Partner Agency interview - Lasse Josephsen from Grupo Viva y Aprenda

As the Partner Agency Scheme grows, we thought you'd like to find out a little more about our recognised partner agencies.

In this issue of the Partner Agency Newsletter, our guest is Lasse Josephsen. Lasse founded Grupo Viva y Aprenda in Bogota, Colombia, ten years ago. The agency joined the Partner Agency Scheme in early 2013.

How did you become an agent?

I've been in Colombia for about 20 years but I am a Danish citizen. I started teaching English many years ago and the British Council helped put me in touch with schools in the UK and that was how I got started. I have two children and a Colombian wife. I started little by little and registered as an agency a bit more than 10 years ago."

Where do you send students?

The UK was always our biggest market and we placed maybe 70 per cent of our students there but the change in work rights means we are not sending so many: it's had a real impact on numbers going to the UK. We're selling more expensive schools in the UK but now our market is much more in Australia.

But the UK is one of the destinations we like for students and promote very strongly.

Students who are going to the UK are more often choosing to go outside London, to Bournemouth, Brighton, Cambridge and Oxford. Students can't work so they find it cheaper out of London with its higher transportation and living costs.

I think what students are looking for right now is more than general English. They want to learn English and accountancy or engineering, they want to go home with not just English and that's where I think there's an interesting market for schools. I like doing a little package if it's possible.

What made you want to become an English UK Partner Agency?

English UK being made of the old associations ARELS and Baselt meant we wanted to get it into our portfolio. It's recognised by students and it's important being part of it, a member of the team.

It's good to be a member of the partner agency scheme because of the recognition it gets. Students do recognise it, it's almost as strong as the British Council. I wanted to join and be recognised as part of the association and get the recognition with students: they can see we are a quality agency, It makes you a little bit different.

What do you like about being an agent?

I like helping students. I get great pleasure when I talk to students and parents, and feel happy and proud to help students and to get their semester or year organised.

It's very satisfactory. I like to be part of of their lives somehow. We take very good care of our students: it's not like a mass agency at all.

We would love to hear from other recognised partner agencies who would like to be interviewed. Please contact

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