StudyWorld online: 3,000 reasons to be hopeful
StudyWorld successfully took place online last week, attracting international agents from almost 50 markets who had 3,000 meetings with English UK and other UK educators.
The 300 delegates had a smooth transition to StudyWorld online, using the familiar scheduling software Marcom eSchedule PRO, which enables delegates to track and enter meetings and seminars easily.
Jodie Gray, Chief Executive of English UK, saw positivity in the success of the event, despite the extended uncertainty facing our sector:
"We're in a bleaker landscape than we'd hoped to be by now, but StudyWorld gave me reasons to be hopeful. So many organisations joined us to meet and discuss future possibilities. And I got a sense from our delegates that they were hopeful as well.
Addressing the event, I said we are dealing with enormous uncertainties and the future is unknown – but asked what would happen if we thought about possibilities rather than uncertainties. Just changing the word shifts our perceptions: StudyWorld hosted 60,000 minutes of meetings full of possibilities. Now we're looking forward to building on that with our new StudyWorld Summer event in March.
The programme included 18 expert seminars, focusing on markets, marketing, safeguarding and accreditation and also current and projected travel figures and trends, with a speech from Department for International Trade minister Graham Stuart.
The keynote address came from Richard Nicholls, head of research and forecasting at VisitBritain:
Feedback from delegates
Neil McLoughlin, Director of Buckswood Overseas Summer School:
"I did enjoy the event but I never expected it to be as tiring as the real thing. I have just finished my last meeting of the two days and I am exhausted! My meetings went very well and helped me to get a better understanding of how people are thinking about the short-term future of our industry.
I learnt some new and very useful things which will certainly help us to adapt and to be prepared for the ever-changing situation that we are currently facing. With Brexit and Covid-19, our industry has really been up against it over the last year and English UK have been there for us, and provided an excellent service in supporting its members and our industry as a whole."
Kevin McNally, Director of IH Torquay:
"We are in very challenging times with no indication of when things will even begin to get back to normal. Therefore, it is more important than ever to reconnect with industry partners we already know, and make new contacts in readiness for when we can all do business again. I enjoyed seeing old friends and making new connections.
Online meetings can be very productive and we are all in the comfort of our homes and offices. We have made some very valuable contacts."
Greg Burrell, General Manager of Fettes Centre for Languages and Culture:
"We decided to attend as we assumed agencies would want to find out what measures schools will be putting in place to deal with Covid-19 and we wanted to let everyone know that we're still here and plan to operate this summer. Although face-to-face interaction is always nice, we both felt that the virtual meetings were beneficial and we feel we made at least as many good contacts through the virtual meetings as we would have through face-to-face ones.
I felt that the quality of many of the seminars at the online conferences were of a higher standard than ones I attended in London. Like everyone, we are waiting to see what the next few months will bring and we are looking forward to the March conference and speaking to agents again when the summer situation will hopefully be clearer."
Anna Thatcher, Principal of Loxdale English Centre:
"Whether it's good or bad news from agents regarding the state of our industry, it is always good to keep in touch and see how we can support them. I think it's bought agents and schools closer together.
It seemed like there were even more agents than normal for the event and, as agents are using this quiet time to update websites and materials, there were more focused discussions."
Mark Appleton, Director of BEST in Bath
|"For me, it has been great to catch up with long-standing contacts, meet new ones, and feel like I am still part of a lovely community of people interested in and committed to language travel. Of course, I'd much rather be meeting agents face-to-face in London, but it's a great feeling to talk to people in Thailand, Argentina, China, Russia, Italy, Spain etc, and imagine the view from their windows! I believe it has also allowed me to meet agents who would not normally be able to attend StudyWorld in person, and this has been the big plus point for us, and them."
Agent Halina Juszczyk, Director of Language Abroad in Poland:
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|"To be honest, I did not expect to get so much enjoyment from this kind of event. It was such a pleasure to see and talk to the partners and know they survived and are planning for the upcoming reopening of language courses."