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CEO of STB urges language schools to innovate

The CEO of one of Brazil’s largest study travel agencies says that language schools have failed to spot a new niche in the study travel sector for global citizenship and aspirational learning programmes, equipping students with life skills beyond language acquisition.

Screenshot from the Dragons' promotional video "creating a global classroom"

"People are learning more and more in their country so they want different kind of programmes when they travel abroad"

Jose Carlos Hauer Santos, speaking to The PIE News, explained that in his country, “People are learning more and more in their country so they want different kind of programmes when they travel abroad.”

“The traditional language schools are not organising this,” he challenged, citing innovative examples of programmes such Where There Be Dragons, which organises college credit-worthy study tours in various countries and is the partner of choice for Princeton’s Bridge Year programme in China.

“They [language schools] have the market in their hands – imagine that – but they’re leaving this customer in the same kind of location and environment for other companies to come in and take ownership of them,” challenged Hauer Santos.

His company services a staggering 70,000 clients a year; 30,000 of whom will choose to learn a language overseas.

Hauer Santos also shared his views on various benefits of independent and chain schools in the highly fragmented language teaching industry, and spoke about how he is evolving his own agency brand.

An app, TripBox, is a dynamic virtual travel companion and document safe and available to all STB clients.

Hauer Santos also explained he is redesigning offices to make them more aspirational towards a lifestyle (think New York loft apartment) and moving away from smiling faces in front of Big Ben or the Sydney Opera House.

“It’s more provocative. People are really liking it,” he said.

Read the full interview here.


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