Good relationships are at the heart of learning, which is why StudyWorld London is such an important part of the international industry.
Despite worldwide economic problems, there was a positive atmosphere at the 40th anniversary event in September, as new partnerships were created and old ones renewed.
Annie Wright, Deputy Chief Executive of English UK which organises StudyWorld, said she was delighted with the success of this year’s event.
"There was a real buzz about the halls this year and more than 95 per cent of the appointment slots were filled. We’ve had very good feedback from schools and agents alike. It looks like a lot of business was done at the event," she said.
More than 835 people from 60 different countries attended the 40th StudyWorld at London’s Hilton Metropole Hotel on 7-9 September.
Some special events were laid on, including gifts for partnerships between several agents and schools which had lasted up to 40 years.
Schools and agents also got the chance to quiz Barbara Woodward of the UK Border Agency, who is responsible for implementing the sometimes-controversial new visa regulations.
Most of the audience were impressed by her willingness to listen to their views, and her promise to look again at contentious issues including the refusal to grant visas to beginners in English and apparent lack of specialist knowledge of some Border Agency inspectors in schools.
But at the heart of StudyWorld is its system of one-to-one appointments between agents and language centres. More than 90 per cent of the educators' appointment slots were taken, which made it an intensive two days for the staff involved.
Most attendees were delighted with the event. Fran Henson, principal of Bishopstrow College, said: "I have been very pleased. All my appointments have been on time. There are people from all around the world. For me to go overseas doesn’t make economic sense but to stay in the UK and go to something like this is ideal. And it’s so well-organised."
John Crick, of ACE in Australia, was also delighted. "StudyWorld really comes into its own now I am working in Sydney," he said. "When I was in the UK I just used to get cheap flights round Europe to meet agents. This is great – and it’s very well organised."
For Study UK member Brink Gardner, Executive Director of Blake Hall College in London, it was his first time at StudyWorld. He said: "It’s very encouraging in terms of potential business. StudyWorld is extremely well organised and the programme is very well thought out. I will probably be back next year."
Exhibitors were also delighted with the potential for business. Vijay Tharsan of Expressways said: "It’s my first StudyWorld and the two things I am most impressed by are the quality of people and quantity of people. They are very interested in what we are doing. It’s very encouraging and there are huge business opportunities for us."
From left to right, top to bottom: delegate registration; Barbara Woodward of UK Border Agency giving a presentation; StudyWorld Welcome Dinner; one-on-one appointments; Cambridge ESOL stand; 40th Anniversary Evening Reception
by Susan Young (firstname.lastname@example.org)