The decision to study abroad whatever the purpose, place or length of stay, involves a series of planning and choices. The first question that arises is: should I plan my trip on my own or use the service of an education agency?
In the first situation, you will have to think through all the details and do a lot of research to make sure you are hiring the best services and products.This includes identifying the country and city that best fit your profile, defining the length of stay, the most appropriate type of accommodation (homestay, student housing, hostel, etc.), finding the right school where you want to go. you are going to study and the type of course you will take, the purchase of airline tickets, the hiring of an airport transfer to your accommodation, the choice of health insurance, among many others.
In addition, you will need to do a lot of research on the dynamics of life there – trivial aspects that we usually don’t notice in our routine, precisely because they are so part of our daily lives that we don’t even pay attention: how transport works, which are the average values for food, supermarket purchases, medicines, clothes, etc.Not to mention the fact that you should be ready to deal on your own with any unusual situations that may arise in your relationship with the people in your household (homestay hosts or students at the student house), conflicts due to changing habits, occasional dissatisfaction with his school, among others.
These are all scenarios that can occur in any exchange – after all, you are about to explore a new world, full of new things!!
Why hire an education agency?
Well, we have just mentioned the challenges that must be faced if you decide to plan your abroad study on your own. Now, if you choose to hire the services of a good education agency, you will definitely have all the support you need to travel with much more peace of mind, security, confidence and comfort. We can list some advantages of this option:
- the education agencies operationalize the trip in the form of a package. This means that, by hiring this service, you will acquire everything you need at once: airline tickets, accommodation, school, health insurance, among other items;
- once the agency sells the package, payment methods are much more flexible, as you will pay a single service provider – the agency itself;
- instead of talking about the products with each of the service providers, you will solve your doubts and have access to all the information you need with a single mediator: the agency’s consultant. In addition to the travel experiences themselves, he is trained in every step of the process and is prepared to guide you in this discovery of a new world;
- you will have more assurance regarding all services. For example: if a problem happens with the school, such as the chosen course is no longer available due to a lack of class or something like that, you will have someone to turn to to resolve this issue;
- the certainty of the quality of services is much greater – after all, without specific knowledge in the area of study, it is more difficult to choose a really good school, for example. And without that understanding, there is always the risk of “throwing money away”, isn’t there?
OK. Having understood the importance of hiring an education agency instead of venturing out to plan the entire trip alone, let’s explain another very interesting aspect to be considered: is it important to choose a company that has an office at the study destination? It shouldn’t be that important since I’ll only need it before boarding, right? Wrong. Post-arrival face-to-face support at the chosen location is as relevant and necessary as in preparations.
What are the advantages of having a headquarters in the destination?
Good education agencies, which strive for quality of service and complete customer satisfaction, offer after-sales service. Once the student boards, they monitor the entire experience from a distance – by WhatsApp, email, Skype, telephone.
Anyway, in any case, the consultants are always available to the client to help with doubts, complaints, extra requests, any changes in travel plans, resolution of small unforeseen events, etc.
However, only the best agencies have after-sales assistance in the place where the student is accommodated. And how can this aspect be a differentiator? Well, we all know that, no matter how “round” and well-planned a service is, unforeseen events and changes can happen at any time – especially when it comes to an experience in a distant location, with another system, other rules, other customs and another language.
Even though it is possible to predict occurrences and avoid them, it is always important to be prepared for the needs of changes in plans. Understand how the agency at the destination will be of great use:
- the agency will offer an incredible welcome service with lectures and workshops as soon as you arrive at your destination. This will help start your experience off on the right foot and put you in context with the new routine, your itineraries and schedules, new customs and cultures. In addition, it will provide a more comfortable stay, making you feel more confident;
- if you’re going to study English, it’s probably because you still don’t have much knowledge of the language and want, precisely, to acquire more fluency. Therefore, when solving certain bureaucracies on the spot, such as requesting the opening of a bank account, the face-to-face assistance of a Portuguese-speaking consultant will be extremely valuable – especially if the matter is serious and relevant, as in the example cited;
- small general unforeseen circumstances can happen in the accommodation – situations that are a little more serious with the host family, or in the student house or hostel. The education agency’s local office will be willing to help in the best possible way to overcome these mishaps;
- visas and work permits may present some unforeseen circumstances as well. In these cases, situations tend to be more complicated, being difficult to solve only with an online support on the other side of the world, isn’t it? It is really good to have a physical consultant on site, who will guide you on how to proceed;
- What if you decide to renew your visa to stay longer? Or, decide to change the course of your intentions locally and, instead of just studying English, want to take another course? Change city or house? Wouldn’t it be amazing to also have face-to-face support in all these contexts?
In addition to all these cases mentioned, there are several situations in which having local support makes all the difference. That’s why, in addition to choosing an education agency to help with the travel arrangements, it is also essential to choose one based in the chosen destination.