moisturizing Tint SPF 30+. Not only does it protect your skin, it also evens tone and lightly color corrects, making it perfect for anyone who wants a quick fix or the perfect primer under foundation.

Suede Matte Crayon

Demure Suede Matte Crayon

Looking for a ‘set it and forget it’ lip product? Suede Matte Crayon is for you. Available in 6 shades ranging from neutrals to bold, this product truly stays put. We’ve even heard stories of it staying unsmudged through a cheeseburger lunch!

Balancing Mist

Balancing Mist

Let’s start by saying, toners are severely under used. They’re the forgotten child of the skincare regimen but deserve a place in your daily routine. Balancing Mist is the perfect place to start because it works for a variety of skin types. Specifically created for combination skin, this mist helps condition and hydrate and preps skin to better receive serums and actives.

Contour Kit

Contour and Highlight Kit

Contouring made for anyone! With two contour shades, a matte highlight and shimmer highlight, you can expertly sculpt and define your look with ease. Still not convinced? We provide an instructional diagram to help you understand where to place product.

Essential Cleansing Oil

Essential Cleansing Oil

Erase the day before you cleanse with Essential Cleansing Oil. This should be a staple in your routine, especially if you’re looking to double cleanse. It easily dissolves even the toughest products (we’re looking at you Water Resistant Mascara) and gives your cleanser a cleaner surface to work on.

Precise Micro Browliner

Precise Micro Brow Liner

One of the fastest ways to pull your look together is by defining your brows. With a built in spoolie and super thin, wax-based pencil, Precise Micro Browliner helps elevate your look in just a couple minutes.

Eye Restore

 

Eye Restore

This will be especially helpful if you happen to be pulling any all nighters or just generally not getting enough sleep. With active ingredients to help hydrate and address puffiness and dark circles, you’ll look fresh and revived no matter when you went to bed.

Liquid Bright Concealer

 

Liquid Bright Concealer

Want to effortlessly brighten your complexion? Reach for Liquid Bright Concealer. These miracle pens conceal blemishes, reverse under eye circles and highlight high points of the face all in one.

Renew Serum

Renew Serum

Perfect for addressing multiple skin concerns, from teen acne to visible signs of aging. With three standout ingredients: Salicylic Acid, Glycolic Acid and Retinol, your skin will be smooth, clear and refined in no time.

The post 10 Back to School Beauty Essentials for Any Age appeared first on Glo Skin Beauty Blog.

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Buzzmove uses new video survey tool to help move office

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Last week the Buzzmove offices were all a-buzz (sorry) with moving fever.
GobuzzsurveyOutgrowing our old offices

Due to the rapid growth of the company, we’d outgrown our existing offices and had to move to larger space in the same building.

GobuzzsurveyUgh – what a mess!

FA Removals did the job. And they did a great job too – moving all our desks, chairs, servers and computers up two floors in just 3 hours.

Office removalsFA Removals did a great job
GobuzzsurveyHere’s one of our lovely new offices
Using a remote video survey was so convenient

To make the task simpler, we got our lead surveyor Harry to conduct a remote video survey with FA Removals Managing Director Paul Fajemisin ahead of the move, so he could see exactly what we were moving. We used our new specialist video survey tool called Gobuzzsurvey.

GobuzzsurveyOur lead surveyor Harry – still working even during our office move!

Paul had just finished carrying out one face-to-face survey and was prepared to go straight on to another one when we called him. This just goes to show how convenient video surveys can be to a removal business.

Paul connected to our video survey software using his laptop from his car, while Harry used his smartphone to show Paul around the office remotely.

How Gobuzzsurvey can make you more money and cut your operating costs

Gobuzzsurvey is Buzzmove’s new remote video survey software developed specifically for the removals and relocation industry.

Gobuzzsurvey lets removal companies schedule and carry out more surveys per day. This means surveyors can work more efficiently, freeing them up to reserve face-to-face surveys for the most appropriate moving jobs.

Video surveys take an average of 20 minutes, which also massively reduces the hassle for your potential customers, while also saving you the fuel costs and travel time to reach survey locations.

>>> Read more about how Gobuzzsurvey can help make your removal business more profitable.  

Read more: buzzmove.com

Golden Bridge – Ba Na Hills in Danang, Vietnam

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Opening in the early June, Cau Vang (means: Golden Bridge) is becoming one of the best tourist attractions of Ba Na Hills in Da Nang and this is the latest in a line of weird and wonderful structures around the world. It is located in the Thien Thai garden with views across the huge green mountainscape.

Why is Golden Bridge the must-visit site in Danang City?

You are easy to realize the Golden Bridge, in the midst of the Truong Son forest, this bridge stands out in yellow. Noteworthy, the Golden Bridge is supported by the enormous gray hands, so it creates the unique beautiful scenery of Ba Na Hills. With 150 m in length, 8 spans and 1400 m above the sea level, the bridge is the best place for you to get the surprised pictures.

golden bridge ba na hills da nang cau vang (1)

Moreover, the Golden Bridge is designed by TA Landscape Architecture and constructed just under one year, that bring the new experiences for both overseas and domestic visitors. It is obvious that you will have the best feeling when standing here, escape the bustling and hustling of the dynamic city. During the walkway, you can see purple chrysanthemums are planted in order to make the highlight of the bridge.

How to reach Golden Bridge?

The bridge is one of the parts of Ba Na Hills resort – where is the mountaintop resort complex that looks like a medieval castle, but inside these stone walls are modern accommodations, world-class restaurants and a Fantasy Park full of exciting rides. This place was a favorite holiday location for the ruling French authorities in the early 20th century because of the peaceful and fresh atmosphere.

golden bridge ba na hills da nang cau vang (5)

You will reach here by cable car with 5.8 km in length – this is once the world’s longest and highest, it will take you about 20 minutes to get there from the foot to the Garden at the top of the mountain. On the way, you will be admired with the specular landscape of the mountainous area; but sometimes, you will limit visibility because of the thick mist.

golden bridge ba na hills da nang cau vang (6)

On the top of the mountain, there are some must-see sites here, including Le Jardin d’ Amour, French village, Fantasy park, Wax museum, especially Golden Bridge – the latest construction in Ba Na Hills complex.

Tip to visit Golden Bridge, Da Nang

Because the Golden bridge located at the height of 1400 meter above the sea level and the complex is so large, thus you should pay attention to some tips below:

Light package: you will walk a lot during your journey and play some games here.
Comfortable clothes: if you visit Ba Na Hills in the summer, it will be cool in the top, so you should bring a light coat. But in the winter, you should bring a warm coat.
Shoes: Choose a pair of comfortable shoes for you during the trip, because you will walk a lot.
Ticket: Ba Na Hills is crowded so you should book the ticket in advance via the website, hotel or a travel agency.
What time visit Golden Bridge: you should go to Ba Na Hills before 8.00 a.m because you cannot wait for the cable car and you will have enough time to visit all parts in Ba Na Hills, including Golden Bridge.

golden bridge ba na hills da nang cau vang (2)

What is the best time to visit the Golden Bridge, Ba Na Hills?

Golden Bridge, Ba Na Hills is one of the famous destinations in Vietnam, so it is so crowded with both domestic and overseas visitors. It is the reason why you do not visit here in summer or Vietnamese national holidays.

golden bridge ba na hills da nang cau vang (4)

From October to November is the rainy season in the Central, so you should bring the light raincoat when visiting there.

The post Golden Bridge – Ba Na Hills in Danang, Vietnam appeared first on Travel Sense Asia.

Read more: travelsense.asia

Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

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felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 1 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

 

After her wildly successful US solo exhibition debut last year at The Standard’s High Line Hotel in New York, Lucy Sparrow is back with ‘Sparrow Mart’, a 2,800 square-foot pop up shop at the Standard’s Downtown Hotel in Los Angeles.

While last year’s ‘Fauxdega‘ featured 9,000 items (which quickly sold out), this year’s version features an ambitious 31,000 handmade items by Sparrow and her team of 5 assistants, who spent the last 12 months creating them in her studio outside London.

In an interview with CBS, Sparrow adds:

“Felt is a very childlike fabric, and it often evokes nostalgia. So I think it often harkens back to being at school and some of your first craft projects. I just take it to the extreme. I’ve just got a dream that’s just a little more unusual than everyone else’s, I just want to make real life out of felt.”

 

Sparrow Mart runs from August 1st – August 31st and every item is available for sale. For more from Sparrow, check her out at the links below.

 

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

 


LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 5 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 14 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 7 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 18 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 19 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 16 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 15 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 6 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 2 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 3 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 4 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 8 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 9 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 10 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 11 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 12 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 17 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 

felt supermarket la standard hotel lucy sparrow 13 Sparrow Mart, an All Felt Supermarket With 31,000 Handmade Items

LUCY SPARROW
Website | Facebook | Twitter | Instagram

 


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Thinking About Replacing Your Car With A Ride-Hailing Service? It’ll Cost You Twice As Much

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A handful of analysts have suggested ride-hailing services – such as Uber and Lyft – will usher in the era of “peak car” and a decline in private car ownership. However, a new study from AAA suggests this is a horrible idea.

According to the AAA Foundation for Traffic Safety, consumers thinking about ditching their car for ride-hailing services should think again. The group says the average person in urban areas drives around 10,841 miles (17,446 km) every year. That’s a significant amount of mileage and using ride-hailing services as the primary method of transport would cost urbanities around $20,118 (£15,589 / €17,382) annually.

That’s more than the cost of some new cars and AAA says the figure is “more than twice the cost of owning a personal vehicle, even when factoring in the expense of fuel, insurance, parking and the vehicle itself.”

AAA ran the math for a number of different cities and found that using ride-hailing services, as well as the occasional rental car, would cost well over $20,000 (£15,498 / €17,280) in a handful of major cities. The costs vary by city and Dallas was the most affordable with an annual price tag of $16,944 (£13,130 / €14,640). Boston, on the other hand, was the most expensive as it would cost $27,545 (£21,343 / €23,798) every year.

While owning a gas-guzzling truck isn’t easy on the wallet, it’s still significantly cheaper than relying on ride-hailing services. According to AAA, driving a pickup 10,841 miles (17,446 km) every year would only cost $7,321 (£5,672 / €6,325).

Of course, city dwellers also have to deal with parking and that can cost up to $8,088 (£6,266 / €6,988) a year in New York. However, the average across all the cities was $2,728 (£2,113 / €2,357).

The end result of all this was best summed up by AAA’s managing director of automotive engineering and repair who said “For those who travel a very limited number of miles annually, or have mobility issues that prevent them from driving a personal vehicle, ride-hailing can be a viable and important option.” However, “for everyone else: the car is still king.”

Read more: carscoops.com

Educating the Masses: The Rise of Online Education in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia

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Online education is a divisive topic. Often criticized as an inferior form of education providing an isolated learning experience at best, or as a harbinger of global, Western-dominated educational homogenization at worst, online education is simultaneously considered a promising means to increase access to education in developing countries.

Current trends in Sub-Saharan Africa and South Asia illustrate that online education is gaining traction in these regions despite persistent technological barriers—not because it is a better form of learning, but because it is perceived as a rational, cost-effective means to widen educational opportunities. Escalating population growth and exploding demand for education are causing countries like India to increasingly embrace online education. While still embryonic, digital forms of education will likely eventually be pursued in the same vein as traditional distance learning models and the privatization of education, both of which have helped increase access to education despite concerns over educational quality and social equality.

Introduction  

Education systems in sub-Saharan Africa and other developing regions are in crisis. To mention just one of many problems, UNESCO estimates that one in five children worldwide did not participate in any form of education in 2016. Almost all of these 263 million children—6 to 17 years of age—lived in developing countries. Yet, this crisis could get even worse. Africa’s youth population is expected to double to 830 million people by 2050, but few resources are dedicated to educating these young people.

Against this backdrop, online education is getting increased attention as a possible solution to widen access to education at an affordable cost. Bill Gates, co-founder of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation and principal founder of Microsoft, for instance, believes that online learning will revolutionize education in the developing world and help close global literacy gaps.

In fact, distance education already plays a crucial role in providing access to education for millions of people in the developing world. Open distance education universities in Bangladesh, India, Iran, Pakistan, South Africa and Turkey alone currently enroll more than 7 million students combined. Many of these mass providers are increasingly going digital, while more recent forms of e-learning like massive open online courses (MOOCs) are also proliferating.

In many developing regions, participation in online education is still constrained by technological infrastructure barriers, commonly called the digital divide. However, the rapid spread of smartphones has turned digital learning into a much more viable proposition in recent years. Mobile broadband technology is quickly penetrating even remote rural regions, providing Internet access to the people that live there.

Cash-strapped governments in low-income countries are thus increasingly looking to online education as an option to bridge capacity gaps. Compared to building ever-more brick-and-mortar institutions, digital learning promises a cheaper and more instantaneous remedy. Whether or not online education can live up to this promise remains to be seen. However, the growth potential for online education in developing countries is certainly enormous. Some observers consider Africa “the most dynamic e-learning market on the planet.”

This article describes trends in distance and online higher education in sub-Saharan Africa (SSA) and the Indian subcontinent in the context of global growth in digital learning. To grasp the sheer magnitude of the learning crisis in these regions and to understand why online education could be so revolutionary, we will first outline mounting demographic pressures and capacity problems, as well as upsurges in privatization and open and distance learning (ODL). We will then describe the current spread of digital education and technological advances in SSA and South Asia, and discuss online education as a means of expanding capacity.

The takeaway is that distance education and digital learning will continue to expand quickly in SSA and the Indian subcontinent. Digital education models are unlikely to substitute for traditional research universities or form the bedrock of world class education systems. However, online education will play an important supplementary role similar to the role distance learning universities have already played for decades.

The objective of mass-scale distance education in countries like India is not the cultivation of academic elites, but the cost-effective delivery of education to deprived populations. Online education, similarly, could provide learning opportunities for tens of millions of people and throw disadvantaged countries a lifeline in their quest to broaden access to education. In light of the exploding demand, every ounce of capacity counts.

The Spread of Digital Education

Digital education is flourishing. The number of MOOCs, for example, has skyrocketed since they first appeared in the 2000s. MOOCs are now mainstream, and the number of available courses was reported in 2016 to be growing daily.

The New York Times declared 2012 “the year of the MOOC”—an acronym that was, at the time, still an unfamiliar term. Since then, the number of MOOCs has increased by more than 683 percent: According to Class Central, a MOOC listings provider, there are now 9,400 courses on offer worldwide compared with only 1,200 MOOCs in 2013, while the total number of learners enrolled in MOOCs has shot up to 81 million from 10 million. Most MOOCs are offered directly by private providers like Coursera or edX, but the number of universities offering MOOCs has also increased from 200 to 800.

As the e-learning market evolves, it is also becoming increasingly complex and diversified. Current offerings are trending toward audited short-term certificates (so-called micro-credentials or nano degrees), as well as “stackable” degree programs in which learners earn an academic credential by completing a self-paced sequence of MOOC certificates that can later be applied toward a degree.

However, more traditionally structured online programs are booming as well. In the United States, it is now commonplace for established universities to offer online degree programs. Fully 6.36 million higher education students (31.6 percent of all college students) took at least one online course in 2016. About half of these students studied exclusively online. In addition, U.S. companies are increasingly using e-learning to train their employees.

Most market researchers expect the global e-learning market to grow at brisk annual rates anywhere between 7 percent and 10 percent over the coming years. In a recent report, Research and Markets projects that the global market volume will increase from USD$159.5 billion in 2017 to USD$286.6 billion in 2023, while other researchers predict that the e-learning market will reach USD$331 billion by 2025.

A Glossary of Terms

Over the past years, many different terms have been coined for learning and teaching that takes place primarily over the Internet.  Students access course materials or class lectures on mobile phones, tablets, and—less often in developing regions—on laptops or computers. While students in some cases access digital learning materials on pre-loaded laptops or mobile devices while simultaneously attending classes at a school, most of this type of education is delivered remotely over the Internet. Terms used largely synonymously include digital learning, digital education, online education, and electronic learning or e-learning. “M-learning” specifically refers to education delivered via mobile phones.

Blended learning usually refers to remote learning programs that are supplemented with traditional in-person lectures, classes, or study groups, as well as access to physical educational resources such as libraries. Many experts consider the blended or hybrid approach the most effective model of remote learning.

Distance learning or distance education generically refers to any kind of remote learning, but it also has a specific meaning and history that started long before the Internet revolution. These terms often refer to structured programs offered remotely to students. They started originally as correspondence courses; many are now delivered completely or primarily online.

The terms “Open” and “open-access” providers refer to higher education institutions that accept all or most students who have earned a high school credential or its equivalent. Not all open institutions offer distance learning; and not all distance learning programs are open.

MOOCs (massive open online courses) are called “massive” and “open” because they typically don’t have formal admission requirements and can be attended by thousands of students at the same time. While many of these courses were initially free of charge, they are now becoming increasingly monetized. Initially offered by private U.S. providers like Coursera or edX , they are now frequently licensed to higher education institutions, some of which have also begun to develop their own MOOCs.

Digital learning is still predominantly used in industrialized countries. Most students enrolled in MOOCs, for instance, are postgraduate students in high-income countries seeking to upgrade their skills. Overseas students enrolled in online courses offered by U.S. universities made up only 0.7 percent in 2016.

That said, developing countries are catching up fast—despite the fact that courses offered by U.S. providers like Coursera or Udacity are getting increasingly expensive.[1] India quickly became Coursera’s second largest user market (after the U.S.). The number of Indians enrolled in Coursera MOOCs jumped by 70 percent between 2015 and 2016 alone. By 2017, Coursera’s Indian user base had reached 2 million, making up about 7.7 percent of all enrollments worldwide.

The number of students from developing nations enrolling in online degree programs in industrialized countries is also growing. Between 2011 and 2015/16, the number of South African students enrolled in U.K. online degree programs, for instance, increased by 135 percent. Despite rising costs for online programs, earning a degree online is still cheaper than studying overseas. The number of Nigerian students in online degree programs based in the United Kingdom is sizable: 5,252 in 2015/16.

These developments suggest a growing demand for products like online degrees and MOOCs. In all probability, local institutions in developing countries will, over time, increasingly compete with Western providers over absorbing this demand. The e-learning landscape in developing countries is set to evolve dramatically as local private providers, public universities, and governments all push into this dynamic market segment.

Digital learning in regions like SSA and South Asia is embryonic and bound to accelerate. At a time when the industrialized world has entered what scholars call a post-massification era[2], the growth potential for all forms of education is still gargantuan in these regions. While Europe and North America achieved an average tertiary gross enrollment ratio (GER) of 75 percent in 2015, tertiary GERs in South Asia and SSA stood at only 25 percent and 8 percent.

What makes online education increasingly attractive in SSA and South Asia is the fact that many countries there cannot follow traditional approaches to massification. These regions face nearly insurmountable challenges to achieving participation rates anywhere near those found in Europe and North America.

“Youth Bombs”: The Challenge of Rapid Population Growth  

Crucially, population growth in these regions will generate a crushing demand for education. As industrialized countries in Europe and East Asia are aging, the population of Africa alone is expected to double by 2050. By 2030, cities like Lagos and Kinshasa are projected to have more than 20 million inhabitants, most of them youngsters. Fully 40 percent of the population on the African continent is now under the age of 15, and the youth population (15- to 24-year-olds) is expected to increase even further—by 42 percent by 2030.

Demographic projections at the country level are stunning: Nigeria’s population will double to about 400 million by 2050, turning the West African country into the third largest nation on earth. In neighboring Niger the youth population is projected to increase by 92 percent between 2015 and 2030 alone. The country was said to gain about 800,000 people annually until 2016. If its birth rates don’t decline, Niger’s population could possibly mushroom to 960 million people by 2100 (compared with 22.3 million today).

India, meanwhile, will within the next seven years surpass China as the largest nation on earth and grow to about 1.5 billion people by 2030 (up from 1.34 billion in 2017). No other country today has a total youth population greater than India’s: 600 million people in the country are under the age of 25.

The situation in other South Asian countries is similar. Bangladesh, Nepal, and Pakistan are currently experiencing a “youth bulge.” Pakistan now has the highest percentage of young people ever recorded in its history—64 percent of the population is below the age of 30. By 2050, Karachi is projected to become the third largest city in the world with 31.7 million people.

In the long term, these demographic trends could be beneficial. Economists often consider youth bulging a positive phenomenon, a demographic dividend rewarding countries with a young labor force and opportunities for development. But the demographic dividend is not simply a demographic gift. Turning youth bulging into economic growth requires that countries educate their growing youth cohorts and provide them with employment opportunities.

Countries in SSA and South Asia are struggling to do just that. The youth unemployment rate in SSA stands at 14.2 percent, while Nepali youth deem prospects for employment so dire that not less than 28 percent of the country’s labor force is employed abroad. In India, hundreds of thousands of labor migrants leave the country each year.

Growing Middle Classes Will Increase Pressures on Education Systems

The demand for education won’t be curbed by economic growth. Perhaps more so than sheer population growth per se, it will be increased prosperity and the concomitant purchasing power of middle classes that will drive the demand for education. India’s economy is growing fast, and the size of its middle class is expanding at high velocity. The number of people in middle income brackets is expected to increase almost 10-fold within two decades, from 50 million people in 2010 to 475 million people in 2030. Some analysts predict that the country will become the world’s second largest economy by 2050. In Bangladesh, meanwhile, an estimated 30 million to 40 million people will join the ranks of the middle class by 2025.

These are statistics to watch, as they could be transformative. In China, rising incomes fueled a drastic increase in education participation. Over the last two decades, the number of Chinese university graduates grew 10-fold, while China’s education system became the world’s largest with 43.9 million tertiary students in 2016. If South Asia follows China’s example, demand for education in the region will shatter ceilings.

 

In Africa, wealth accumulation happens on a smaller scale, but the middle class is growing nonetheless, notably in the continent’s fast-sprawling cities. One recent study by the consulting firm EIU Canback, a sister company of the Economist magazine, estimated that Africa’s middle class had grown modestly from 4.4 percent in 2004 to 6.2 percent in 2014.[3] At any rate, the sheer number of upcoming youngsters in Africa will likely weigh down the hopes they have of attaining their educational aspirations—and those of their countries’ leaders for them.

How Many More? The Limits of Building Brick-and-Mortar Institutions in India

Youth bulging makes it increasingly difficult for SSA and South Asian countries to address capacity shortages by building or expanding universities. Over the past two decades, India has already created capacity for a gargantuan 30 million students. The tertiary student population increased sixfold, from 5.7 million in 1996 to an estimated 36.6 million in 2017/18. The number of universities, likewise, grew from 190 in 1990/91 to 903 in 2017/18, while the number of colleges literally exploded: 18,000 new colleges were established between 2008 and 2016 alone—that’s more than six new colleges per day.

Despite this massive expansion, supply in India keeps trailing demand. The country is expected to soon harbor the largest tertiary-age population in the world while still having a higher education GER of only 25.8 percent (2017/18). The government seeks to increase the GER to 30 percent by 2020—an objective that would require adding more than 4 million additional university seats within the next two years.[4]  Recent studies estimate that an additional 700 universities and 35,000 colleges will need to be built to keep up with demographic trends.

Even if India’s mushrooming private sector could absorb much of this exploding demand, India is ill-equipped to handle an expansion of this scale: Education spending currently stands at less than 3 percent of GDP nationwide (below levels of 2012/13), and generating additional funds will not be easy. Insufficient capacity is just one of the Indian education system’s many problems, which range from teacher shortages to quality problems and abysmal unemployment rates among university graduates.

To sum up, the Indian system is severely overburdened. As the British Council has noted, “… the change coming to South Asia cannot be embraced by expanding an existing system, it demands a new approach to the academic model, to quality, and to funding. Failure to find new solutions and to meet the demographic demand for high quality accessible education will see the region locked into a spiral of low value skills and even higher graduate unemployment.”

Academic Exclusion in Sub-Saharan Africa

The situation in SSA is even worse. While enrollment rates have gone up over the decades, a majority of Africans remain excluded from higher education. According to a recent World Bank study, the “increasing demand and limited supply of tertiary education in the SSA region has led to tertiary education being available only to a subset of the youth population. … To date, tertiary education in SSA region has remained elitist, benefiting students mostly from the most affluent, well-connected families… [T]ertiary education in the region is not equitably producing the human capital that the countries direly need.”

This crisis comes amid the construction of ever more higher education institutions (HEIs). Between 1990 and 2014, the number of public universities in SSA grew from 100 to 500, while the number of private HEIs skyrocketed from 30 to more than 1,000. In Kenya, a country that had only four universities in 1989, the number of universities recently more than doubled within just six years, from 33 in 2012 to 73 today.

That said, Nigeria could possibly top that expansion soon. The country’s National University Commission is currently processing accreditation applications from 292 new institutions, a development that could nearly triple the number of Nigerian HEIs. In another example, Ethiopia reportedly had only two public universities and six colleges that in total had capacity to enroll 10,000 students in 1991. By 2014/15, the country had 36 public HEIs, while the number of private institutions jumped from zero to more than 100.

These new universities have greatly expanded access, but they are—all together—but a drop in the bucket, given the mounting demand. In 2014, there was just one HEI for about 652,000 people in SSA. Compare that with the U.S., which has one accredited degree-granting institution per 67,435 people.[5] In nations like Nigeria, Africa’s most populous country, this ratio is as high as one university for 1.2 million people, more than half of whom are below the age of 30.

Present capacity shortages in Nigeria are so severe that less than 40 percent of university applicants gain admission, effectively locking out one million aspiring students each year. In light of such need, Kevin Andrews, vice chancellor of the pan-African UNICAF University, noted in a recent interview with Times Higher Education that “Africa would need to build 10 universities a week, [with] each [one enrolling] 10,000 students every week for the next 12 years” in order to keep up with demand.

Even if that were possible, constructing ever-more universities is of limited use if governments cannot adequately fund them. Many education systems in the region are already chronically underfunded—a situation that will only worsen as systems expand and become increasingly expensive to manage. More than half of Kenya’s public universities, for instance, are presently insolvent as the government is cutting funding on various fronts. Funding problems are omnipresent in SSA, despite the fact that governments spend relatively large parts of their budget on education by international comparison. The average public debt as a share of GDP in SSA has increased by about 15 percent between 2011 and 2017, according to the IMF.

 The Solution of Privatization: A Panacea for Expanding Access? 

Given such resource shortages, it is unsurprising that a rapid privatization is underway in many education systems. Privatization affords governments an opportunity to appease popular demand for education while externalizing the costs. While unfettered privatization is not a reality across all developing countries, tertiary private sector enrollments in Africa, for instance, have grown twice as fast as public enrollments between 2008 and 2013. One in four African students is expected to study at a private school by 2021 (at all levels of education, compared with 21 percent today ).

This trend is well described in UNESCO’s current Global Education Monitoring Report, which notes that “the share of private institutions in tertiary enrolment is growing rapidly in low- and middle-income countries. In Nepal, it grew by 38 percentage points between 2000 and 2015, followed closely by Burundi and Rwanda, where private institutions now account for two in three students. In Congo, one in three students attended a private university or college in 2015, up from close to zero in 2000.”

Developments in India are similar: The number of private universities has in recent years grown at an estimated rate of 40 percent annually. In 2014, the private sector accounted for 64 percent of institutions and 59 percent of all tertiary enrollments.

Private education can play a crucial role in increasing access. Low-cost private elementary schools, for example, help educate millions of children in Africa and South Asia, often in the most marginalized neighborhoods. In Lagos alone, more than 18,000 low-cost private schools have sprung up since 2010, drastically boosting capacity in a city that previously had only 1,600 public schools. Private HEIs, meanwhile, often have lower admission standards than those of competitive state universities, enabling students locked out of the public system to attend university.

Beyond absorbing demand, well-managed private institutions may provide better education more geared toward employment than that of cash-strapped public institutions. Private schools also tend to be more responsive to industry needs and can act as agents of change. As African academics Wondwosen Tamrat and Damtew Teferra have emphasized, “[private] universities infuse competitiveness due to their dynamic and entrepreneurial features. In 1990, South Africa had only five MBA programs offered by public providers serving around 1,000 students, but because of competition from private institutions, the number of providers grew to 40 and MBA enrollment to 15,000 within a decade.”

At the same time, many private HEIs in developing regions are small niche providers that can neither compete with big public institutions nor absorb large numbers of students. Privatization has also led to a mushrooming of low-quality for-profit institutions and unlicensed providers that deliver substandard education and award credentials of little value.

In some countries, this situation has spiraled so far out of control that governments now increasingly police the spread of such fly-by-night providers. In India, for instance, thousands of these small, private “mushroom schools” that had sprung up all over the country have been shut down since 2009.

Quality audits and school closures are becoming increasingly common in Africa as well. In one recent example, in 2017 Zimbabwe shut down 280 private colleges. However, many African governments struggle to keep up with the wave of private “teaching shops” flooding their countries. Rigorous quality control mechanisms will be needed to keep this ballooning private sector under control and protect students from substandard, predatory providers.

There are also valid concerns that private education worsens the exclusion of poorer social segments and widens disparities in access to education. A recent World Bank study, for instance, has shown that private-led growth in several African countries disproportionally benefited wealthier households and reinforced social inequalities.

Despite such problems, private education will inevitably continue to thrive, since governments don’t have the capacity to cope with exploding demand. And privatization can certainly help mitigate capacity gaps and advance quality in education systems, as long as it is implemented under adequate oversight.

The British Council recommends that governments in South Asia cultivate “… a cohort of credible private-sector universities renowned for excellence, with targeted funding and scholarships to facilitate access[.This] has proven a successful strategy elsewhere in Asia and in South Asia [and] … will need to take place in tandem with efforts to improve regulation and quality assurance in the private sector.”

Open Distance Learning: An Effective Way to Absorb Demand 

Next to privatization, distance education has been pursued as a means of expanding access for quite some time. In fact, distance education existed long before the Internet revolution. Since the 19th century, universities in the U.S. and Britain offered distance education in the form of correspondence courses.

In tandem with technological progress, distance learning began to incorporate radio broadcasts, TV programs, and audio- and videocassettes. In 1953, the University of Houston in Texas was the first university to televise course materials. Britain’s Open University then took this concept to larger audiences when in 1971 it started to broadcast teaching materials on the BBC. It is now the largest university in Western Europe with 173,927 students (2016/17), most of whom attend remotely.

India’s IGNOU: The Largest University in the World 

The model of the Open University has been emulated with great success in developing countries, giving rise to several mega universities. India was among the early adopters when in 1985 it established the Indira Gandhi National Open University (IGNOU). Dubbed “the People’s University,” IGNOU is designed to provide “higher education to a large cross section of people, in particular the disadvantaged segments of society.”

While IGNOU may not feature in global university rankings, it needs to be regarded as one of the world’s most important HEIs because of its sheer size. IGNOU’s student population today exceeds three million, having shot up from 4,528 in 1987, making it the largest university on the globe by most accounts, although the Open University of China may now be even larger.[6]

IGNOU inspired the creation of other open universities in many Indian states, and led to the establishment of a Distance Education Council (DEC) that it oversaw. The DEC provided quality assurance for distance education nationwide until that function was transferred to a newly established Distance Education Bureau in 2013.

Distance education has played an important role in absorbing demand in India and currently accounts for 11.45 percent of higher education enrollments. Many of India’s traditional universities now offer distance education programs. The total number of institutions offering distance learning programs increased from one in 1962 to 256 in 2010.

IGNOU delivers education by “providing print materials, [audio- and videotapes], broadcast on radio and … TV channels, teleconferencing, video conferencing [and] also … face to face counseling, at its study centers.” Since 2000, the institution is increasingly using the Internet to distribute teaching materials.

Technological advances have increased the speed and ease of distance teaching and fueled IGNOU’s ambitions to establish itself as a global virtual university. Notably, the Indian government’s 2004 launch of the world’s first satellite dedicated exclusively to distance education (EduSat) has greatly expanded IGNOU’s capacity to deliver digital content. However, IGNOU still maintains a hybrid learning model that enables students to receive tutoring at nearly 3,000 learner support centers throughout India and at 12 centers overseas.

Mega-Universities in Other Countries  

Growing demand has fueled similar developments in other countries. Iran, for example, underwent a youth bulge phase over the past two decades that doubled the population between 1980 and 2016. The effects were the same as in SSA and South Asia today: exploding demand, insufficient capacity, more HEIs, and a mushrooming private sector. One answer to this crisis was the establishment of Payam-e-Nour University (PNU), an institution that is now the largest distance education provider in the country with more than 940,000 students.

PNU has proved effective in absorbing demand, despite sometimes being criticized for delivering low-quality education. Under the motto “education for all, anywhere and anytime,” PNU has helped to increase enrollment rates even in Iran’s most remote regions. PNU offers traditional distance education programs, hybrid (blended) programs that include optional in-class tutoring, and—since 2006—e-learning programs offered exclusively online. According to PNU’s website, the number of enrollments in pure online programs, however, is still small at fewer than 10,000 students.

These are several examples that illustrate that government-sponsored open and distance learning (ODL) is growing in size and scope in various countries. In Pakistan, the Allama Iqbal Open University, a public ODL provider designed to “provide education and training to people who cannot leave their homes and jobs for full-time studies,” is now the largest university in the country with an average annual enrollment of 1.2 million students. The University of South Africa (UNISA), the country’s main ODL provider, enrolls one-third of South Africa’s students; it is the largest university in all of Africa with 400,000 students. Its most famous graduate is Nelson Mandela, who earned a UNISA correspondence degree while imprisoned.

In another example, the National Open University of Nigeria (NOUN) is Nigeria’s largest university with 254,000 students and 77 study centers (2017). NOUN recently established the first digital online Open Educational Resources repository in West Africa and began offering MOOCs. In 2016, the university announced that it would distribute i-NOUN tablets pre-loaded with study materials to all its students.

In Turkey, distance education has contributed strongly to boosting tertiary GERs from 30 percent in 2004 to 86 percent in 2014. Anadolu University, Turkey’s national ODL provider, has grown into a veritable mega-university. It enrolled more than 1.7 million undergraduate students in 2014 (about one-third of all of Turkey’s higher education students).

The Utility of Open Distance Learning

ODL universities provide inclusive, needs-based education. They are generally considered an effective instrument of social development and have been supported by organizations like UNESCO.  What most have in common are their relatively low admission standards compared to other HEIs. Most, but not all, charge tuition for their programs, which range from short-term diploma and certificate courses to full-fledged bachelor, master, and doctoral programs.

Many ODL institutions follow a blended learning model that combines various forms of distance delivery with tutoring at study centers, which also provide students with access to libraries, computers, and videoconferencing facilities. Flexible schedules allow first-time students and working adults alike to pursue education, even in remote underserved regions.

ODL is often dismissed as substandard; however, open universities were not conceptualized to function as centers of academic excellence. They were designed to bring education to the masses at low operating costs. IGNOU, for example, educates its more than three million students with a lean staff of only 573 faculty members and about 50,000 academic counselors. ODL is not a solution for creating world-class education systems, but it plays a vital role in providing access to millions of students and has become an integral part of many education systems.

It must be acknowledged, however, that in general the quality of distance education providers varies greatly. The proliferation of substandard programs under the purview of IGNOU’s DEC, for example, has created quality problems in India akin to those the country experienced after the rapid growth of private brick-and-mortar HEIs. As a result, India’s University Grants Commission (UGC) increasingly clashed with IGNOU, closed several distance providers, and banned distance education at non-university institutions (and deemed-to-be universities) after shifting quality assurance to the UGC’s Distance Education Bureau.

But it would be a mistake to dismiss all ODL institutions as low quality. Britain’s Open University, for instance, is ranked among the world’s top 500 universities in the current Times Higher Education world university ranking; and UNISA is considered one of the better universities in South Africa (it is currently ranked at position 801 to 1000 in the Times ranking).

As pioneers in distance education, many ODL universities now increasingly deliver learning content via the Internet. However, the status of ODL mega-universities as the main providers of distance education is increasingly in jeopardy because of digital education initiatives pursued by other HEIs. “Many Open Universities are experiencing [a] severe competitive threat from other local universities or from foreign entrants who are taking advantage of new technologies to move quickly, sometimes more quickly than Open Universities can, into the online space ….” says the Open University’s Alan Tait.

Digital Education in Sub-Saharan Africa: Current Trends and Growth Potential

While ODL mega universities still dominate distance education, newer forms of remote learning like MOOCs and new online universities are spreading increasingly in regions like SSA. For instance, in 2017, the Association of African Universities (AAU) inked an agreement with the upcoming online education provider eLearnAfrica. The deal is expected to expand the online course offerings of AAU’s 380 member universities by 1,000 MOOCs, making learning opportunities possible for an additional 10 million African students.

AAU’s secretary general, Etienne Ehouan Ehil, has noted that “challenges of limited access to quality higher education continue to haunt us. Therefore, building capacities of African universities to be innovative in their … learning methods for increased access to quality higher education is top priority for the AAU. This partnership with eLearnAfrica will help us achieve this goal.”

This development reflects the recent growth of online education in Africa. Initiatives to advance digital learning date back as far as 1997 when the World Bank sponsored the creation of the African Virtual University (AVU), a pan-African institution that has since grown exponentially utilizing a satellite-based delivery system.

According to its latest publicized annual report, AVU had by 2015 trained “63,000 students across Africa and … established the largest network of Open Distance and eLearning institutions with 53 institutions in over 30 countries in sub-Saharan Africa.” AVU is now slated to become part of the Pan African University, a postgraduate institution funded by the African Union (AU). Rebranded as the “Africa Virtual and E-University,” the institution is expected to provide ODL in virtually all African countries, and offer programs in English and French.

AVU is just one of several online universities that have sprung up across Africa. Others include the University of Africa, Unicaf University, the Virtual University of Uganda and the Virtual University of Senegal, an institution that reportedly enrolled 20,000 students in 2017/18. Traditional universities are also rolling out online programs at an accelerated pace. Prominent distance education units at established universities include Wits Plus at the University of the Witwatersrand (South Africa), the Distance Learning Centre of Ahmadu Bello University (Nigeria), or Kenyatta University’s Digital School of Virtual and Open Learning (Kenya).

These trends, as important as they are, are likely just the beginning of a drastic expansion of Africa’s nascent digital learning market. Companies of all shapes and sizes are entering this market in various corners of the continent. Launched in Zambia in 2015, the company Mwabu, which distributes e-learning content to 180,000 elementary students via tablets, intends to eventually reach 100 million learners. In South Africa, Eneza Education delivers learning content, including national school curricula, via mobile cell phones. It currently claims 2.1 million registered learners.

Other examples of new digital providers include the Rwanda-based Kepler University, which offers online degrees in partnership with Southern New Hampshire University in the United States. The small but fast-growing company Getsmarter, meanwhile, offers online certificate programs in collaboration with top international universities like Harvard. Digital learning is also increasing its presence in vocational education: The company Edacy combines MOOCs with short industrial apprenticeships. Distance learning in vocational education is explicitly promoted by the South African government.

Most African governments now also have policies that urge Information and Communications Technologies (ICT) penetration and digital learning. Kenya’s government, for instance, in 2016 launched a Digital Learning Program to digitize elementary education. By March 2018, more than one million laptops and tablets pre-loaded with interactive digital content had been delivered to 19,000 public schools. Rwanda, one of Africa’s ICT pioneers, similarly plans to turn all its classrooms into wired, “smart” classrooms by 2020 in partnership with Microsoft. In higher education, the government is developing a National Open and Distance ELearning Policy and plans to offer online distance education at the University of Rwanda – an initiative that is supported by UNESCO.

The Indian government and 47 AU member countries, meanwhile, have signed on to the Pan-Africa e-Network Project, a large-scale initiative that connects Indian and African universities via a tele-education software system, using a satellite hub station in Senegal. The initiative also connects African medical facilities with medical specialty hospitals in India, enabling Indian doctors to review digitized medical records in Africa and provide live tele-consultations.

Overall, the market volume of self-paced e-learning alone doubled in Africa between 2011 and 2016, according to the market research firm Ambient Insight. Another research firm, IMARC, found that the e-learning sector in SSA grew by 15 percent annually between 2010 and 2017, reaching a value of more than USD$690 million in 2017. The e-learning market on the continent is projected to further grow to USD$1.5 billion by 2023. The use of digital learning management systems is also showing signs of vigorous growth. There is no question that there is tremendous potential for digital education in Africa, especially given the increasing Internet penetration on the continent.

The Digital Divide in Sub-Saharan Africa Is Narrowing

Africa still trails far behind other world regions in terms of Internet penetration. Only 18 percent of households on the continent had an Internet connection in their homes in 2017, compared with 84.2 percent in Europe.

It should be noted, though, that Internet penetration in Africa varies considerably by country and region. While a majority of urban Africans now have mobile devices and access to mobile broadband Internet, many people in remote rural areas lack personal access have to use the internet at “public facilities like schools, universities and internet kiosks, which are connected via satellite terminals, often powered by solar power.” Likewise, Internet usage rates in countries like Kenya or Mali are as high as 85 percent and 65 percent, but they hover below 6 percent in countries like Burundi, the Central African Republic, or Chad.

However, the continent is catching up fast, fueled by the spread of more affordable smartphones and mobile data plans. “Mobile development has enabled Africans to ‘leapfrog’ poor landline infrastructure, which has been a brake on progress. Many Africans get their first Internet experience on a mobile rather than a desktop computer….” In fact, mobile phones are now spreading so fast that Uganda is said to have three times more cell phones than lightbulbs.

Market watchers expect the total number of mobile broadband connections in Africa to more than double from 419 million in 2017 to 1.07 billion by 2022, with 5G advanced mobile technology expected to arrive at the beginning of the next decade. According to a recent report by the British social media marketing agency We Are Social, the number of African Internet users increased by 20 percent between 2017 and 2018 alone, with users “in Mali increasing by almost 6 times since January 2017. The number of Internet users in Benin, Sierra Leone, Niger, and Mozambique has more than doubled over the past year too.” Even by more conservative estimates, at least 40 percent of people in SSA will have some form of Internet access within seven years.

To put these trends in context, Africa’s fixed landline broadband infrastructure is still marginal—more than 90 percent of all Internet connections on the continent are via mobile networks. Desktop and laptop ownership is also rare, so that digital learning in Africa will mostly occur on mobile devices for years to come. This usage, however, is in line with global shifts toward mobile technology. The increased processor speed of mobile devices now allows the use of applications that were previously accessible only on desktop computers.

Sharply Rising Internet Penetration in South Asia

South Asia is the world region with the second lowest Internet penetration worldwide with a user rate of 36 percent in 2018. However, Internet usage is spreading fast, if varying by country. India in 2016 overtook the U.S. as the country with the second largest number of Internet users in the world after China. Between 2016 and 2017, the number of mobile Internet users in India grew by fully 17.2 percent to 456 million, reaching a penetration rate of about 34 percent.

That rate is going to rise quickly: The number of mobile Internet users is estimated to swell by an additional 330 million by 2025. As in Africa, this growth is largely attributable to affordable mobile devices and reduced prices for data plans—79 percent of all Web traffic in India currently takes place on mobile phones. India also has a similar urban-rural divide: While mobile Internet penetration in the cities stood at 59 percent in 2017, rural India trailed far behind with only 18 percent.

India’s government is currently rolling out a new digital communications policy that aims at bringing fixed-line broadband connections to 50 percent of Indian households, as well as to communications towers in rural regions, by 2022. While some observers doubt that this objective can be achieved, India is poised to take a massive “digital leap” in the years ahead. By some estimates, 1.2 billion Indians will have a smartphone by 2030. The volume of India’s online retail business alone is projected to surge by 1,200 percent by 2026.

Bangladesh, meanwhile, already has a higher Internet usage rate than India’s. According to the Bangladesh Telecommunication Regulatory Commission, 85.9 million people—slightly more than 50 percent of the population—had an Internet subscription in April 2018. That number represents an astronomical growth rate over the rate in 2010, when merely 3.7 percent of Bangladeshis were using the Internet, according to the World Bank. The country adopted a proactive digitization strategy that essentially brought half of the population online within just a decade. Mobile network coverage now extends to 95 percent of Bangladesh’s geographical area, including remote islands. As a result, Bangladesh has become the second largest supplier of online freelance laborers worldwide after India.

In Nepal, the growth in Internet usage has been equally impressive. The percentage of Internet users in the Himalayan country skyrocketed from 1.97 percent in 2009 to 55 percent in 2018. Digital access in Pakistan, on the other hand, is still nascent. Only 22 percent of Pakistanis use the Internet, despite notable growth rates in past years. The country’s online use remains characterized by distinct digital divides—not only between urban and rural regions, but also between the sexes.

Going Digital: Strong Growth in Online Education in India 

Rising Internet use in many parts of South Asia has opened the doors wide for digital education. By most accounts, India is already the second largest online education market after the United States. The consulting firm KPMG and technology company Google project that the value of India’s digital learning market will grow eightfold within just five years, from USD$247 million in 2016 to USD$1.96 billion by 2021.

Online education in the country exists in various forms, including vocational reskilling certificates, test prep programs, and language courses. Supplementary online courses in elementary and secondary education are projected to grow the most until 2021, but online higher education is also expected to grow by 41 percent, with online MBAs being the most popular. Speaking to the news website Quartz, Nitin Bawankule, industry director of Google India, noted last year that increasing Internet penetration has coincided with growing interest in online education in Tier 2 and Tier 3 cities.

India’s government supports this trend. After curbing online and distance education programs in 2017 because of problems with quality and the spread of non-recognized programs, the UGC recently reinstated online degree programs for the 2018/19 academic year. It notes that these programs “are a big step towards attaining the targeted GER of 30% by the year 2020.” India’s human resource development minister, Prakash Javadekar, recently affirmed that India will be “creating an enabling environment where not just students but working executives can study and earn a degree without traveling the distance.”

To ensure quality, only HEIs that have been in existence for at least five years and are rated A+ by the National Assessment and Accreditation Council will be allowed to offer online programs. Public open universities are not affected by these restrictions: About 15 percent of India’s universities will soon be able to provide existing degree programs wholly online, as long as the programs aren’t in disciplines that require lab courses or other hands-on study. Authorized universities can offer programs online that lead to certificates, diplomas, or degrees, using video lectures, online materials, and discussion forums.

This policy change is just one example of several digital learning initiatives pursued by the Indian government. In 2016, for instance, the Ministry of Human Resource Development (MHRD) launched SWAYAM (Study Web of Active Learning for Young and Aspiring Minds), an interactive online learning platform of free MOOCs that incorporate video lectures, reading materials, online discussion forums, downloadable assignments, and tests. Some courses offer credit that can be transferred into university programs. The UGC aggressively pushes these MOOCs. It recently issued a directive that “no university shall refuse any student for credit mobility for the courses earned through MOOCs.”

One year after SWAYAM’s launch, the MHRD minister announced that 60,000 students had completed study courses and boasted that SWAYAM had made “knowledge available anytime anywhere” like an “ATM offers cash.” Indian authorities have hyped SWAYAM, which is slated to offer 2,000 courses, as “the world’s biggest repository of interactive electronic learning resources under a single window.”

Other ongoing digital initiatives include the National Programme on Technology Enhanced Learning (NPTEL), a program that delivers Web-based courses in engineering and science, and the National Academic Depository. The latter is a digital depository of degree certificates and academic transcripts that allows employers and academic institutions to verify credentials online. Formally launched in 2017, the depository was developed to help stem the circulation of fake degrees. It currently contains 11 million credentials from 218 participating HEIs.

MOOCs offered by private providers, meanwhile, are also spreading like wildfire, most notably in the tech hub of Bangalore. The U.S. provider edX registered a 73 percent growth rate in India in 2016. Coursera, meanwhile, reported in July 2017 that the number of Indian users had grown by 50,000 each month throughout the first half of the year. Many Indian MOOC students are working professionals interested in flexible, career-relevant courses. It will be interesting to see how well the public SWAYAM can compete with Western providers.

In sum, online education in India is growing at breakneck speed. The government of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, determined to rapidly digitize Indian society, launched a comprehensive Digital India initiative in 2015. Beyond that, online education is considered vital for increasing capacity and upskilling the population.

Beyond India: Digital Initiatives in Other South Asian Countries

Digital education is on the rise in other South Asian countries as well. In 2016, Bangladesh digitized its entire elementary school curriculum, enabling 20 million elementary school students to access all their learning materials on cell phones. The Bangladesh Open University, a public mega-university of more than 500,000 students, began rolling out fully online programs the year before, in 2015. It plans to eventually stop using print materials altogether. Educational institutions are speedily being equipped with multimedia classrooms and laptops. The country pursues an aggressive digitization strategy that runs the gamut from pushing online banking to the construction of IT villages and a new public virtual university in an innovative high-tech park. Bangladesh recently expanded its international fiber optic submarine cable infrastructure and launched its first communications satellite in 2018.

Academic institutions in Nepal, likewise, are increasingly rolling out distance learning programs via online delivery. India’s IGNOU has established two regional centers in Kathmandu and partnered with several Nepali providers. Indicative of the growing demand for distance learning, Nepal in 2016 launched the Nepal Open University, the country’s first public open university. The institution delivers master’s programs using tools like online videoconferencing and digital libraries. Meanwhile, organizations like Open Learning Exchange Nepal provide underresourced rural schools with interactive educational software. As of 2015, the organization had delivered nearly 6,000 laptops to such schools, created a digital library of thousands of books, and developed more than 600 digital learning modules.

Digital education is also spreading in Pakistan. As early as 2002, Pakistan’s government founded the Virtual University of Pakistan to accommodate mushrooming demand. The institution is now one of Pakistan’s largest universities enrolling more than 100,000 students. More recently, the Higher Education Commission launched a Smart Education initiative that seeks to digitize HEIs by introducing blanket WIFI coverage on campuses and distributing 500,000 laptops, to be followed by the creation of e-classrooms to facilitate digital learning. Smaller initiatives and providers are popping up throughout the country as well. For instance, the All Pakistan Private Schools Management Association in the province of Sindh recently introduced an online education portal for elementary and secondary schools.

Compared with MOOC enrollment in India, Pakistan’s is low and held back by limited Internet penetration. The outlook for online courses is nevertheless positive–90,000 students took a MOOC on the edX platform alone in 2016. The Aga Khan University was the first in Pakistan to offer a locally designed MOOC in 2014. More recently, the private Information Technology University in Lahore entered an agreement with edX, in which it will integrate edX’s MicroMasters programs into the university’s curricula and degree programs.

Overall, the digitization of Pakistani society is slowly progressing in various spaces. For instance, Pakistani authorities now use a digital management and monitoring system to track schoolteachers and curb the problem of teacher absenteeism and ghost teachers. As stated earlier, the number of self-employed Pakistanis freelancing online, meanwhile, has risen in recent years—a trend that turned Pakistan into one of the world’s largest hubs for remote freelance labor.

Flexible and Cost-Effective Education: The Benefits of Digital Learning

There are countless examples of how digital learning can improve people’s lives. Online education has been effectively used to extend learning opportunities to displaced refugee populations and, as previously noted, marginalized populations in remote rural regions.

E-learning certainly has a number of distinct advantages over brick-and-mortar education. It eliminates the costs of printed teaching materials and the need for physical infrastructure, and can therefore be delivered in regions where such infrastructure does not exist.

It can reduce costs not only for academic institutions, but also for students who often have to travel long distances to schools and universities in regions like SSA. Online education class schedules are usually flexible, and course materials are typically accessible anytime, making study easier for working adults. Digital libraries provide access to literature where no physical libraries exist.

Crucially, e-learning is not limited by the size of physical classrooms—online courses can be taken by an unlimited number of students around the globe, whether they’re in Accra, Bogota, Delhi, Dhaka, or Lagos. As access to electricity and broadband Internet increases, online education will quickly become accessible to ever-larger audiences. And distributing inexpensive tablets to students is still cheaper than building brick-and-mortar institutions. It is therefore not surprising that academic institutions and governments in SSA and South Asia are increasingly pushing online learning, a comparatively cost-effective investment in human capital development.

Non-recognized, Insular and Neocolonialist: The Downsides of Digital Learning

At the same time, some think that the current dominance of Western providers in e-learning markets smacks of the re-colonialization of the academic space in developing regions. As international education scholar Philip G. Altbach has argued, the spread of Western MOOCs is the “neocolonialism of the willing”: The adoption of Western, English-language online courses in developing countries tends to perpetuate the hegemony of Western countries in global education.

Indeed, a world where youngsters from Kampala to Karachi recycle the same canned learning content developed in California or Massachusetts may lead to an undesirable intellectual homogenization. It is vital for countries to develop their own local learning content in local languages. India’s SWAYAM is a step in the right direction. As more local providers enter the e-learning market and online learning becomes more common in the developing world, it stands to reason that MOOC content will evolve beyond Western-produced courses.

Another problem is the lack of recognition of MOOCs and other forms of online learning. While a degree from a distance education university like IGNOU may not be comparable to a degree from a top research university, it is still a qualification that opens access to employment and further academic study.

A completion certificate for a Coursera MOOC, on the other hand, is currently not a viable form of academic currency. Many online providers still operate outside of established quality assurance and accreditation frameworks. Beyond that, all forms of distance education, be they formally accredited or not, still have to overcome the barrier of a low reputation. Online education is also unsuitable for disciplines that require practical, hands-on training (unless offered as part of a blended model approach).

The most common and closely related criticism of online learning, of course, is that it is an inferior, isolated, anonymous learning experience. In this view, online learning provides a sterile environment that cannot compete with the real-world, tangible and touchable learning environments in which it is much easier for students and teachers to interact and exchange ideas. This notion is still widespread: A 2011 survey of 4,564 U.S. university instructors found that nearly two-thirds of them considered e-learning outcomes to be inferior to those involving traditional face-to-face courses.

Several examples illustrate the shortcomings of online education. For example, dropout rates in online programs tend to be higher compared with those of traditional programs. A recent study by the University of California, Davis concluded that grade averages and completion rates of students in online programs at community colleges were significantly lower than in traditional programs. In India, likewise, dropout rates in distance education programs have been found to be higher than in traditional programs. Completion rates in MOOCs are even worse. Research from 2013 found that less than 7 percent of enrollees in a sample of 29 MOOCs completed their courses.

Many analysts have argued that online education is much less suitable to first-time students than students who have prior education, since the latter have already acquired real-world academic skills—a circumstance that would limit the potential of e-learning as a means of expanding capacity. Enrollees in MOOCs, in fact, are often postgraduate students: In 2013, researchers from the University of Pennsylvania that surveyed Coursera MOOC participants noted that more than 80 percent had either a two- or four-year post-secondary degree. Among participants in Brazil, China, India, Russia, and South Africa, the vast majority of participants came “from the wealthiest and most well-educated 6% of the population,” according to the researchers.

In developing countries, the mere provision of access to technology and digital content alone is certainly not enough to motivate students to embrace digital learning. The distribution of laptops pre-loaded with learning content to 800,000 public schoolchildren in Peru has been largely unsuccessful. While the pupils used the laptops for games and social media, they did not connect with them for learning purposes.

The Peruvian example illustrates the need to supplement digital learning programs with training for inexperienced teachers in how to use computers in elementary education. But the need to bridge such gaps in know-how are evident even at the university level. IGNOU, for example, supplements online programs with face-to-face tutoring at learning centers. This approach is well-founded: A number of studies show that it is blended learning models that are most effective, not programs offered exclusively online. Hybrid approaches are perhaps the most promising, highest quality model going forward. Former President of Stanford University John Hennessy considers the flipped classroom model, which combines online lectures with classroom instruction, “as effective as traditional lectures.”

Like It or Not, Digital Learning Will Change Global Education    

What these problems suggest is that digital learning is still experiencing growing pains. But even e-learning detractors have to acknowledge that the spread of digital education cannot be stopped—it will slowly but surely transform the shape of education in many parts of the world. As this article illustrates, governments and academic institutions in SSA and South Asia are swiftly adopting digital learning models, despite persistent technological barriers. In light of current developments and trends, it’s probably safe to assume that digital education in these regions will grow exponentially.

Current e-learning models are imperfect. In the future, educators and policy makers developing these models will need to work out how to best conceptualize and utilize online learning and improve the delivery and content of online courses, while making them more interactive and relevant to local contexts. At any rate, younger generations that grow up hooked on mobile devices and have a large share of social interactions online will be more receptive to digital education. U.S. employers, for instance, are already more accepting of online degrees than in the past decade.

Irrespective of quality concerns, ballooning demand will drive the spread of digital education, akin to the fast-growing privatization of education. The number of tertiary students worldwide is estimated to grow from 214.1 million in 2015 to 594.1 million by 2040, with developing regions like SSA and South Asia experiencing high growth rates. As discussed earlier, governments there face nearly insurmountable challenges in building costly brick-and-mortar institutions amid rapidly surging demand.

To be sure, “tablet teachers”, interactive lectures and online chat forums alone are not a substitute for face-to-face interactions with professors and peers, a vital aspect of learning. It is difficult to see how education delivered exclusively online could ever produce world class scholars. As argued here, however, e-learning will play an increasingly important complementary role in mass education, driven by the need to reduce costs and accommodate demand.

The way current trends are shaping up, the rationalization and streamlining of education in developing regions will take digital education to new heights. Underprivileged social segments will increasingly be educated via “m-learning,” using mobile phones; while elite universities will progressively incorporate digital content into blended learning models. Online education will also be increasingly used in vocational education and to upskill adult learners. Furthermore, top research universities in Africa, for example, will be able to share costs and pool resources using tools like shared digital libraries and digital communication facilities that will help connect institutions across the continent in transnational research clusters.

 

 

 

 

[1] Tuition fees for master’s degrees delivered by U.S. universities on the Coursera platform, for example, presently range from USD$15,000 to more than USD$19,000. Paywalls have also become common for shorter MOOC-type programs.

[2] In education, “massification” usually refers to a process of inclusion of mass audiences in higher education, making it accessible to large segments of society and not just the elites.

[3] Other estimates are higher. Projections depend on the definition of “middle class.” A prominent 2011 study by the African Development Bank found that Africa’s middle class had increased from 27 percent in 1980 to 34 percent in 2010, giving rise to the notion that Africa could become “the next Asia.” However, these estimates are now largely considered overhyped.

[4] According to projections by the British Council from 2014.

[5] Calculation based on data provided by the World Bank and the National Center for Education Statistics.

[6] Reported student numbers vary. IGNOU reports “over 3 million students” on its website (as of 2014), while news reports from 2012 suggested 4 million students. The Open University of China lists 3.59 million registered students on its website. But whereas IGNOU is widely regarded as the world’s largest university, the Open University of China is usually not included in such tallies.

 

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Top 10 Tips for Camping in Ladakh

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The post Top 10 Tips for Camping in Ladakh appeared first on Devil On Wheels™ written and copyrighted by Dheeraj Sharma.

Camping in the lap of Himalayas is something each one of dream about and when it comes to camping in Ladakh, it becomes a pristine dream 🙂 🙂 … When traveling to Ladakh, camping is considered to be one of the key adventure activities by the people with the craze of adventure.

And, I will say why not??

When you have the luxury of a billion star place to stay right in the middle of nowhere with nothing but just raw nature surrounding you and your soul, who can say no to it.

Today in this article, I will talk about some important tips which you should keep in mind while camping in Ladakh.

Thinking of camping in Ladakh?Thinking of camping in Ladakh?

There is usually a common confusion or question among almost everyone looking forward to camp in Ladakh. Well, the experience of camping in places like Ladakh can be a little different than camping in the jungles or lower hills.

Ladakh is a cold desert and finding water everywhere is a challenge too and must be kept in mind when camping in Ladakh. Secondly, the high altitude takes a different toll on the body and acclimatization becomes the key factor to the success of your camping in.

I am sure that the tips mentioned in this article will help you have a great camping experience in Ladakh and you can definitely apply some of them to the other parts of the Himalayas too.

10 Tips for Camping in Ladakh

Let us see some tips for camping in Ladakh that will help you get the answers to many questions you might have and knowing them may help you be out of trouble while putting up in camps in Ladakh.

1. Where can I do camping in Ladakh?

The first and foremost concern is where should I camp in Ladakh?

Well, you can pitch your own tents or camps almost anywhere in Ladakh. But I will suggest that you pitch them at a place where there are some dhabha tents put up by locals or where other camping guys pitch theirs or somewhere near some local house in the village or in their garden/lawn.

All you will need is to gently ask them (villagers/dhabha guys/camping guys) for permissions. Most likely they will allow, otherwise negotiate for a small little tip or move on to some other such place nearby. Sometimes paying for the meals at their dhabhas should be enough too.

This will give you an immense sense of security too from loneliness (especially when you are a newbie) as well as wild animals, especially when you are camping in Ladakh

2. DO NOT camp in Ladakh at restricted sites or wetlands or lakes

Though as I said, you can camp almost anywhere in Ladakh. But keep in mind that camping is not allowed everywhere and there are restricted sites which mostly comes either under army secured zone OR under wetland reserves, Ramsar sites etc..

Both the lakes in Ladakh, Pangong Tso and Tso Moriri comes under wetland reserve and camping is not allowed at the bank of these lakes. It is treated as illegal.

Hence, you need to pitch your camps away from the lakes where either other camps are there or at a nearby village.

I request each and everyone to respect the mother nature and follow the rules not your guts to camp at a forbidden land for both security and nature preservation perspectives.

Try to condemn people doing it as well and ask them politely to respect the laws and nature to preserve the site. Seek help of locals in case you feel you may end up in trouble.

3. Choose a site where water stream is nearby and wind pressure is less

You should always camp in Ladakh at a place where water supply is in the vicinity and ensure that you select a high place from the stream’s level just in case the water level rises due to inclement weather or flash floods. Also, make sure you see there are no past signs of flash floods up there.

Try to choose a place where you will be least hit by the wind.

Camping in the lap of Himalayas Camping in the lap of Himalayas

4. Ensure that your camp is fastened properly & the weather is clear in the night

Little rains in Ladakh coupled with winds can uproot your camps, if not set up properly. Hence, make sure you properly install all the hooks and fasten the camp properly. You should check the weather just to ensure you have a fearless sleep when camping on your Ladakh trip 😉 …

Of course, in case you are in the middle of no man land, there is no other option but to camp only. However, if the weather is bad and you are in some village, you can always opt for a home stays just for that night. Better be safe than sorry. The place will always be there and camping is to enjoy the nature not to face nightmares 🙂 🙂 …

5. In case of camp fire, DO ENSURE you put it OFF completely with no ambers left

If you set up a campfire please ensure that you DO NOT light up at places where there are thatched roofs in the vicinity. Do also ensure that you put it off completely before you leave the place.

One little ignorance can prove life threatening and damaging for the locals.

6. Acclimatisation again is a key factor, stay warm and well hydrated

Acclimatisation does play a critical role in camping in Ladakh too. Setting up camp and then getting it off is an activity of exertion. You need to ensure that your body feels right and acclimatized before you undergo exertions.

If you do not feel well and are not acclimatized well, camping in the middle of nowhere may end up having you in deep trouble. So, please ensure proper acclimatization and well being before camping.

Manali Leh Highway is a perfect example, where camping can be done anywhere on Manali Leh Highway but you must be preferably at an altitude where AMS does not hit you. There is no issue up to Darcha and you can camp anywhere but beyond Darcha the whole highway runs at an average altitude of 14000 Feet almost until you descend down to Rumtse from Taglang La.

Once you cross Darcha, then I will suggest to camp only around Sarchu and Pang so that you get some help in case required from the people around.

Staying warm and being well hydrated will surely help you acclimatize at a much faster rate.

Camping near ChandratalCamping in the wild

7. Wash your hands properly and if possible carry a filter bottle

It is always better to wash or sanitize your hands every now and then because even diarrhea could become very serious when coupled with high altitude.

Best way to stay away from it is to wash/sanitize your hands often and if possible try to carry a water bottle with a filter. Do carry medicines for stomach upset, diarrhea and other basic medicines for regular illness especially for which you are vulnerable.

8. Carry the essentials while camping in Ladakh

It is always better to carry first aid, regular medicines, a torch, a flint, a camping knife and mosquito repellent when camping in Ladakh. Not to repeat, you should have enough food with few buffer days including dry fruits. Carry lots of ORS packets or electoral packets for oral rehydration of minerals and also check the List of Things to Carry for Leh Ladakh trip

9. Ensure you do not leave any food open

In case you will leave the food open at night, it might attract wild animals when camping in Ladakh which can end you up in trouble. Always try to pack up all your food after cooking and do not leave it in open. 

You do not want to get in the tussle with some animals in Ladakh 🙂 🙂

10. Leave nothing but footprints in Ladakh

Last but not the least, PLEASE, NEVER litter in the Himalayas and NEVER disturb the flora and fauna up there in the Himalayas. Please take all non-biodegradable waste back with you and leave nothing but footprints. In addition to it, you must be aware of the Tips for Responsible Travel in Himalayas

Camping in Mane VillageCamping in Mane Village 

Conclusion

I hope the above tips on camping in Ladakh will help you be aware of common practices and know how on camping at such places in the Himalayas. These tips should help you answer any questions about your upcoming camping trip to Ladakh.

Feel free to share this article with your friends or family who you know will be going over for camping in Ladakh. Do you know any other tips which you think will be useful to fellow travelers? If yes, feel free to share in the comments section of this article below or in case you may have any questions do not hesitate to leave a comment.

The post Top 10 Tips for Camping in Ladakh appeared first on Devil On Wheels™ written and copyrighted by Dheeraj Sharma.

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This NYC Millennial Got Her First Massage. What Happened?

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It was a Wednesday night in February after a twelve-hour workday. Half frozen puddles soaked my socks on my walk home from the office. The four flights of stairs to my apartment unit felt more like four miles.

Welcome to New York!

On my entry-level couch, paid for by my entry-level job (that’s right, I’m a millennial!), I thought to myself, “How can I reset?”

The relaxation options raced through my mind:

A walk? I thought of the slushy rain outside, combined with loud construction and traffic… Hard pass.

Meditation? Over time, I am sure I could get the hang of that. But I was looking for something immediate.

A local spa? There was no way I could get a last-minute appointment.

What about massage on-demand? I had heard of Zeel from a friend of mine also in the media world. Now I was onto something.

How to get the best home massage?

I downloaded the Zeel app, which christened me into the world of massage therapy. Within seconds, I was texting real-time with a representative from Zeel. We discussed exactly I was looking for in my session, and we booked my massage for that same night, in my home.

From the moment I got my confirmation text to the moment I heard “knock-knock” on the door … only mild panic set in: How much skin am I going to have to expose here? Is this going to hurt? Is my apartment way too small for this?

Tanya was a kind professional. She introduced herself. She explained her work experience.

Okay. This is great. No worries for my first-ever massage.

work stress and overall life stress turned off, almost like a switch

During my one-hour session, work stress and overall life stress turned off, almost like a switch. First, half an hour of sports therapy. Kneading and working through athletic aches and pains (ones I didn’t even realize I had, from years ago!). Next, half an hour of Swedish style, to relax and unwind. Tanya let me listen to my favorite music on my iPhone, which was a nice touch.

The verdict

My first-ever massage therapy session doubled as educational – how could I not ask million-and-a-half questions about the mechanics of the art?

Tanya and I discussed alignment and posture, and how the two are invariably intertwined. We talked about the long-term effects of ballet dancing on my muscles. We chatted about how Tanya first developed an interest in massage therapy (her grandmother suffered from severe arthritis. Tanya massaged her grandmother’s arms and legs to help relieve the pain.) And when I didn’t feel like chatting, Tanya was happy to let me focus on my music… just to be in my own world for a little while.

I couldn’t have felt safer

As a reminder, this was all in my own living room. Tanya, as all therapists from the Zeel network, brought a comfortable massage table and paired it with my own fresh linen. I couldn’t have felt safer.

When Tanya left, I felt like new. This was something I would do again.

The next morning, my Manhattan commute was still rainy and dreary… but somehow, it felt a little bit … brighter.

Read more: 5 Beautiful Places to Get a Massage This Summer

Tips For Staying Healthy When You Travel

How Massage Helps with Workout-Related Muscle Pains

The post This NYC Millennial Got Her First Massage. What Happened? appeared first on Pause: The Zeel Blog.

Read more: zeel.com

Here’s Which ‘Gossip Girl’ Character You Are, According To Your Zodiac Sign

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Gossip Girl Gossip Girl

First of all, I hated the romance between Blair and Dan. It just made no sense and just like my first time, I couldn’t wait for it to be over. Second of all, Dan and Serena WERE NOT COMPATIBLE (there I said it!). Dan should have ended up with Vanessa. Serena should have ended up with Nate. And I should have ended up with Chuck. I mean…I’m happy it worked out for Blair and Chuck. Third of all, if you watch this show from the beginning knowing that Dan is Gossip Girl, it LITERALLY makes zero sense because you catch him being surprised by something Gossip Girl releases, including times when he’s alone—like who are you putting on a show for??? YOU WROTE IT!! Or was it a Jekyll and Hyde type of situation and Dan had a split personality so Patricia was actually writing all of those gossip tips???

Also, someone please explain to me why Blair’s fiancé Louis lived in New York with her when he was the PRINCE OF MOTHER FUCKING MONACO??? And why did Louis, his mother, and sister all speak English with thick French accents with each other even when no one was around instead of French??? And what ever happened to Lily and Rufus’ love child??? And how was Blair over her child dying so fast? And did it bother anyone else that Dan kept it in the family by dating his step sister and then his step cousin?? Ugh. I just can’t.

Lastly, the more I watched the show, the more I literally began to hate every character. You don’t really realize how annoying everyone is until you binge-watch a show in four days. Anyway, I’m done venting for now. Let’s move on to some zodiac signs!

Pisces: Rufus Humphrey

Rufus is creative, compassionate, loving, loyal, anti social, positive, and very sensitive. He’s a romantic, a dreamer, and an adventurer. Just like his sign, he can be indecisive and unpredictable in his decisions, which causes him to change his mind quite often. He isn’t the best at handling his emotions and struggles to communicate them, leading him to run away and hide pretty often when the going gets tough in his relationship with Lily.

Pisces being a mutable changeable sign is able to disregard an entire relationship pretty quickly if they aren’t satisfied. Which explain why eventually he stopped chasing Lily and finally let her go once he felt like he no longer connected with Lily on an emotional level—as if he didn’t spend 20 years chasing her because he thought she was The One?!?! They should have just stayed together but I guess one thing Lily loves more than love, is money and power. (I found their relationship confusing. They were so passionate when they were apart yet once they got together; it was the most stale, boring storyline ever).

Pisces are most compatible with Scorpio, Taurus, and Cancer.

Libra: Lily Van Der Woodsen

Lily has had more marriages than I’ve had boyfriends. She is a Manhattan socialite and like a true Libra, she’s materialistic, social, and loves the extravagant lifestyle. Lily will stop at nothing to protect her perfect public image, and the reputations of her children since they’re a reflection of her.

Lily can never be alone, which is why we see her constantly jumping from one man to another, just like her daughter.

Libras are most compatible with Gemini, Sagittarius, and Leo.

Libra: Serena van der Woodsen

Serena is a Libra, which is one of the least compatible signs with a Virgo (aka Dan), but one of the most compatible signs with a Gemini (aka Nate), which is why I always believed she was meant to be with Nate. But what do I know!! I only spend hours a day reading my horoscope, my ex’s horoscope, his new girlfriend’s horoscope, my friends’ horoscopes, my boss’ horoscope… I know, it’s like when did I even find the time to write this blog because I’m so busy reading horoscopes!!!?! You’re welcome.

As a Libra, Serena is flirty, social, easy going, charming, and the life of the party. She is the It Girl everyone wants to be, or at least that’s the image she portrays. Just like a true Libra, she constantly puts on a facade for every man she falls in love with in order to fit his image of an ideal companion. She often finds it hard to say no, which is what gets her into trouble pretty often with her loved ones, making them feel as if they’re not a priority due to her selfish and unreliable nature. Serena’s entire self-worth revolves around having a lover (just like her mother), since she’s a romantic at heart. At times it seems that Serena loves the idea of love more than she loves her actual partners. Without a lover to keep her stable, her life tends to fall apart.

Being a Libra, Serena is a free spirit, loves attention, loves to travel, loves fashion, and has a wild side. She can also be selfish, self indulgent, superficial, and vain. She doesn’t really know what she wants in life, which is why some people may view her as indecisive and lazy, although never too lazy for a good time. Serena is also detached and unemotional at times. She can be insensitive, which is why she would struggle to meet a Virgo’s emotional needs.

Although this sign is known to avoid confrontation, a Libra can still be a villain. When Serena loses her cool, she tends to take it too far by creating unnecessary conflicts, separating people, and playing games with a tit-for-tat destructive style. She can sometimes be a little hardheaded, though fortunately due to her easy-going, forgiving nature she’s able to let things go and avoid further conflict.

Libras are most compatible with Gemini, Sagittarius, and Leo.

Virgo: Dan Humphrey

Dan is living proof that if you stalk someone for long enough, your obsession will eventually run out of options and give in, date you, and one day even marry you. Clearly, Dan and Hailey Baldwin read the same book.

Dan values family and friends and has their best interest at heart, which can unfortunately mean that he sometimes comes off as critical or judgmental. Consistent with his Virgo sign, Dan is intelligent, logical, ambitious, goal oriented, calculated, and hardworking. He’s able to strategically plan his future to a T, which sets him apart from the rest of the group. As a true Virgo, Dan is critical of others but most critical of himself, which is why he struggles in some romantic relationships. When he’s with Serena, for example, he constantly feels like he isn’t good enough, causing him to subconsciously have a chip on his shoulder and put her down by pointing out her flaws. (Sometimes I wondered if Dan secretly wanted to be Serena instead of date her so he could live the Manhattan lifestyle he loved to pretend to hate. Sigh. I hate everyone on this show.)

Like a true Virgo, Dan has a tendency to try and fix those around him (out of love), he yearns for perfection and cleanliness. Dan is the opposite from the life of the party and tends to prefer to stay out of the spotlight. He likes order and routine and can’t handle people who are unpredictable or highly emotional.

Virgos are not the jealous types, and can forgive cheating easily but not dishonesty, which explains why he was able to get over Serena cheating on him yet once she confessed that was actually a lie, he broke up with her, unable to deal with all the lies and secrets she kept from him.

Virgos are most compatible with Scorpio, Cancer, and Capricorn.

Scorpio: Georgina Sparks

This evil queen gives us Scorpio gals a bad rep, but my money is that she’s an October baby since everyone knows October female Scorpios are a little more on the dark/evil side than the rest of the people born under that zodiac sign.

Georgina is one of my favorite characters because she’s constantly scheming and manipulating everyone to get her way while staying witty and sarcastic. She’s basically the funniest character on the show and way cooler than the rest of her upper east side frienemies. I think she secretly does want to be loved and cares for her friends, but she tries to gain them with threats, power, and fear, just like a true October female Scorpio. Unfortunately, that never works, not even for Georgina.

One of my favorite plotlines involving Georgina is when she briefly falls for Dan in college because she pretends to be all casual about it but ends up getting attached and becomes stalkerish, manipulative, and obsessive over him. Now that’s a Scorpio love! My second favorite moment involving Georgina is towards the end of the show, when she helps Dan find his potential with his book! It’s a great example of what great partners Virgos and Scorpios can make, since both signs are very driven. Scorpios are hardworking, goal-oriented, and very good at motivating others to reach their potential.

Scorpios are most compatible with Cancer, Taurus, Pisces, and Virgo

Scorpio: Chuck Bass

Chuck is the bad boy every girl wishes she could change. His best talents include, scheming with Blair, buying his way out of everything, and being so emotionally unavailable that it turns me on (which is something I’m working on with my therapist every Thursday).

Scorpio is the sexiest zodiac sign—it is sex itself, and Chuck is no different. He walks, talks, and breathes sex. Chuck is intense, loyal, secretive, possessive, bold, and self-involved. He keeps to himself and rarely shows emotion yet secretly feels a lot. Like a true Scorpio, he never gives up when he wants something (two examples would be his business and Blair) and although he comes off as calm, cool, and collected, his crazy unpredictable side shines through occasionally.

Chuck is jealous, manipulative, sensual, intuitive, and vindictive. He knows how to sting those who hurt him, including those he loves the most – Whether it’s with words or with actions, hell has no fury like a Scorpio scorned. But those who love Chuck, like Blair, understand him and know that all that anger and hurtful words stem from pain, and that his behavior is just a cry for help—again, all too Scorpio-like.

There were times when Chuck demonstrated his more awesome Scorpio qualities, too. For instance, the deep love he has for Blair. There is no other sign as emotionally intense and emotionally intelligent as a Scorpio. Chuck’s friends could always count on him to be there to save them, even if they turned their backs on him. He’s a true friend. He’s also hardworking, driven, successful, smart, passionate, ambitious, focused, honest, resourceful, romantic, and sexual. Just like my dad. Just kidding, just kidding. But my dad and I are both Scorpios so I know for a fact that Chuck is great in bed. Again, I’m sorry for the dark sense of humor. Another thing I’m addressing in therapy regularly.

Scorpios are most compatible with Cancer, Virgo, Pisces, and Taurus.

Cancer with Taurus rising: Blair Waldorf

It may seem like Serena is the It Girl, but no one runs New York like Blair does. She is the social queen of every club and she makes it known when she enters a room. Cancer is one of the most nurturing signs of the zodiac, and Blair is loyal to her core. She has a big heart, and is always there for her friends when they’re in need, regardless of how much they’ve hurt her.

Although she presents a tough exterior, Blair is no different from Chuck in that she is highly sensitive on the inside. Blair is a great planner and organizer. She’s also hardworking and loves to make something that she can call her own. She has a need to know everything and everyone’s business. She also needs constant attention and displays the manipulative emotional nature of a Cancer scorned when things don’t go her way.

Like a true Cancer, she is protective, which at times can come off as possessive, petty, and childish. She’s also no stranger to hitting below the belt to hurt someone, though she never takes it as far as a Scorpio (aka Chuck) would.

Her Taurus rising shows her calculative side, constant need for control and order, and sexual/sensual side (aka her and Chuck’s wild sex life aka my mum is a Taurus and my dad is a Scorpio so you know what that means!?!? More years of therapy for me for even bringing that up.), Blair has love for the finer and prettier things in life and like a true Cancer with a Taurus rising she loves to love and always follows her heart.

(Dorotha was probably a Taurus. Let me know in the comments below if you want me to write a more detailed description about this zodiac sign)

Cancers are most compatible with Scorpio, Taurus, Virgo, and Cancer.

Gemini: Nate Archibald

Nate is so laid back, you might forget he was even on the show if he weren’t so damn beautiful. Nate is social, gentle, charming, indecisive, and loyal. He cares for his friends and family, and is always ready for some fun. On the other hand, he’s also serious, opinionated, restless, and thoughtful like a true Gemini.

Gemini’s love to be free and are not the jealous type, which explains why he gets over his best friend sleeping with his girlfriend/ex-girlfriend a little too fast, but I guess to his defense they’ve only been going out since they were kids. Then again, he also slept with his girlfriend’s best friend (aka Serena). Then again, who hasn’t??!! (Chuck?) Ahhhhh, high school! Am I right?? So relatable.

Like a Gemini, Nate isn’t really all there when it comes to his feelings. It’s pretty rare to see much emotion in him, but when he cries from those beautiful blue eyes, we’re there for it. Sometimes we cry too because it’s not fair he got blessed with such beautiful eyelashes and eyebrows while the rest of us girls had to work for it, but whatever I’m happy for him. I guess.

Geminis are most compatible with Libra, Aquarius, Leo, and Aries.

Leo: Jenny Humphrey

Jenny manages to constantly rise up and be the center of attention. She even almost wins a war against MOTHER F*CKING BLAIR when she’s just a freshman! She is truly invincible, like a Leo. Jenny can never be a follower for too long since she is meant to lead while always staying true to herself, regardless of whom it may upset.

Like the Leo that she is, Jenny’s goal since day one is to not only fit in but to be admired and recognized by the Upper East Side, and she’ll stop at nothing to reach that goal. Being a Leo and a teenager, she can be self-absorbed, always looking out for number one. She’s also passionate in everything she does, which causes her to sometimes throw unnecessarily dramatic temper tantrums, which she later regrets.

As a typical Leo, she also tends to let fame and fortune get to her head too easily. She loves attention and welcomes admiration, but she lets her emotions get the best of her at times. Like a strong lion, she rarely backs down—until she does (but it takes her a while to get there).

Leos are most compatible with Gemini, Aries, Sagittarius, and Libra.

Aquarius: Vanessa Abrams

Horoscope signs aside, I felt sorry for this character. She might as well have had one eye, a hunchback, and a wooden leg because she was always every boy’s last resort on the show! This beauty is artistic, loyal, stubborn, innovative, honest, original, independent, clever, and calm under pressure. She doesn’t display many emotions, so she comes off as a bit detached at times just like a true Aquarius.

Vanessa basically had the worst luck on this show with her love life, so it’s no surprise she eventually left the show because her character deserved more than to become some annoying villain everyone hated. It didn’t make sense. What did make sense here were her obvious daddy issues. She clearly didn’t love herself enough given how she constantly kept waiting on guys who only noticed her when it was convenient for them.

Aquarius is most compatible with Gemini, Libra, and Sagittarius.

Sagittarius: Carter Baizen

Carter is handsome and charming, which is no surprise he manages to score Blair and Serena at one point. As a Sagittarius, Carter is fun, wild, independent, very outgoing, and exciting. He is also highly social, friendly, adventurous and lives his life a little bit too much to the fullest as we see this character struggle with a gambling problem and bad decisions.

This sign is unemotional and not clingy and loves their freedom. One cool thing about this sign though is that they can be very spontaneous which leads to them never really stay at the same spot for too long yet, they are always able to pick up right where they left off.

Sagittarius is most compatible with Aquarius, Leo, Libra and Aries.

Capricorn: Eric van der Woodsen

Honestly, who cares what sign he is. Like, I forgot he was even on the show. Just kidding. I’m just hungry.

Anyway, if I had to guess, I would say, he’s a Capricorn. Eric can sometimes come across as a bit too serious for his age and very independent. He is someone that doesn’t care what people think of him which explain how he was able to come out during a high school party that he secret boyfriend was having just to expose his secret boyfriend for lying about being gay.

Capricorns are very hard working, practical, patient, stubborn, cautious, and disciplined which also means they are normally the DD at parties versus the party animal. Eric is also honest, responsible, cares for his family and is someone people can easily rely on, from advice to help.

Capricorn is most compatible with Taurus, Virgo, Scorpio and Pisces.

Aries: Juliet Sharp

Juliet had a goal and a plan from the first time Nate set his eyes on her. Juliet is confident, bold, independent, a leader, fiery, bossy and spontaneous. Like a true Aries, she is often the seducer in the game of love, she does not get attached too easily, can be insensitive to others, is very ambitious, highly motivated, and is someone who rarely takes no for an answer.

To be honest I don’t care for this character, I just wrote about her because I didn’t want to exclude Aries out from this list.

Aries is most compatible with Gemini, Leo, Virgo and Sagittarius.

•••

And there you have it, folks: The zodiac signs of all the main and some forgetful Gossip Girl characters. I’m about 6+ years late to this party but like most parties I attend, I’m just here for the food and I can’t wait to leave!

Till next time…..

Xoxo Gossip Girl I mean Daddy Issues I mean Violet Benson I mean who am I….TC mark

Read more: thoughtcatalog.com

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

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I love to eat. Like, really love it. In fact, it’s such a high priority when we travel that not only do I make a list of things I want to do and see wherever we’re going, I also make a list of all the foods I want to try while we’re there. However, unless you’ve traveled with me in person, you’d probably never know this little tidbit about me.

I’ve never been particularly skilled at food photography, and I’m always too impatient when my food arrives to even think about risking a cold meal in order to get some practice in. As such, my food photos when traveling are usually little more than hastily snapped, often blurry iPhone images. Certainly nothing worthy of sharing on the blog, that’s for sure.

I decided to make an exception in Hoi An, though, and actually put some effort into documenting my meals before frantically digging in like a half-starved mountain lion. One, because Vietnamese food is my favorite and I really want to be able to share my love of it with you. And two, well, this one’s a little more selfish – I wanted higher quality images to remember these amazing meals by.

Having heard that Hoi An was somewhat of a foodie destination in Vietnam, I arrived with dangerously high expectations for the meals I was about to consume. And how many times did I end up disappointed? ZERO. Chefs in Hoi An really know their way around a spice rack. We’ve traveled to quite a few places over the past five years, but nowhere have we enjoyed the food more than we did here. Because I want you to have the same heavenly food experience in Hoi An, I took one for the team and sacrificed a few hot noodles to create this list of the best foods to try in Hoi An, plus give you a few tips on where to eat them. No need to thank me. It’s all part of the job. 🙂

8 of the Best Foods to Try in Hoi An

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

1. Cao Lau – Hoi An’s Signature Noodles & Pork

What Is It? The dish Hoi An is most famous for consisting of thick rice noodles, savory slices of barbecued pork, bean sprouts, fresh greens, and crunchy crackers served with a light sauce.

Why You Should Try It: Because Hoi An is the only place you’ll be able to try a truly authentic bowl of cao lau. Supposedly, to be considered true cao lau, the water used to make the noodles must come from a very specific well located in Hoi An and the ash used for soaking the noodles must come from trees grown on the nearby Cham Islands. While I think this is likely more old wives’ tale than actual practice these days, it’s always fun to sample a local dish in the place it was first created, and in this case, it’s so good you’ll probably want to sample it more than once!

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

Where to Try Cao Lau in Hoi An – Mot

Finding cao lau in Hoi An won’t be an issue. Most restaurants and cafes have it on the menu at varying prices. Our favorite spot for cao lau was a small, open-air cafe in the Ancient Town called Mot. Here, you can enjoy a delicious bowl of cao lau for just 30,000 VND (a little over $1 USD). Besides the excellent prices, the quirky decor, and the convenient location, the other thing we loved about Mot was the owner, a friendly elderly lady who, when she wasn’t busy serving, always came around to talk to customers. Despite wanting to try as many different places as we could, we found ourselves back at Mot a second time just because we felt so welcome there.

Mot Address: 150 Tran Phu, Hoi An

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

2. Com Ga – Vietnamese Chicken Rice

What Is It? White rice cooked with pandan leaves in chicken broth and served topped with tender, shredded chicken, fresh coriander, and onions.

Why You Should Try It: Accustomed to the milder flavors and more simple presentation of Singapore’s chicken rice, we were pleasantly surprised to discover Vietnam’s version to be far more fragrant and colorful. There is an abundance of flavor packed into this relatively simple dish as well! Another upside – if you’re traveling with picky eaters (aka: kids), you can ask that the onions and greens be left off, easily making this a child-approved meal.

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

Where to Try Com Ga in Hoi An – Wind & Moon Restaurant

Com Ga Ba Buoi in the city center is generally considered to be the best place to taste this zesty dish in Hoi An. Unfortunately, we didn’t get the opportunity to try it there, but we did discover a great restaurant along An Bang Beach, Wind & Moon, that served what we considered to be an excellent plate of com ga. Besides, if I had the choice to enjoy a meal with this view or in a crowded street cafe, I would choose the scenic view every time.

Wind & Moon Address: An Bang Beach, Quang Nam

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

3. Banh Bao Vac – “White Rose” Shrimp & Pork Dumplings

What Is It? Delicate rice dumplings filled with either shrimp or pork and sprinkled with scallions and crispy fried onions, served with a dipping sauce of shrimp broth, sugar, lemon juice, and chilies on the side.

Why You Should Try It: Given the nickname ‘white rose’ due to their appearance, banh bao vac are little taste explosions. Even without the dipping sauce, they pack a punch thanks to the many spices the shrimp and pork are cooked with. Supposedly, the recipe for white rose is a highly guarded secret and all of the dumplings sold in the city are made by the one family who knows it, so if you want to try them, you’ll have to do so while in Hoi An!

Where to Try White Rose in Hoi An

If you want to try banh bao vac directly from the source, you can pull up a chair at White Rose Restaurant where Tran Tuan Ngai and family serve their secret recipe. However, you’ll be able to find them much cheaper elsewhere in town, and if the legend is true, you’ll still be eating the exact same dumplings you would at White Rose. We loved to have these for a little snack in between meals and our favorite ones came from the same place we first tried com ga – Wind & Moon Restaurant on An Bang Beach.

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

4. Ca Phe – Vietnamese Coffee

What Is It? A strong cup of coffee balanced by the addition of sweetened condensed milk.

Why You Should Try It: Well, it’s served in a unique contraption for starters. When you ask for a cup of ca phe in Hoi An, you’re handed a coffee cup topped with a phin filter (French drip) that’s been filled with coarsely ground, dark-roasted coffee beans and hot water. The hot water slowly trickles through the filter, and after about 4-5 minutes, you’ll have a freshly brewed cup of coffee in your hands. Secondly, it’s deliciously strong. To truly drink it Vietnam-style, be sure to stir in the sweetened condensed milk provided on the side.

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

Where to Try Vietnamese Coffee in Hoi An – Reaching Out Teahouse

Even if you don’t drink coffee, it’s still worth paying Reaching Out Teahouse a visit. The coffee and tea they serve is top of the line and their teahouse and back patio gardens are beautiful, but what really makes this place special is their mission. Every person employed at Reaching Out Teahouse is either deaf or unable to speak. When you visit the teahouse, you’ll be asked to keep your voice low and you’ll communicate with your servers via written messages and visual cues. Located in the center of the city, visiting Reaching Out Teahouse is a one-of-a-kind experience, and a wonderful way to support the deaf community in Hoi An.

Reaching Out Teahouse Address: 131 Tran Phu, Hoi An

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

5. Banh Mi – Vietnamese Baguette Sandwich

What Is It? A hot, crusty baguette spread with homemade mayonnaise, signature sauces, and pâté, then filled with your choice of juicy meats and fresh vegetables. Vegetarian options are also available.

Why You Should Try It: If you’ve ever wanted to try something so tasty that it will quite likely cause you to drool as you’re eating it, do yourself a favor and try a bahn mi. Easily customizable to your own tastes, I can’t imagine anyone not enjoying the unique blend of flavors in these sandwiches. Besides being a super tasty lunch easily eaten on the go, banh mi is also ridiculously cheap. You’ll find banh mi commonly sold throughout the city for 20,000 VND or less. That’s under $1 for what may be the best sandwich of your life. Totally worth it.

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

Where to Try Banh Mi in Hoi An – Banh Mi Phuong

It doesn’t look like much from the outside, but the long queue that stretches halfway down the street is an excellent indicator of the treasures that await inside Banh Mi Phuong. Regarded as the best banh mi in Hoi An, I can personally attest to the fact that the sandwiches served here are well worth the wait. (The line moves relatively quick, but there’s also seating inside if you want to sit down and order.) I recommend making this one of your first food stops in Hoi An, because chances are you’re going to love it so much you’ll want to return again before you leave.

Banh Mi Phuong Address: 2B Phan Chu Trinh, Hoi An

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

6. Bun Bo Nam Bo – Beef Noodles With Veggies

What Is It? Thin strips of marinated beef, stir-fried, and then tossed with soft vermicelli noodles, vegetables, and nuoc cham – a blend of fish sauce, lime juice, chilies, and a little sugar.

Why You Should Try It: Ever so slightly spicy due to the chilies, the marinated beef in this dish is out of this world. A feast for the eyes and the stomach, I wasn’t even all that hungry when I ate this and I still finished the whole plate. (A by-product of having a long list of foods to try in a short amount of time meant my stomach forgot how to feel hungry in Hoi An.) The veggies included with bun bo nam bo seem to differ depending on who’s making it, and sometimes you might even get crushed peanuts sprinkled on top, but regardless of which version you receive, it’ll be a hearty, filling dish perfect for dinner after a busy day sightseeing.

Where to Try Bun Bo Nam Bo in Hoi An

Often called beef noodle salad (to differentiate between beef noodle soup), this is another dish you’ll find served all over the city. I had the opportunity to try bun bo nam bo just once in Hoi An and that was at Wind & Moon Restaurant on An Bang Beach. Most restaurants in the Ancient Town have it on the menu as well, though. If you want to go the cheapest route, on the outskirts of Hoi An, you’ll find street food stalls that only serve this dish. If you decide to give bun bo nam bo a go here, I recommend choosing the one with the longest queue.

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

7. Pho – Vietnamese Noodle Soup

What Is It? The national dish of Vietnam – a healthy and highly tasty broth-based soup consisting of rice noodles, herbs, assorted vegetable garnishes, and either beef (pho bo) or chicken (pho ga).

Why You Should Try It: It’s the perfect introduction to Vietnamese food. Mild, but not the least bit bland thanks to a genius combination of herbs and spices, enjoying a bowl of pho in Vietnam is like eating pizza in Italy, sushi in Japan, or burgers in the US – you just have to do it, no matter how cliche it might feel. It can be a little tricky scooping up the broth with a soup spoon in one hand and maneuvering chopsticks in the other for the noodles, but once you get the hang of it, you’ll be full of yummy pho (and self-pride at your newly acquired skills) in no time.

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

Where to Try Pho in Hoi An – Cham Cham Restaurant

Typically eaten for breakfast by locals, you’re still free to order pho any time of day you like. Since breakfast was provided at our hotel, we had no qualms about ordering pho often for lunch and dinner. The best pho we tried was at Cham Cham Restaurant, located along the waterfront in An Hoi (the little island across the Thu Bon River from Ancient Town). Popular with locals and tourists alike, we received great service at Cham Cham and prices were extremely reasonable for the area. The best part, however, was definitely the gorgeous view of the river and the lights of Ancient Town we had from our table.

Cham Cham Address: 49 Nguyen Phuc Chu, Hoi An

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

8. Mot Tea – Iced Herbal Tea

What Is It? A refreshing herbal tea concoction of lemon, lemongrass, ginger, honey, and various herbs.

Why You Should Try It: Because it gets murderously hot in Hoi An in the summer and you’re going to need something to cool you down as you make your way from site to site in the Ancient Town. Sold out of a giant tea cauldron at the front window of Mot (yep, the same cafe I recommend you get your cao lau), Mot tea costs just 10,000 VND a cup (under 50 cents) and comes complete with lotus petals and kaffir leaves, nature’s version of the paper cocktail umbrella. FYI: No need to grab a table to order Mot tea, just queue up at the window!

The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

Where to Eat on a Budget in Hoi An – Central Market Food Hall

While it’s likely everywhere you’ll eat in Hoi An will feel like eating on a budget since everything costs so little in Vietnam, there is one place you’re always guaranteed a cheap meal – the Central Market Food Hall. The Central Market is Hoi An’s biggest and busiest street market selling all sorts of fresh fish, fruits, and vegetables for reasonable prices. If it’s a hot meal you’re after, though, head into the Food Hall where you’ll find an abundance of stalls serving up many of the things included on this list. A bonus for travelers: Prices are marked on every stall, so you won’t have to worry about being charged the ‘tourist price’ for your cao lau.

Do you love Vietnamese food as much as I do? I’d love to hear your favorite dishes!

First time in Hoi An? Check out our complete city guide here!

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The Best Foods To Try In Hoi An + Where To Eat Them

Read more: thewanderblogger.com

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