Friendly, focused and fun: StudyWorld returns to London
Over 250 educators, study travel operators and ELT service providers gathered together in central London last week for our first in-person StudyWorld since before the pandemic.
StudyWorld spring 2023 was billed as friendly and focused - and this year's format, with meetings, welcome reception and agents all hosted in the 5-star London Hilton Bankside - proved very popular. Many agents also attended fam trips sponsored by the Department for Business and Trade and a boat party hosted by Bell English.
Look out for the date for the next face-to-face StudyWorld to be announced soon, and in the meantime don't forget to book for our online edition taking place in September.
StudyWorld spring 2023 facts and figures
Relaxed, friendly and focused
The size of StudyWorld spring was popular with delegates who found it a relaxing, unstressful event. Mark Rendell, chair of English UK, said: "This event is about quality not quantity: I'm positive it's a good model. The vibe is focused and relaxed, professional and with a nice atmosphere."
He said it had been really important to talk to customers. "I feel inspired with lots of ideas on how to improve our marketing, new courses and useful bits of intelligence."
Chief Executive Jodie Gray told delegates: "English UK and StudyWorld have changed: we're leaner, friendly and focused. Thank you for trusting us, embracing change and keeping the spirit of StudyWorld alive in the last few years when we went online."
David Morgan of sponsor CES was also pleased with the meetings he had, adding: "It was better for us than when StudyWorld was really huge. I have really enjoyed it."
There was a lot of positivity from educators around the rebuilding of the ELT market post-Covid.
Laura Chen from the Cambridge Centre for Languages said: "I'm feeling good - it's the first in-person event we've done for four years. We're finally back to normal and that's something to be excited about. The industry is vibrant and it's a very persevering industry - people are very persistent. It's good to be back.
"I like this combination of agents - they are all people we would like to target. More markets are returning and in time it will happen."
Colin Stone of Concorde International said: "There's a buzz in the room and they're good agents. Every single person sitting in front of us has been keen to share ideas about how we are going to rebuild our business and grow," while Maria Donnell of Liverpool School of English thought the market was "picking up at the right pace".
Ahead of the competition for next year
Suzanne Littlejohn Brown of BLISS in Edinburgh, attending her first in-person StudyWorld, said: "It's fun and very well organised. Most agents are booking for 2024 which is fine: we're ahead of the competition for next year. This is my first in-person StudyWorld. I am delighted."
Duanes Santos of IH Belfast was also looking for new or more active agents for summer camps from 2024. "Most people I've met would be good for next year and that's my aim, but I've realised I'll get some last-minute bookings for July. I'm pleased I came."
Great agents, great venue
Diahann Byrne and Hollie Broom of Sidmouth International School were also enjoying StudyWorld. "I love the venue - it's a bit more intimate and the catering is great. The agents are good and we will definitely work with some of them. I normally do this on my own but it's much nicer to be with a colleague and we could do that by staying at the Premier Inn across the road which is literally two minutes away." They found it useful to meet service providers and Hollie, at her first StudyWorld, was struck by how positive it was.
Catrin Diamantino, chief executive of event sponsor Bell English, said StudyWorld had been a great way to showcase their London school. Transport links were great, as was having many nearby hotels in different price bands. "It's a really nice size event. You don't have to have a thousand agents - we have had really good meetings and we're happy with the quality."
Building agent portfolios
Agents new and old also enjoyed the event. Hulya Kahraman from Big Ben Study Abroad, said: "It's my first StudyWorld. It's not that crazy, I have something like 29 meetings. I really love it. It's selective. I've been to ICEF and it's crazy busy. This is very good. I've met some good schools so far - some I already know but also some new ones."
Munir Mamujee of m2r, which provides recruitment services as well as English tutoring, was delighted with his first StudyWorld. "By the time I am done I will have had 34 meetings and just about every single one has been positive. I will be coming again."
Dana Kuliaba of Ukrainian agency Navigation was looking for interesting juniors programmes, and had a full schedule. "People realise the war is going on for a number of years and are trying to continue to do activities that make them happy and their children happy… their children need to live their lives right now. This is our first in-person workshop in the UK - we need to give our parents current information we don't have about the UK education system. It is important for us to be in events like StudyWorld that help us grow with other educators."
Thailand-based agent Adrian Sharp was also delighted with his first StudyWorld. "It has opened up so many opportunities for us. We're a developing language school and agency… what I'm doing here is to build a portfolio so that where a student walks in and says they want to do something I have the contact. "
Serious and professional
Regular attendees also enjoyed the event. Audrey Montali said: "It's been good to touch base at this time of year and talk about prospective bookings - I have preferred it. The location is great."
Annalisa Cucco of Travel Studies Association Italy first attended StudyWorld over a decade ago. "We are meeting schools we've never met before though we've been sending students to them for 10 years. StudyWorld is part of our family now," while Fabio Bocci of Creative in Italy said: "It is more of an academic atmosphere here. It's serious and professional."Peter and Katie Hayes of @ihmanchester are delighted they took a stand at #studyworld. “We’ll have one from now on - the difference is amazing. There’s a lot more space, people passing stop for a chat and it’s almost doubled our number of meetings.”
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