Over the past year, our industry has gone through a lot of turbulence, to say the least. However, if there is one thing that has always amazed me about international education, it's the fact that this industry is made up of such resilient people who do not give up when faced by stormy weather. And in terms of storms, this year has really been a tsunami for all of us! Nevertheless, through it all, we have managed to stay in touch with each other, if not face to face, virtually.
What have we done as a company?
As Schools & Agents we have always valued communication with our partners above everything else, and throughout the past year we have kept in touch with them in various ways.
The most efficient and innovative way was the launch of our facebook live sessions, where we could speak to different partners in different parts of the world, and have this conversation streamed live on our social media channels for the rest of the industry to participate in and enjoy.
Through these live broadcasts it was even possible for us to have our guests answer audience questions while live, and from time to time we even invited members of the audience to join the live discussion and bring them on screen to ask their questions. For us this was the virtual way of having industry-related conversations with our clients and partners, while involving the rest of the world as well.
I must say that this is something that has gone down very well with our followers, so much so that we intend to retain this feature on Schools & Agents once things get back to normal.
Throughout the past year we've also had the pleasure of participating in a variety of virtual Student Fairs and B2B workshops... and in all the cases we have been impressed by the hosts' organization and attention to detail. When, like us, you're used to travelling all around the world and meeting people in face-to-face events, sometimes expectations for virtual events tends to be quite low. And this was very much our case when we first started attending the first ones.
I must admit that, at the beginning, we did sometimes come across cases of software not working well, or participants not having a good internet connection. And as a result, whenever this happened, it did impact the virtual meeting and the whole experience in general. However, as the monthly rolled on, I felt that people in our industry were getting more proficient not only at organising better online workshops, but better at participating in them too.
It's not the same thing… but it's better than I thought it would be
For me the bottom line remains the same… virtual events can never replace face-to-face events, especially when it comes to the in-between-meetings interactions, social events and so on. However, given the current situation, I would certainly say that virtual events and their organisers have done a great job at filling up the void that Covid left. And while I personally cannot wait to meet all of my industry colleagues and friends face to face, I still insist on looking at the bright side of things and am therefore, thankful for having had the opportunity to stay virtually close to my colleagues and partners even during the pandemic.
The most efficient and innovative way was the launch of our facebook live sessions.