More and more people are interested in the school year abroad: interview to Alessia Palmisano and Christopher Higgins, Language and Training Workshop S.r.l.
New appointment with the ETN Focus interviews. Today Alessandra Martinelli, Head of International Relations for ETN Focus, meets Alessia Palmisano and Christopher Higgins, Managing Director and Managing Partner of Language and Training Workshop S.r.l. (Rome).
Enjoy the reading!
Hello and thank you for your time.
Alessia: Hi Alessandra, you’re so welcome. We have been attending your events for years and it’s always a pleasure for us.
Christopher: yes, I have attended the Naples fair for 3 years in a row now. When will the next one be?
The next one will be in Milan in September and the focus will be on Language courses, boarding school and summer camps. Later in the interview I will ask you about our past fairs. But let’s start with the first question.
Alessia: Sure, go for it.
What does your agency do and how long have you been working in this sector of education and training abroad?
Alessia: The company as it is today has been operating since 2013 but the first agency was founded in 1983: Chris was the owner and I was an employee. 6 years ago the company changed even if its profile is linked to the previous one; we have adapted ourselves to the current needs of the market.
Christopher: Exactly, and we mainly deal with language courses for schools but also for companies, employees and managers. We also provide study stays abroad and interpreting services.
You have been in this business for many years so you surely know the positive aspects of doing this job.
Alessia: I am satisfied with my job because we are able to build tailor-made courses for everybody. Since we have partnerships with many selected schools, we can create packages that suit the needs of the students.
We prefer quality over quantity as modus operandi and quality is something we can guarantee for sure.
Christopher: I fully agree and then another good thing is that we are both sides of the same coin. We are agents but at the same time we are educators. I am an English teacher and this allows me to have a full view of the market.
You know, we focus a lot on the teaching/learning aspect: we want our students to follow a truly educational path and improve their language skills; we generally suggest the language course, the level, the most suitable location based on their profile. We always try to communicate the profile of the student to the school before they start and this also guarantees a quality experience.
And what about difficulties?
Alessia: Truth be told, any difficulties are often linked to the type of student; to their expectations but above all to the fact that sometimes they do not fully accept our advise and support and therefore they do not feel at ease during the experience abroad. These are sporadic cases but unfortunately it can happen that the student wants to do “their own thing” and maybe they cannot fully enjoy the experience because of the type of course or location they choose etc …
Do you mainly work with young students?
Christopher: No, we have students up to the age of 90; I mean we work a lot with individuals and therefore work with all age groups, both with students and with workers or managers.
Alessia: Yes, we are also developing study packages for families so experiences for parents and children at the same time.
In the past we worked only with companies and with employees, but some years ago we decided to open up even to the youngest and to individuals.
And which are the most popular destinations?
Alessia: UK and Ireland for sure. Our study stays are currently mainly for English language learners.
Is there is a growing trend?
Christopher: certainly, the school year abroad; there are many people interested in this type of program. It would be very interesting to understand and learn more about it and therefore to meet international schools that deal with this.
As to the fairs, do you think they are useful?
Alessia: Yes, absolutely. We attend fairs to see and learn about the schools we choose to work with, but honestly participating in fairs is advantageous because it allows you to meet different schools together and this is really an advantage; you can get to know the contacts and then decide to visit the school.
Have you participated in many editions of ETN focus, what are your feelings about them?
Christopher: ETN Focus have changed, they have evolved. The last ETN focus of Naples was different from the one of 3 years ago.
Alessia: yes, I talked with Chris about this and we liked the organization and the international schools present were really interesting. It was all very interesting, even the intervention of the speaker and I hope this will be repeated in the next event. Maybe it would be great to have a representative of a High School who gives a speech on these types of programmes and illustrates how the school system works there.
Very well, thank you. I also thank you for these tips. I hope to hear from you soon.
Alessia: thanks to you. See you soon
Christopher: Bye Alessandra and have a nice day