From 30 October to 2 November, we attended the ICEF Berlin Workshop at Hotel Intercontinental, Berlin.
ICEF Berlin conference hosts 1,094 education agents from around the world and we spent three days in a series of targeted meetings, seminars and networking with 1077 international educators, 146 service providers, and 43 work and travel professionals.
Overall, participants from 98 countries took part in 27,226 pre-scheduled meetings. Key topics and talking points were trends in international student recruitment – including the rise in the use of agents by US universities, the changing face of the English language training sector, the growing role of pathway programmes, as well as guidance and navigation of Visa policies in destinations like Australia.
Opportunities and meetings
The workshop is basically a giant speed-dating event. Before the event, all attendees are given access to a website with a full list of all agents, educators and service providers who will be attending the event. You get to set up meetings with as many people as you like, which take place as 25-minute whirlwind ‘dates’, and they can either accept your invitation, ignore it, or decline it. Everyone has an online and printed schedule (and access to a last-minute version of the website which allows extra scheduling/cancellations etc). They even ring a bell when it is time to move on to your next meeting.
It is an incredibly global event and a great opportunity to meet lots of potential partners in one place. Student.com had meetings with agents and educators from all over the world – from Barcelona to the Gold Coast, Brazil, the US and Middle East.
It was exhausting but exciting – a busy schedule is coupled with evening networking social events – this is often where the real business and collaboration takes place. Because it is so intense, ICEF ensure that there is a constant supply of coffee and sugar, which we were eternally grateful for.
A worthwhile event
We had some great meetings, some with existing partners like our lovely friends at STB in Brazil, and Study Melbourne as well as lots of meetings with potential new partners, agents and educators.
We returned to London tired but with a new book full of of contacts to follow up on.
Sarah Holt is Head of Marketing and Partnerships – UK at Student.com.