Which groups will travel first once Covid-19 restrictions ease? How can ELT centres and agents prepare to meet their needs?
More than 125 UK educators and 210 agents from 54 countries met at our first-ever StudyWorld summer to talk about these questions and discuss plans for the future.
“This was a fantastically successful event, even though we had hoped to have more certainty in the run-up to a post-Covid-19 summer with far fewer travel restrictions by now,” said our chief executive Jodie Gray. “Recovery will need everyone to work together, and StudyWorld summer showed us the willingness and positivity of agents and partners as well as educators to play their part. Over 2,500 meetings were booked, and our seminar programme was well-attended.
“It’s also interesting to see how StudyWorld has developed online. Educators tell us about the benefits of having a team approach to online meetings: they are bringing in colleagues for discussions with partners, sharing seminar links, asking junior colleagues to observe for training and they are able to respond immediately to follow-up requests.”
Perspectives on recovery
Russian agent Maria Shrvykova of Students International told the online young learner panel she was “really hopeful” of restrictions being eased. “Everyone is sick and tired of being stuck at home, everyone wishes to travel. People are getting impatient and torturing us with questions,” she said.
Alex Cann of International House London said he was anticipating lower volumes when recovery begins, perhaps closed groups with fewer excursions. “There are opportunities there for innovation and thinking outside the box… you might see domestic courses for UK markets integrating local students with international students. We will need to offer online for markets unable to travel and it would be nice to see a hybrid.”
Gabriela Ardito of VCE International, Argentina said: “StudyWorld summer has given us the possibility to exchange last-minute key information with our partners and try to develop strategies by making sure we stand together hand in hand and work collaboratively towards the recovery of our industry. VCE International – as well as other agencies in Argentina and the Latin America region – may not be able to send students to the UK this summer under the given circumstances. However, we are already thinking about July & August 2022.”
Educator perspectives on the event
Tregarran Percival of UKLC said: “The meetings themselves are more relaxed and agent engagement has been excellent. We have been able to meet with agents we might not normally, perhaps from developing markets or with newer agencies. We’ve met some wonderful new contacts as a result.
“We have been able to share the load between a larger team. A significant positive is the ability to have multiple members of the team on the same call, so you can better discuss multiple products or meet with all relevant contacts, which obviously we can’t do at physical events. Longer days to suit overseas markets has meant much more time available to meet with agents in Asia and South America than would normally be the case. There are so many advantages to these online Study World events, let’s hope this format continues beyond the return of the physical conferences.”
Giorgia Gonzales of Castle School of English in Brighton said: “The world has stopped for more than a year now and myself like everyone else needs to go back to normality. I missed meeting agents and starting new relationships with them and it proved to be a great event even online.”
The next online StudyWorld will be held 14-16 September 2021.