Partner Agency interview - Valerian Markarov from GOLDEN BRIDGE International Education Center

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 English UK Newsflash, our guest is Dr Valerian Markarov, Managing Director of the Golden Bridge International Education Centre in Tbilisi, Georgia, which he co-founded in 2005. The organisation joined the Partner Agency Scheme in November 2011.

Why did you want to join the Partner Agency Scheme?  

We have been working with more than 50 English UK member centres and our internal Code of Conduct is quite similar to English UK's Agency Code of Conduct. The Partner Agency scheme seeks to identify and recognise the most trustworthy international agents working with English UK member centres and so we are very proud to be an English UK Partner Agency and to adhere to the principles of its Code of Conduct.

The Partner Agency Scheme is exclusive to successful and high quality agencies. It's not only an extra mark of quality, it is also a big name to have linked to our agency.  

Are you finding it useful to be an English UK Partner Agency? Do your clients and the centres you work with notice that you have achieved Partner Agency status?

Being recognised by the scheme is very useful as we are receiving information on educational, management and marketing matters. We are accessing regular news updates through the monthly newsletter. Our agency's profile and contact details are published on the English UK website and it is referring students and English UK members directly to us. Additionally, we are receiving invitations to English UK organised events and inward missions. Therefore, I am finding it useful to be part of the scheme without a doubt.

Our students and clients obviously notice it. We mention it on our website and social networks such as Twitter or Facebook pages, and we have the English UK Partner Agency Certificate in the office. People come in and see it and many of them know what it means because they have seen this name linked to the best language centres.

We have been using the Partner Agency logo on our website, brochures and company letters, so our clients and the schools we work with easily notice that we are a partner agency of English UK. Especially the schools in the UK are aware that we have fulfilled certain criteria including five references from English UK members where we already send students.

Do you like working more closely with English UK?

I like working with the English UK team, who we met at StudyWorld last year. They are really nice and professional and I'd like to work even more closely with them. We trust this partnership will mark the beginning of long and mutually profitable business relationship.

Can you tell me a little about your work as an agent?

GOLDEN BRIDGE International Education Center was established in 2005 in Tbilisi, and we have helped hundreds of students to apply for study abroad programmes in the UK, USA, Canada and EU countries. We are recognised as one of the most reputable organisations in Georgia, offering exchange programmes and education assistance for studying abroad, as well as Cambridge English exam preparation and ELT and assessment services at our Study Center and visa consulting.

Our team consists of professional and internationally-qualified education counsellors and programme coordinators, language instructors and visa consultants who ensure that our clients get the most valuable and outstanding services. Two of our employees have British Council Certificates for education advisors.

We use our wide experience and expertise to provide our students with many free services including counselling on overseas education and accommodation, help with visas and interviews, and pre-departure orientation. We also monitor their learning process.

We really enjoy it very much. The information provided to our students is accurate and appropriate, and every effort is taken to ensure that course arrangements sold to the client are compatible to their needs. That is the reason that a lot of our new customers comes to us through recommendation of our previous students and it makes our business enjoyable.

What do you like best about your job?

GOLDEN BRIDGE was established by professionals who were inspired by their personal experience of studying and working abroad to facilitate going abroad for people seeking better education, jobs and lifestyle, and aspiring Georgian students and graduates.

We are happy to offer the unique experience of living and studying in another culture and to enable young people to develop the skills and awareness that will enhance their future potential. The mission is to bring people of diverse cultures together, so those who participate gain a greater knowledge and understanding of one another - and we like what we do.

We are looking for bright, open minded, flexible young people who are willing to move outside their comfort zones and who want to learn about the world and themselves. If people are dreaming about studying or working abroad, we don't want them to miss out on that: we are at their service with a smile and a friendly word!


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