On the 2nd and 3rd of May, the second International House Study Abroad Conference took place in Catania, Sicily, in the amazing Baia Verde Hotel by the Ionian Sea.
On the first day all the International House schools presented their courses in a fun “pecha-kucha” style session. Following this, the attending agencies introduced themselves before everyone had the chance to connect further during roaming meetings. The day ended with an amazing cooking lesson by the sea with the school Director of IH Catania, Palmina La Rosa, who showed everyone how to make real limoncello. All participants received a lovely mini limoncello bottle to take home. The evening finished with a delicious seafood dinner.
The second day of the conference was dedicated to plenary sessions from many international and external speakers. The presentations helped schools and agents reflect and take part in constructive sessions designed to strengthen their business in different areas.
“All the speeches were very interesting and I picked up some good advice. I spoke with several schools and I will certainly promote IH schools which are abroad and in Italy too,” said Adriana Festa, an agent at Language School Experience
To start the plenary day, Nicola Lutz from No Fluff and StudyTravel took the audience through the customer experience from the perspective of both an agent and a school. It was a practical workshop, giving plenty of ideas to take home and put into practice.
Simon Thorley from InTuition asked everyone to reflect on social styles and how they can impact teams. He suggested that by taking into account individual social preferences, we can get the best out of colleagues, managers, and life in general.
Henry Tolley, from the language qualifications awarding body LanguageCert, suggested how schools and agencies can recruit more students through their services. Genevieve Abela from guard.me International Insurance, who have been an IH Partner for many years, spoke about the importance of insurance in the study travel sector and how guard.me can help schools and agents protect their students.
Giulia Zattera from StudyTravel Magazine presented statistics from the publication’s Annual Agency Survey 2018 and international student market trends. Following this, there was an interesting Panel Discussion with Nicola Lutz (No Fluff), Tim Eckenfels (IH Sydney, Bondi, Melbourne, Darwin, and ihBC) and Çagla Narter (an education counsellor for the agency Hub Edu in Turkey). The topical points of discussion included how the relationship between agencies and schools could develop in the future, and how each sector can assist the other during difficult times.
The conference as a whole gave schools and agencies the opportunity to discuss current issues together, while networking to bond and make stronger business relationships. The second day finished with more meetings and a closing dinner with delicious Sicilian starters and pizza with traditional live music.
On Saturday 4th May, both schools and agencies enjoyed a city tour with lunch of beautiful Catania.