Agents Speak Out
What is the biggest challenge you face when sending a young student abroad for secondary education, and how do you overcome this?
Luiza Souza
Friends in the World, Brazil
"First of all, we need to know if the experience is something that is the parents' dream or if it's an experience the student is willing to have. So, during the first contact with the student and parents we focus the conversation on this point. Then comes the main challenge that is a mix of student and parent expectations, and if this is not level-headed, the exchange programme can be a big disaster. The counselling experience that we've gained through the years with each student gives us excellent tools to help them to face all the stages that being an exchange student involves."
Article published: 12 Sep 2017
Alex Govor
Baltic Council for International Education, Latvia

"Sending students to public and state boarding schools is a big part of our business. Having sent our first student to Lancing College (UK) back in 1996, our approach hasn't changed since then. A student and their interests remain our main focus while choosing a school. We are absolutely convinced that a student can only succeed if they are happy. No rankings, no exam results, but the student's happiness is of paramount importance for us. We spend hours with every student and their parents, trying to learn as much as possible about them, taking into consideration their ambitions, current school results, interests, extracurricular activities, etc. It is our experience and knowledge that helps us to find the best place for each student. One of the biggest challenges is to convince the parents that it is not necessarily Eton where their child will flourish and we do value the schools that can work with international students that cater for their needs and talents."

Article published: 12 Sep 2017
Svetlana Kasatkina
Britbridge, Russia
"The biggest challenge we face when sending young students overseas to secondary or boarding schools is how to fulfil the student and their parents' expectations. Overcoming this challenge is possible through finding the right balance between a student's factors affecting their final choice. One of the key issues parents consider is the school's history and its academic reputation. They may also look at school facilities, accommodation options, location in terms of easy airport access, student and staff national profile, and finally the price they can afford. Sometimes parents for religious and cultural reasons would consider in the first place single-sex schools with strict discipline. We also often face the situation when the school is chosen close to the family-owned property overseas. In this case the location factor comes before anything else and they choose between the schools within one area. So understanding the specific needs of each student we deal with is necessary for making the right offer for a student and their family."
Article published: 12 Sep 2017
Ana Cecília Ribas de Aguiar
Good to Great Intercâmbio, Brazil
"We have to overcome century-old cultural issues when talking about boarding school, for in Brazil, this kind of school was regarded as punishment for a child or orphan kids would be sent to boarding schools after losing their parents. Very wealthy parents tend to have a different understanding, but usually they focus only on one destination: Switzerland. The cost of a boarding school programme prevents many parents from sending their kids, especially with the exchange rate going up again. It's a setback. Today only eight per cent of our students are secondary/boarding ones. But this is increasing slowly, as well as summer courses for teens."
Article published: 12 Sep 2017