Learning to waltz in Vienna was a dream come true for one language school owner at the most recent English UK Fair.
This was one of four evening activities -- which included a concert in one of Mozart's homes, and a brief history of the coffee shop, brought to life with cake -- which were allocated to guests at random and announced minutes before they happened.
"It was just a fantastic bit of luck that one of the delegates who ended up on the waltzing trip was Christine Goodwin, of the Northumbria School of English -- she told me afterwards I'd helped her tick an item off her bucket list by organising her learning to waltz in Vienna," said Roz Rozidor, who led the trip for English UK.
Christine also got to dance with English UK's incoming chief executive, Eddie Byers, who attended the Fair as part of his mission to understand the organisation and the industry before formally taking over in May.
The waltzing -- and the other typically Viennese activities laid on during the evening -- were part of the Fair's trademark social programmes which help to make them so popular with agents and educators alike.
As with all of English UK's small regional fairs, the event combined a limited numbers of educators, quality agents and an inclusive programme of social events, seminars and two days of one-to-one appointments to give delegates the best possible opportunity to get to know each other and develop long-lasting, productive business partnerships.
The Vienna fair was attended by 34 English UK members, a small delegation from Study UK and 47 regional agents from 11 countries, with the first-ever delegate from Montenegro joining countries including Austria, Russia, Ukraine, Czech Republic, and Bosnia-Herzegovina.
The event followed a pattern which has proved very popular with agents and educators alike, of daytime seminars and meetings based in the same luxury hotel where everyone stays, and two formal and one informal evening events attended by everyone.
The Vienna Fair was based in the luxurious city centre Austria Trend Hotel Savoyen Vienna, a historic building which once housed the Austrian State Printing House and where rooms are named after the family of a local prince.
Delegates were welcomed to the city with a reception and dinner at the grand residence of the British Ambassador before starting formal business the following day.
After a day hard at work in seminars and one-to-one appointments, the party split into four to enjoy their informal evening out, starting with themed city walks and activities, including the waltz class, a private tour of a Hapsburg museum, coffee and cake with a history of Viennese coffee shops and a tour of a Mozart home with a very special concert. Finally, there was dinner in a traditional city restaurant with local specialities pork and Sachertorte, the rich chocolate cake.
On the last night of the fair, it was back to formality as the guests enjoyed a gala dinner at the Baroque Palais Daun-Kinsky, one of the most beautiful buildings in the city.
Delegates loved the Fair - literally, in the case of Akin Demir, of Candelas International in Turkey, who said: "It's my first time with you. I love it. I love you! I'll join as many of your fairs as possible."
Educator Sarah Tew of BEET in Bournemouth, said: "I thought the fair was an excellent event, in a perfect location. The workshop itself was brilliantly organised and the EUK team were on hand at all times to ensure that everything ran smoothly. The entertainment in the evenings was thoroughly enjoyable and the venues were incredible! I was very pleased with everything, it's very difficult to gauge the success of meetings initially, but I did feel very positive overall."
Montenegran agent Richard Winford, of London Bridge, said it was so good that he had wanted the fair to continue. He added: "Often useful contacts made are those which are unexpected and not forecast or pre-scheduled from reading their profiles, so the social contacts and gaps between appointments also proved to be of value."
It wasn't just the waltzing that fulfilled ambitions for English UK members. Joe Aquilina, of ClubClass Language Schools, commented: "Loved the trip to Mozart House with the private piano concert at the end."
Click here to see an album of pictures from this fair in our image gallery.
The next English UK Fair for the region will be held in Budapest from Tuesday 3 - Friday 6 March 2015 at the Kempinski Hotel Corvinus Budapest.
Full details and registration will go live online at www.englishukfairs.com at the end of March.
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