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Where the world meets

ICEF Berlin makes an ideal launch pad to get back in the swing

It’s been a long time coming, but at last we’re able to meet up, catch up and get going. And where better to do this than at the world’s largest B2B networking event for the international education industry?

Organised by ICEF, which has been hosting exhibitions and conferences since 1991, the 27th annual event in Berlin will see over 800 agents and more than 500 providers from 110 countries descend for up to four days at the city’s InterContinental for a range of seminars, webinars, presentations and meetings. It’s an opportunity to both reconnect and establish new contacts with student recruitment specialists and educational institutions.

Make a plan

To get the most out of an event of this size, it’s best to make a plan. There’s time to organise in person and online meetings for three of the four days, and the organisers have allocated up to 25 minutes per meeting. This means you could have up to 74 meets over the course of the conference, though this would be a fairly gruelling schedule. Better might be to leave yourself a bit of wiggle room for those informal chats that can cement relationships over a coffee break.

“Leave yourself a bit of wiggle room for those informal chats that can 
cement relationships over a coffee break”

The first day on site includes registration from 10 am, a networking lunch, the official event welcome and then an afternoon of seminars, webinars and provider presentations. In the evening you can attend the welcome reception, which ends at 9 pm.

Days two and three have been allocated for meetings, both in person and online. Day four is online meetings only.

The first three days are being run as a hybrid event. This means that on-site participants can meet in person or virtually with those who aren’t there physically but are attending. Those off-site can also meet with others online. Meetings will be scheduled for the event through

a programme called Marcom eSchedulePRO, which uses integrated Zoom and allows particpants at up to four locations to take part in any one meeting. Delegates can start scheduling their meetings up to four weeks before the event.

Who you’ll meet

Educational delegates are expected to be made up of language schools (38%); universities and vocational training institutes (35%); secondary, boarding and high schools (23%); and multi-sector and additional service providers (4%).

While delegates will be there from over 110 countries, most of the education sector will come from just five. In descending order they are the UK, Canada, the USA, Spain and Germany.

Although agents who attend have a wide range of areas of interest, such as work/travel and post-graduate degrees, by far the largest number of them (96%) have language courses as their main area of concern. The largest region they recruit students from is the EU (34%), followed by non-EU countries in Europe (24%), Asia (18%), South and Central America (10%), Africa (8%) and the Middle East (7%).

What people say

Many previous attendees are enthusiastic about ICEF events. Here are just a few of their comments: “I enjoyed the meeting because it was well-organised and fruitful. It was very easy to schedule and reschedule the meetings with education providers.”

“This was our first time to join an ICEF virtual event. It was a simple process not much different from setting up the meetings normally via the scheduler. We were surprised at how smooth everything ran during the virtual event. Definitely would join again. Staff were on standby to provide instant assistance, which was fantastic.”

“The experience was truly awesome. Three packed days and the organisation near to flawless. With Covid rampant, we still managed the face-to-face experience without the danger. Well done ICEF!”

Keeping safe

To ensure the safety of attendees, the following anti-Covid precautions will be implemented:

  • To attend in person, delegates must have received two vaccines and will be tested daily.
  • Social distancing will be observed, along with one-way systems in high-traffic areas.
  • There will be hand-sanitising stations and regular disinfecting of high-touch areas.
  • Wearing masks will be encouraged, especially when moving around the event.
  • The highest vigilance for food and drink hygiene will be maintained.
  • Some seminars will be available online for those who don’t want to attend in person.

ICEF Berlin essentials

When:       31 October – 3 November

Where:      InterContinental, Berlin

How:         Three days hybrid, one day virtual

Why:         To establish and strengthen international education industry networks


Liz Granirer
Liz Granirer
Liz has been a journalist for many years. She is currently editor of EL Gazette and has previously edited the magazines Young Performer, StepForward and Accounting Technician; been deputy editor on Right Start magazine; chief sub editor on Country Homes & Interiors; and sub editor on easyJet Traveller, Lonely Planet and Family Traveller magazines, along with a number of others.
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