It seems as if at every student fair we go to we get asked, “What makes you different from other study abroad agencies?” So we prepared this to make it easy:
We are small. Because of that we know who you are, what your plans are, and where you are going. It also means that you speak to the same people from start to finish: we help you plan your language study programme, book it and stay with you all the way through. If you need a hand, we're here. You don't talk to some voice in marketing or complaints or anyone you don't know.
Moreover, because we are small, as the director of the agency, Denis speaks directly to the directors of the schools - the people who know, the people who can do something. In many ways we are more effective than a big agency that has lots of low level staff. It's that simple.
Apart from the fact that Denis, the director of the agency, was the director of a language school in NZ and has taught every English course possible. Apart from the fact that he knows from the inside what makes a good school and what doesn't. Apart from the fact that we’ve all been in this industry, in one form or another for more than a combined 30 years, visited the schools, met the directors and the staff, gone to the conferences and done the training modules etc etc. Apart from the fact that we help people like you all day, every day to find solutions to practically every question asked of us.
Apart from all that… you know what … we’ve done it ourselves. We’ve done our personal study abroad trips, gone to schools, learnt languages, lived abroad, had hard times, been lonely, stood in the corner smiling like a fool pretending to understand what people are saying, met incredible people, fallen in love, seen amazing things and come home again happier and worldier. We know it! Travelling, living, learning, adventuring: from Auckland to Zurich: That’s us. You can’t work here if you haven’t had the experience.
We are not owned by anyone but ourselves. So when it comes to language schools, as an independent agency we work only with accredited, reputable, independently-owned language schools rather than faceless chains. We do this because we feel you get higher quality, more care and closer personal attention at independent schools where the owners are directly involved than elsewhere.
As a result we have a large number of carefully selected partners for you choose from.
Our aim is to give you the choice of a huge study abroad agency while retaining the personal touch and all the advantages of a being looked after by a small business.
3a. Independent, objective advice.
We choose who we work with. That means we can give you independent, objective advice on the best school for you. It also means that we don't have bad schools forced on us by some Head Office or anonymous schools that are part of a group. We have strict criteria of excellence, and because we are not part of a chain we are free to offer you only the best language schools at the best prices. (It also means if a school stops being excellent we can dump them quicker than Taylor Swift dumps boyfriends).
We also appreciate that the Internet is full of traps and rip-offs, so we try to be as transparent as possible. By looking at our Crew page you can easily see us, the people behind the website and at the other end of the telephone.
This applies to our prices, too. The prices you see are exactly the schools’ prices, no more no less. So you get the lowest price with free advice, free use of years of experience and free on-going support (not to mention our smiley service!).
5. We love changing your life.
We’re serious. A study abroad trip to a different country*, learning its language, immersed in its culture will not simply change who you are and how you see the world, it will stay with you forever… and then a bit longer. When you have kids you’ll be able to bore them, telling them again and again about your time in England, the US, Cuba, Argentina, Japan, Russia or wherever: amazing destinations, amazing people, amazing experiences. You’re never going to be the same. We get a buzz being part of that. We love it even more when you come back and tell us how fantastic it was (and even better if you bring us presents to the office.)
*Even juniors on 2 weeks summer camps: it will change your life too.
6. We understand that this is likely to be the voyage of your life.
Whether it’s for 6 weeks or 6 months, we completely get the investment you make to go and learn a language. We understand how important it is for your future that you are correctly taught and have every opportunity to learn. Every school we work with is selected with this in mind. Classes, accommodation, atmosphere at the school; they are all ultra important so that you have the best experience. Which brings us to the next point…
7. No hard sell.
Unlike some of our friends in other agencies, because we know that the choice of a country, the perfect school and the right course of study requires proper thought, we are not going to call you a day or two after you've contacted us to pester you for a decision to see if you're ready to book. We don't like people doing that to us, so we don't see why we should do it to you. Instead we'll be here, ready to answer all your questions whenever you want. And sure, if we haven't heard from you two or three weeks later we'll follow up, but until then, no hassling, no hard sell.
8. Our schools
Quality - There are about 550 language schools in the UK. 8 of the top 10 ranked language schools in the UK have asked us to represent them. Not the most expensive, simply the best. And we trust them with our clients.
Responsive - We choose to work with independent schools, mostly small to medium-sized. (That is, schools that are not part of anonymous corporate hedge-fund owned chains.) At our schools, you’re not just a number lost in the crowd. The people who run the schools are usually the owners, so it’s logical that they are far more involved in the day-to-day functioning of the school than someone hired to work for a big chain. That makes a big difference. If there’s a problem, it’s rapidly fixed. Because our people are personally invested in their schools they are far more eager to maintain standards and make sure that everything runs perfectly than in a colossus. And when it's the owners of a school, it means they are there because they love helping people like you learn a language and have an amazing time in their country.
Relationship - It also means that if there’s a problem, when we talk to "people" we talk directly to the owner. *Why is this special? Because at some big chain schools you might be at school in Chicago but if you have a problem your agent will be talking to the marketing department in Santa Barbara trying to solve it with people who are not directly involved.
9. Follow up
Every study abroad agency's website says, “personal service”, which usually doesn’t mean much more than, “we answer the phone and talk to you”. Of course, we’ll listen. Of course we will create the course you want. But more than that, this is what Personal Service means to us :
- You have your own contact at the agency, the person who is with you from beginning to end: planning and implementation of your trip.
- Then we are in contact with you in the days before you leave to make sure everything is ok and there are no last minute panics or questions.
- While you’re away we stay in contact with you regularly, at least once a month just to say hi and make sure all’s well.
- And then, if you weren’t sick of us already, when you come back we’ll even send you a special message.
10. International Recognition, Accreditations and Awards
We are accredited by four of the most important English language school organisations in the world. We are an EnglishUK Partner Agency, an Authorised Agency of Quality English, English Australia partner, as well as being an IALC Partner Agency.
In 2008 we were voted Agency of the Month in Study Travel Magazine!
In 2013 out of thousands of agencies we were shortlisted for:
"Star Agency Western Europe"
at the prestigious ST Star Awards
In 2017 ... WE WON !
(not bad for a little agency…;)
And that's us in a nutshell: Professionalism, clarity, transparency, perspective.
By choosing Aventure Linguistique you have a local interlocutor with whom you can speak to in your language, local legal protection and all the hard work done for you. Plus of course, you benefit from our experience, our in depth knowledge of the courses and schools and the amazing relationships we have with all our schools and wonderful clients.
That’s why we’re different.
So… are you in?
BTW: Did we mention we were elected Star Agency Western Europe 2017 the top language travel agency in Western Europe at the ST Star Awards? We did? Righto.
Other stuff that’s probably not that different but good to know anyway...
The “Best Price” blah blah.
Have you ever noticed that every study abroad agency has this line about having the “best price guarantee”, even though it’s the schools that set the prices? Whatever! (You can insert it here if it makes you feel good.)
Please note: Our price is exactly what the school charges, no more, no less. They decide how much, not us. So, if someone beats our quote – give us a call and we’ll match it. No stress. We offer you the best price from the start, but we are far more interested in giving you the very best school that meets your needs (NOT the most expensive nor the cheapo, poor quality option either).