Partner agency interview: Katsiaryna Khinevich

Katsiaryna Khinevich is head of the international department and programmes at Streamline Education Agency which grew out of a language school in Minsk, Belarus. The agency also has offices in Brest and Mogilev.

How did you become a study travel agent?

We are part of a really big well-known language school in Belarus, and our agency started in 2011 when we started sending groups of students to the UK with our teachers acting as the group leaders. We have around seven thousand students in our school.

I love my job: I started as a college teacher but I saw something I couldn't provide. Now I am in an agency I can provide that.

What are students looking for?

Most of our clients want authentic language experience. They want to see the country, to see real people, to get real-life experience and to realise real-life English exists as part of the real world. They want immersion, they want to see some famous sights and get closer to history and culture.

Parents want their kids to develop their communication. Our students want to move their theoretical knowledge into something more practical and to get confidence. Students can have a pretty good level of English but no chance to speak.

What are your most popular programmes?

The UK is the main destination for language courses, foundation programmes, Masters programmes and first degrees, and we also send students to boarding schools. London is the most popular destination, mainly because it's easy to get there with direct flights. We offer programmes to other places to broaden horizons.

What are your current challenges?

The biggest challenge is not everyone is aware that there's opportunity there. Unfortunately we have to educate people on the value of education. At times they don't understand how much they get in return or there are unrealistic expectations, especially parents who get ideas about the UK or US or Spain from movies or books. Belarussians don't travel that much.

What motivates your students to want to come to the UK?

For all those students who have been studying English for several years with textbooks with pictures of Big Ben and historical facts, they want to try it. The UK is also popular with young people because of its music, film and sports.

Britain is a wonderful multicultural country and that is a great experience for them.

What made you join the Partner Agency Scheme?

We joined in 2012 – it's like a challenge, a goal you achieve and it's an opportunity to prove to yourself that you do the job in the right way. It's also a great opportunity to be part of the best representatives of the industry. It makes agencies look more trustworthy in the eyes of our clients.

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