Partner Agency interview: Halina Juszczyk

Halina Juszczyk runs Language Abroad in Dabrowa Gornicza, near Katowice in Poland

How did you become an agent?

"It's a long story. When first I started to learn English when I was 40 I came to learn with Regent Language Training a few times in London. I liked it very much - it's a very good idea to learn languages - then I sent my children to the UK to summer camps.

"I came to visit my daughter, she was at the time 11, she was crying. It was her nature, nothing wring with the camp and I came to visit her and spoke to the director and we had a small argument. He said who are you? I said I am the mother of your student. He said, what's your profession? I said I didn't come to discuss my profession… then I said I am a wife and a mother..  and I didn't want to tell him but I said I am a psychologist and I used to work with children so I can see very clearly what's wrong when I come. 

"He said would you like to work for me? I started to laugh because I could afford to send my children there, to one of the most expensive courses in the UK, I said no thank you. We had a discussion and he said I have a very special job for you. When I came back home and I told my husband he said our children are grown up, it's a new challenge for you. 

"We weren't in the EU at that time so it was a bit of a challenge to come and work with English people.. but I worked for him for ten summers as the welfare manager but something more, like a mystery shopper and I was responsible with the centre manager for everything. I spent every summer in the UK and when they are 18 I employed my children who had learned English and French.

"I collected all the children from my friends to come to the school, and the owner said 'why don't you work as an agency? You're sending all these students for nothing.' I knew this job from the other side, when I was the student and my children were the students, I know the UK and its habits so I thought it was a great idea. I started in January 2009."

What do you like best about being a study travel agent?

"The best bit meeting people and advising them because it's in my nature, my education and because I am a psychologist it's my nature to advise people and find the best for them. We ask the client questions - what they really want, how much money they can sacrifice, how long they want to go for, about the accommodation, and then you can prepare.  Because we have not so many clients, maybe 80 or more, we're able to work in this way and spend so much time. I give service, and the best to clients I can find."

What does your agency do?

"First came the junior market and that's the core of the business but not all we do now. I focus on the good summer camps and intensive courses not just normal summer courses with something special and very good quality teaching and accommodation. I try to get the best for them. The second area of education I am in is the boarding schools and private schools in the US and Canada and France. 

The third area is courses for professionals and we can offer a big portfolio. We work with lots of schools and if somebody wants a special course for engineers they come to us, or if somebody wants a different course they come to me. We will try to organise something for you and will never say no, it's impossible."

What made you join the Partner Agency Scheme?

"It's good for the image of the agents and means people can trust you more. In Poland people don't trust you and it's very important if they want to send to boarding school or secondary school. This means people can check that I have the insurance, that I'm on the government website. I would recommend the Partner Agency Scheme because it gives a good image and people can trust you more because they know English UK. I would definitely recommend it."

  •  If you would be interested in being interviewed for this feature, please contact Susan Young, English UK's Communications Consultant
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