90% of students prefers large centers and college accommodation: interview to Davide Schembri, Il Tuareg

Here we are with another episode of the ETN Focus meetings with the main players of the world of education. This time we talk to Davide Schembri, Marketing Manager of “Il Tuareg” agency in Palermo.

In this interview with Alessandra Martinelli (Head of International Relations for ETN Focus), Davide talks about his agency, the new trends and the importance of attending agents fairs. Enjoy the reading!

Hi Davide, how are you? Summer is approaching and I imagine you are busy with students who are going abroad  so I thank you for the time you are giving to me.

Hi Alessandra. Yes, actually it’s a very intense period but full of satisfaction. Summer is approaching and we are ready.

I’m ready too with the first question: what does your agency do and how long have you been doing this job?

We have doing this for 20 years and today we are specialized in Study Holidays in Italy and abroad, Inps Study Holidays, Linguistic Internships, Summer Campuses, Company Internships, PON Projects and Student Mobility Projects. Thanks to this we have been working for a long time in synergy with teachers and tutors.

What are the positive aspects of your job?

Well, first of all, we are able to provide a product that is useful for the growth of students and their lives. For example, with Alternanza Scuola Lavoro programs, we guide the students in choosing  their future, making them fit into the world of work.

Well, these are the positive aspects but I imagine there are also difficulties!

Indeed, the main problem is certainly the interaction with the user and not directly with the customer. I mean, we sell a product or a package to the parent of the student and not directly to the student and this changes things a lot.We must always find excellent formulas that please both and this is not always easy.

What is the age range you mostly work with and what are the most popular destinations?

The average age group we work most with is between 14 and 18 but we also work with younger kids and adults, especially for study holidays and language courses abroad. The most requested destinations this year are the USA and obviously England, especially London. However, the interest in Spain is growing too.

And what about the growing trend among students?

With regard to students who request a study trip abroad for a language course, 90% prefers exclusively college accommodation and above all we have requests for large centers and the big cities that have an airport nearby.

What are the requests  of the students who go abroad with school projects?

I’ll give you an example: think of the Alternanza Scuola-Lavoro projects. For Italian schools it is a fundamental prerogative to find Italian staff in foreign schools. This is something that the Italian teachers who accompany the groups request a lot; it is not always the English teacher who accompanies them, so it’s fundamental for a professor to find someone who speaks Italian in the school they are going.

Moving on to another topic that concerns me, what is the advantage of attending a fair?

Taking part in events like agents fairs is very useful, in my opinion; it allows you to meet many foreign operators. It also allows you to prove yourself and collaborate with other local agents and this is not something to be underestimated. For example, after the ETN event in Naples in 2018, I was able to work with some schools that suited my clients’ requests, but I also started collaborations with other Italian agents and we became partners.

Have you attended many fairs over the years? Do you prefer big or small fairs?

Yes, generally as an agency, we participate in international fairs. We participate in both large and small fairs because they give the opportunity to expand our knowledge and establish new collaborations. I have no preferences on this because it is always positive to add contacts to work with, but the positive side of small fairs is that the informal atmosphere allows us to deepen our knowledge and really understand the realities in front of you.

Who would you like to meet at a next fair?

I would like to meet people who work with ITACA programs, so school programs that allow Italian students to attend 3, 6 months or a full year in European or non-European countries; especially Boarding Schools.Above all, I would like to meet French schools, perhaps in Paris or Nice or something like that; schools that are located in the big cities of France and that offer both winter mini-stays but also Summer Camp programs and college accommodation. It would also be important to meet representatives of schools overseas.

What do you think of the ETN boutique-style fairs?

Well, as I told you before, the positive side is that participating in these fairs allows you to establish informal connections with the schools; it makes you understand what the operators can really offer.

Very interesting. Well Davide, you will soon receive the invitation for the Milan event in September. I hope to meet you there

Well, I will be waiting for the new invitation. Speak soon.If you also are interested in recruiting Italian students, check out our ETN Focus in Naples

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