International House at ICEF Berlin 2023

At the beginning of November, the IH World team headed to Berlin for the annual conference welcoming a global audience of 2,600 delegates, who held 25,729 pre-scheduled meetings over three days.

The event is extremely valuable to the organisation and IH study abroad schools. It’s a great opportunity to make connections, build trust and strengthen existing relationships. It is a unique environment being surrounded by industry leaders who face similar challenges and similar decisions for how to best support students.

The event started with sessions and workshops. There were a variety of topics discussed including the impact of digital transformation, the importance of quality standards in student recruitment, and the over-arching theme of: "enhancing the student journey".

Talk of technology and its role in the future of education dominated the conference. Interesting discussions took place on how we can evolve to work with rapidly advancing tech. It was widely agreed that technology is now fundamental for our businesses but, at the end of the day, people buy from people so it is also vital to focus on the human element and interaction. If anyone is interested in hearing further discussion on this topic, you can listen to the dedicated episode on the ICEF podcast.

The IH World Diversity & Inclusion Coordinator, Hannah Youell, presented a session at ICEF Berlin, to kick start the IH Celebration of Diversity. The session, 'Don’t Fit In, Add Value: why diversity is good for business, and what you can do to encourage it' demonstrated the importance of striving for equity in international education and the need to put this at the forefront in schools. Hannah wanted to show schools that no matter how small the first step, getting on the path to equity is what matters.

Hannah ensured the audience had a few clear takeaways to help them take that first step. The examples she gave were:

  1. Make marketing materials representative.
  2. Champion non-native teachers.
  3. Set up special interest and support groups.
  4. Develop and provide accessible and inclusive social programme activities.
  5. Challenge preconceptions about ‘typical’ host families.
  6. Celebrate diversity of staff and students e.g. age, ethnicity, neurodiversity.

If you are interested in Equity, Diversity, Inclusion and Belonging, don’t miss our series of webinars as part of the IH Celebration of Diversity, when the events are announced, they are published here.

IH schools were sitting together in the buzzing IH village where they enjoyed non-stop meetings. We enjoyed catching up with our IH colleagues and it was impressive to see them working their magic with global agents. The schools that attended the conference are:

It was a particular highlight to be joined by our two new study abroad schools, IH Montpellier and IH Edinburgh.

As sponsors, IHWO’s Managing Director, Emma Hoyle, presented the Champion of Change award to Lucas Chiusoli at the Lead5050 awards ceremony. We were honoured to be a part of this event, organised by a company close to our hearts.

Congratulations to GLS IH Berlin on their 40th anniversary. They hosted a wonderful party with colleagues and agents at their school on Tuesday night.

All in all, it was an excellent conference and a reminder of how important meeting industry professionals face-to-face is.