As the name suggests, the location of the two-day event was not a traditional language school, but the majestic MSC Meraviglia cruise ship travelling from Barcelona to Genoa via Marseille.
In partnership with MSC Cruises, SUL Language Schools runs some of its English language programs onboard cruise ships, taking students to explore different parts the world.
The fam trip gave partner agents a chance to see first-hand what students will experience on SUL’s courses, from panoramic classrooms on the 18th deck to modern sports facilities.
“We are all here because we are ambassadors of international education”
The participants, who came as far afield as Hong Kong and Argentina, also learnt how to pronounce SUL – a word of Celtic origin meaning sun which the school proudly states has been “mispronounced since 1976”, the year of its foundation.
The two day event kicked off with a presentation of SUL’s story by its founder and director, Christopher Retallak, who founded the school in 1976 with his wife Nicole.
In his opening address, Retallak welcomed participants as ambassadors of international education and highlighted the fundamental role of the industry.
“We are all here because we are ambassadors of international education,” he said.
“Why is international education important? Because we are seven billion people sharing one home…we have to communicate.”
Slavas Palkevicius, director and co-owner of SUL, took the participants through the school’s education offer, focusing on the onboard courses and the other programs the school runs with its partners.
One of these, in partnership Lego Education and Robotics Academy, sees students aged 8 to 17 get to grips with robotics while studying English.
Partner agencies also voted on SUL’s 2019 programs, locations, and routes.
But for Palkevicius, the best part of the event was the possibility to tell SUL’s story.
“For us at SUL it was an important event. We are delighted so many agents were interested in the trip, much more than we could have expected,” he told The PIE News.
“We’ve had a chance to present an example of the exciting activities that our students will be enjoying on board of MSC Meraviglia this summer.
“But more importantly, we’ve had a chance to tell a story of SUL. That was by far my favourite part of the trip and I loved to hear the same comments from the participants. I am proud to be a part of new era of SUL and there is more to come.”
The fam trip was also the occasion to announce the launch of SUL’s charitable arm, SUL means SUN Foundation, which was presented by its president Nicole Retallak.
The foundation aims to award more than 50 scholarships a year from 2019 for underprivileged students to attend one of SUL’s Amazing Experience courses, whether in England or abroad.