Nilufer Pyper is based in London. She set up Rex Education Consultancy after many years working as an education consultant for the Turkish Embassy.
How did you become an agent?
I started working with the London Turkish Embassy's educational department in 1986. I used to place government sponsored students in schools and universities throughout the UK. It was demanding but fun – I visited lots of schools.
After I left I opened up Rex and began working for myself.
What do you do with Rex?
I travel a lot and see lots of students and families. My business is more word-of-mouth; I get embassy staff sending students to me and I place them at schools in the UK. It's very rare to get groups, it's more individuals.
Embassy staff move around the world a lot, and I send children to boarding schools, language schools and universities.
What are the motivations for coming to the UK?
It's a must to have English language to get anywhere in any business now. If you can't speak English it means you aren't doing well in your business in Turkey, and translation is an extra expense. That means quite a lot of businessmen come over, and I do quite a lot of Business English as well.
Education is very important in Turkey. A lot of parents would sacrifice holidays or insurance or things for themselves to make sure their child is educated to the best of their ability. And English is an important part of this.
They will say 'I want my child to go to Oxford and Cambridge'. It's prestigious, and it's what they know. You have to tell them England is more than Oxford and Cambridge, that there are fantastic schools out there which will give them the same level of education - but it's what they hear and read.
How do people see the UK?
Oxford and Cambridge. Also, they think it's a bed of roses, that everything is fantastic and easy here.
But it's like every other country because you've got to work hard to get what you want. It is important that it is very prestigious to study in the UK. It looks fantastic on the CV and opens many doors, especially in Turkey, when you say you've studied in the UK and you can speak English.
Do you like being an agent?
I do enjoy it. It's so rewarding to see students go to the next stage or graduate - it actually brings tears to my eyes, I'm so happy with it. I've been to many graduations when I was at the Embassy: it's such a rewarding thing to see somebody work so hard and achieve and get what they want.
Do you find the Partner Agency Scheme useful?
Yes – it puts me in touch with lots of people and it's been a great help.
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