Dancing on buses and dinner in a convent: just an ordinary English UK Fair
12 May 2014

Dancing on buses and dinner in a convent, it's just an ordinary English UK Fair. Sightseeing - with a twist - is one of the specialities of English UK Fairs, where the social programme helps to bond agents and educators after their formal daytime meetings.

But the Cartagena fair's night on the town must qualify as one of the most riotous ever, with delegates encouraged to dance on brightly painted 'chiva' open-sided buses as their drivers toured the outer city.

"It was rather amazing - the buses had music playing as they drove around the city. On mine they were choosing one person in each row to dance -- and as we had several buses, the drivers were having fun trying to overtake each other as well," said Roz Rozidor, international manager for English UK.

She added: "It was a bit of a contrast to the next bit of sightseeing in the old city, which is a World Heritage site, and which we did in horse-drawn carriages.

The evening was a marked contrast to the final night's gala dinner, which took place in the stunning courtyard of the Convent La Popa, with a guided tour of the chapel for those who were interested.

"It was a lovely, relaxed fair," said Roz, adding: "Everyone was in a serious, working mood and there were some very productive meetings - but they also had a great time in the evenings and it was really good fun for everyone. Since that's the unique selling point of our fairs - that we make sure everyone works and plays together to build really deep relationships -- we think it went really well," said Roz.

The 42 agencies and 34 English UK members attending the fair, based at the Hilton Cartagena, were also positive about the event. Kieran Hayde, of Wimbledon School of English, said: "This was my first time at an English UK fair and it has been a lovely experience.  It's non-stop work and entertainment but it allows us to take advantage of every moment."

Melissa Harrison, of Intercultura de El Salvador was also on her first English UK Fair - and represented the first agency from her country ever to attend one of our fairs. She said: "It was a great experience to get in touch with educators and agents. I had the opportunity to meet with the contacts we wanted to work with. The extra activities were excellent, and I felt everything was so well organised."

Ivan Tagliaferro, Managing Director of English Experience Intercâmbios, Brazil, added: "This is my second English UK fair and I can say, without a doubt, these fairs are the very best in the market and have generated the most business for us."

 Attendees included representatives from three regional British Council offices and agencies from Latin American countries including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, El Salvador, Mexico, Panama, Peru, Venezuela, as well as two London-based organisations specialising in this market.

As always with English UK fairs, all the delegates stayed, ate and had their formal appointments in the same luxury hotel - the Hilton Cartagena - and socialised together in the evenings. They enjoyed a welcome dinner in the hotel's tropical gardens on the first night, sightseeing in Cartagena in the second, and a formal gala dinner in the convent to end the Fair.

Click here to see an album of pictures from this fair in our image gallery.

The next English UK Fair for the region will be held in Santiago in late April 2015. Look out for details and registration at www.englishukfairs.com in the coming months.

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