Agents at ICEF Berlin 2020 Confident COVID-19 Will Not Slow Down Recruitment of International Students
First Virtual ICEF Berlin Conference in 25 Years Impresses with Efficiency
For the first time in 25 years, ICEF Berlin was held virtually but that did not detract from the annual international education event's quality, participants said. It also meant that this year Wittenborg University of Applied Sciences' full recruitment team was able to attend – led by the chair of the executive board, Peter Birdsall, who made a presentation on the institution as one of the Dutch study providers.
The 3-day event, which started on Monday, is the international education industry's largest networking event, bringing together recruitment agents and education providers, facilitating webinars and offering insights on the industry by experts. According to Lena Vandenbosch, Wittenborg's International Partnership Manager, the team fielded a staggering 72 meetings with potential partners and agents from 36 different countries.
"I loved the way ICEF replicated the Berlin venue virtually with some very nice touches as you enter the online area. Even though I do miss the energy of the face-to-face event, I found it very effective since you can speak to many agents in a short amount of time in a quiet, virtual environment. The meetings were generally very pleasant, and agents were also well prepared. The insights provided by industry experts were also very interesting and ICEF did their best to make everything go as smoothly as possible," Vandenbosch said. On Monday she kicked off with an agent from Tanzania, followed by agents from Russia, Nigeria, the UK, India, Vietnam, Ghana, Kenya, Brazil and many other countries.
According to Birdsall, the agents he spoke to was very positive about the future of higher education in the coming time. "No one saw the COVID-19 pandemic as a hindrance to the recruitment of students in the near future." He was also impressed with the way the organisers of the event managed to pull off the first virtual ICEF Berlin.
Message from ICEF CEO Markus Badde
The event was opened by the CEO of ICEF, Markus Badde, on Monday. He said in a year that has seen so much change it "feels good to bring our community together again" - even if only virtually. "There is so much to talk about as we respond to this pandemic and the disruption it has caused for education everywhere. Normally, this would have been a celebration year for ICEF because the first ICEF Berlin was organised 25 years ago in 1995."
More than 1,500 people attended this year's event from at least 113 different countries. More than 15,000 meetings were held over the space of 3 days.
by Anesca Smith
© Wittenborg University Press