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Meeting Chris Woodcock from Project International UK

Published EDU-WorldWide on Friday, November 9, 2018

In this interview we are going to find out more about one of our newest Platinum Members - Project International, which is based in the UK.

Project International – if you had to describe your company in 3 words, what would they be, and why?

Approachable, dedicated and compassionate. Everyone at our company, from the office staff to the Summer School staff, work incredibly hard to give our agents and especially our students the best experience in the UK. We are always available to answer questions (none of which are too small) and we take the time to listen to exactly what our agents want and if we can, we adapt our programmes to suit them. We believe that our mix of nationalities both within the company and amongst our agents makes our programmes what they are and we love creating memories for our students.

How long have you been open for, and how has your concept changed over the years?

Project International is 20 years old this year though we have experience with international students even before Project International began. At the beginning, students were looking for a simpler programme with English lessons, activities and excursions. With the increase in budget European flights and social media the world has become a much smaller place and the expectations from students has increased. Over the years, though we have kept the original concept as a back bone, we have added more personalised programmes to our summer schools. We have also seen a huge increase in our integration, immersion and academic year programmes. Some students no longer want to visit the UK for just two weeks they want to really experience British lifestyle and education. Turning 20 definitely makes us look back at how far we have come as a company and we are really proud of all we have achieved.

What are your Unique Selling Points?

For me it is our staff. We are a small company with just 7 members of office staff where everyone covers all bases. This means that agents do not start working with one department before moving on to another department. Instead the people you speak to when you first make a request are the people who will be with you all the way through the process. Our staff work above and beyond to make agents and students feel secure with their decision to choose Project International.

To the above, I would also add:

- Attention to detail

- Knowing virtually all our clients personally through visits in the off season and building up a strong rapport

- Constantly looking to improve what we offer

Which are your main markets?

At the moment we cover most of Western Europe, East Asia, North Africa, the Middle East and a small part of South America. We work with schools, travel agencies, extra-curricular clubs and individuals. 

Can you describe your typical student?

I’m not sure we have one! We see students from all corners of the globe, from all age ranges, all levels of English ability and all different social and economic backgrounds. Some of our favourite moments come from a group of 17 or 18 year old students befriending students as young as 7 or 8, not only including them in their activities but also making them feel comfortable and providing a role model for them. Sometimes it is great to just be near our students in their free time to hear them talk about the differences in their homes lives and countries and all in English!

Why do students come to you?

The environments we create whether it be in our schools or host families make our students feel safe and secure. Not only do we want our students to improve on their English skills, we also want them to have the best time. Our staff create wonderful relationships with the students and it is always painful to say goodbye to them at the end of their stay.

Why should our agents work with you?

We support our agents in the promotion and selling stage of putting their group together and are still here to support them when their students are in the UK. We don’t regard any question or query as silly or small and would prefer to spend hours emailing or on the phone to agents than for them to have any worries or problems.

Where do you see Project International in 10 years?

Over the past few years the level of English from teenagers across the world has improved dramatically and I think it will continue. I think in 10 years we will have more programmes that do not focus primarily on learning English and instead are just delivered in English. Therefore we could also see an inclusion from students from the English speaking world. It would be wonderful if for example we could have a sports or creative programme in the UK where we see students joining us from Canada, New Zealand, Australia and the United States as well as countries where English isn’t their first language. We have spent years perfecting our programmes and with the help of our agents and students we will continue to improve them year on year and hopefully work together to develop even more.

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