This summer, a party of twelve agents from all over China travelled up the country, visiting eleven English UK member centres* between London and Edinburgh.
The trip was the fifth annual event designed to help Chinese agents develop working partnerships with English UK member schools. It combined meetings with educators, visits to language centres and some site seeing.
English UK International Manager and trip organiser Sarah Wang was very pleased that the group reacted so positively. "Every time we got back on the bus after visiting a centre, the agents were discussing exactly how they would market it and who to. They were saying it was like an MBA marketing class."
Agent Michael Ching of Beijing Normal University agreed: "This trip totally exceeded my expectations. Not only was I able to learn first-hand of the varieties of summer school in UK, but also I have learned so much from other delegation members."
From London to Edinburgh
The trip started in London with a small workshop and visits to three centres in and around the city.
The agents were particularly interested in a talk on child safety by safeguarding expert Nigel Heritage. They even suggested English UK should offer a full training programme for agents and group leaders.
The agents were also surprised by the number of different courses and styles available in the UK.
Agent Zhen Li of the China Peace International Tourism Co. Ltd said: "This trip has helped us develop a deeper understanding of the variety of UK summer programmes. We discovered new course types, such as home tuition, which has inspired our interests in promoting ELT products."
The mission then travelled via Cambridge, Nottingham, York and Newcastle to Scotland, where the group was welcomed with bagpipes and visited four centres.
Highlights along the way included the University of Nottingham's campus, the play centre at St Ethelburga's School, a demonstration class at ELC and sightseeing to the Angel of the North and around Edinburgh.
"Most of all the agents were focused on what each centre had to offer students, and how they could package that for the parents. They analysed everything, it was a great learning experience, and I think they are already working on marketing the courses," said Ms Wang, adding, "it was an excellent trip."
View our image gallery for the Summer Inward Mission 2014.
Each year, English UK invites groups of educational agents and consultants to the UK to take part in one of our Inward Missions or 'Fam trips.'
These trips to various destinations in the UK offer agents the chance to gain direct experience of English language education facilities in the UK and to meet representatives from English UK member institutions.
Find out more about English UK Inward Missions...
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*English UK member centres visited were Malvern House London; Frances King Teenager Centre; Language In Groups' Summer Centre; CLAC summer centre, Target Summer Centre; Stafford House Study Holidays, International House Newcastle; OSCARS summer centre; MLI summer centre; Hamilton School of English and ELC Language School Edinburgh.