Great Schools: Students before the money!

Great Schools: Students before the money!

Thursday 25 April 2019

Every year we help hundreds of young adults to travel all over the world to learn languages. We entrust our partner languages schools with both our clients’ education and our professional reputation. If the school does a bad job, then our clients lose out and we’ll look bad.

So what defines a great school - one that we can trust? Specifically, what makes the schools we work with at Aventure Linguistique so great?

When we talk to clients about how fantastic the language schools are that we work with and what sets them apart from our competitors we use phrases like, “no chain schools used”, “independent”, “quality”, “not just a number”.

Sometimes, in countries like England, where the British Council have a points-system for accrediting language schools we can say, “this is the top ranked school in the UK” or “we work with 8 of the top 10 language schools in England out of 550”, but even that doesn’t tell the whole story.

Often though, whatever we say, we feel that it’s not enough. I mean our clients expect us to say that the school we suggest is a great school, right?

And not all of our clients realise that at AvL we are independent and objective - we choose which schools we work with, no one else. 

We don’t own any schools ourselves, so we are not forced to send our clients there. And there’s no Head Office instructing us to use a school because it’s the most expensive. No, we recommend language schools to our clients because we believe it’s the right school for them.

We choose which schools we work with, no one else.

As the Founder and Director of Aventure Linguistique there are lots of elements I look for when evaluating schools to work with. There’s teaching quality, nationality mix, course choice, price, atmosphere, accommodation quality, and more. But making sure these elements are excellent is only part of it. This ensures they are very good. But what is it that makes our schools different? What makes them great?

Then I had my light bulb moment. Finally, I know what makes a good school great, and why we believe our schools are great.

At Aventure Linguistique we represent schools that care more about the individual student than they do about the money. It’s as simple as that.

Of course, all schools care about the money, otherwise they’d go out of business. But some schools care about the students and their experience first and the money second. These are the schools we choose to work with. This is what we think makes a very good school, great.

An example:

Recently one of our partner schools was owed a lot of money by an agency for an arriving student. Unfortunately, a few days before the student arrived the agency went out of business taking the money the student had paid with them. The student’s arrival was just a few days away. Many schools would have just cancelled the student’s course and accommodation booking, but no, not this one. Instead they honoured the enrolment, accepting the student, picking them up at the airport, giving the student all the classes that had been booked, and the accommodation the student had paid for - even though they, the school hadn’t been paid.

Why? Because, the student’s happiness and learning experience was more important than the money.

We see this time and time again, in big ways like this and in smaller, much subtler ways. And that’s what makes many of our schools great. When I’m looking for new schools to work with, that’s really what I’m looking for: a school owner or director who cares more about the student and the student’s experience than the money.