Vive la France! Fair review: Paris, France (Feb. 2014)

We finally found it: a couple of great venues for international student recruitment in France: “Salon Partir étudier à l’étranger” and “Expo-Langues,” both organized by “l’Étudiant” magazine.

These events took place in Paris during the first week of February at the Parc des expositions Porte-de-Versailles.

They are two very different events with different goals.

Salon Partir étudier à l’étranger

326781_salon-de-l-etudiant-partir-etudier-a-l-etrangerThe Salon Partir étudier à l’étranger is meant for students who are looking for study abroad opportunities, including university degree programs, language programs, certificates, etc. Many countries were represented, including the USA, Canada, the UK, Portugal, etc.

The goal of this fair is to help potential students to learn about their options for studying overseas, how the admissions and visa processes work, how much they should budget for their programs, etc.

I thought this was a terrific venue for several reasons.

First of all, the potential students seemed to be much better informed about the realities of pursuing an education in the USA at this fair than in my previous visits. There was already an understanding that American higher education is an expensive prospect, and significant financial planning would be necessary on the part of their families.

This brings me to a second point: there was an incredible number of parents present at the fair. I spoke with more students who brought their parents than those who did not. I was amazed–I have never seen this type of turnout of parents at a French international education fair.

Third, though most French students are exposed to English from a very early age and have at least a high-intermediate level of English by the time they go to university, most of the students I spoke with agreed with the idea that they would need to improve their Academic English skills before going to an American university.

This was extremely surprising. In my previous visits to Paris, most students that I met with believed that their English was “good enough” for university study. The opposite was true in this event: I found myself telling students that their English skills were much better than they thought they were!

This is definitely an event that I will attend again. It’s only a two-day fair, and it only takes place in Paris. I would love to see them offer this fair in other regions of France, as well. Still, I’ll be there next year!

Expo-Langues

invit_expolangues-pro14

This expo is interesting, as it is more of a trade show than an education fair. For over 30 years, Expo-Langues has provided a venue for businesses in the language training industry to come and promote their products and services, such as language instruction books, language classes, translation services, etc. As a result, it attracts a variety of people, from professionals within the industry to potential students who are looking for language courses.

We attend this expo with two goals:

  1. To form potential agency partnerships with language training companies and teachers (who will refer students to our programs in exchange for a commission payment); and
  2. To promote our program directly to potential students.

Though this expo serves a wider type of audience than the first Salon, it was still excellent.

This was our second year attending this venue. We met several potential partners again this year; however, we met more potential students at the event this year than last year–again, with parents in tow. I was happily surprised at that. Last year, we met more potential agents than students. Still, overall, I was pleased at how this event turned out, and I’m likely to return again next year.

Excellent travail, l’Étudiant!

France flag

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