The English UK Regional Fair, Latin America 2017 returned to the historic Argentine capital, Buenos Aires, earlier this month: six years after English UK's last foray in the city.
Latin America accounts for 11% of English language learning student weeks in the UK and, in the last annual statistical report, English UK members identified Argentina as a growing source market.
At this workshop, organised by English UK and supported by the British Council, language teaching centres from the UK joined study abroad agents from across the Latin American region from Tuesday 4 April to Thursday 6 April. "It's the perfect opportunity to meet high quality agents from all around the continent," said Anna Thatcher from Loxdale English Centre.
Delegates praised the overall organisation, the programme and convivial atmosphere, all of which helped to strengthen prospects of long-lasting productive partnerships.
While the raison d'etre was the seminars and appointment sessions, the evenings brought additional networking opportunities. Laura Mould from Oxford Spires Language School remarked: "This 'retreat-like' format is appealing to me and allows me to get to know people in a more rounded way", whilst first-time attendee Edgar Vallois from LAL Language Centres added "I made friends for life!"
At the fair's welcome dinner, held on the top floor of Hotel Emperado with magnificent views of the city, Country Director of the British Council in Argentina Mary Goodwin spoke of the importance of English as an international language. She highlighted the many attractions of the UK as a study abroad destination and the quality of a British education.
After a busy day of business meetings, the second evening was more relaxed, involving a memorable introduction to Argentine culinary culture. Together delegates helped each other create empanadas and alfajores (traditional sweets) before learning how to prepare Argentina's national tea, mate.
First-time attendee Mark Stephens from International House Bristol thought the fair was "very well organised and attended", adding that "we made a lot of new contacts and the general quality of the attending agents seemed to be good."
The study tour agents were equally impressed: English UK's events are the only agent workshops to exclusively focus on UK English language teaching (ELT). Yashira Ortega-Allen from Experiencia Overseas remarked that she made new partnerships with schools "with amazing locations and prices" which will help Panamanian students and their parents choose "this safe and high quality destination as the place to study and learn English abroad."
Over 90% of the agents reported that, as a result of their participation, they were 'a lot more confident' or 'more confident' about promoting the UK as a study travel destination. As Maria Mercere from Jóvenes en UK explained:
"English UK's overseas fairs are very enriching events; you feel a lot more confident transmitting information of the schools to prospective students... This is a collaborative event in which all of us become part of a great team: schools and agents and consultants! Thank you English UK for helping us grow and expand!"
Another first-time attendee, Maria Elena Hidalgo from Roundtrip Education, Argentina, agreed, saying that she would "highly recommend these fairs to any agent or institution who would like to increase their sales and learn more about the educational trends in the UK".
English UK's next UK ELT workshop overseas will take place in Hong Kong, bringing members together with ETOs from across the Asia Pacific in late November.