Should an Education Fair be Stiff or Relaxed? – My Personal Impressions

Today I had an opportunity to visit The Education Fair. A Fair that was supposed to promote different educational institutions, mostly secondary schools and universities (from Serbia and abroad, Greece, Bulgaria, DAAD Germany, TESOL Institute, Belgrade) and only one private school “Foreign Language Institute Andreja” .

Maybe my expectations  were too high (Charles Dickens, ain’t it) or maybe I was eager to see what is going on in other schools and countries, maybe I was too curious. Whatever the reason I found only a few of them that I, personally, found most attractive. To name just a few: Metropolitan University, The Secondary School of Cooking, Foreign Language Institute Andreja and the Secondary school of Trade and Marketing. When I came home, I reflected a bit on the whole event and this is what I came up with.

When promoting an institution, it is not enough and sufficient to supply a necessary number of fliers and leaflets, a few book editions, or to give and oral presentation of what the institution has to offer. Those stands were the least visited. Why? Simply because they had nothing practical and useful to offer to see, to let the visitors see how the whole concept of a particular educational institution functions. Thus, apart from supplying the  promotional material and a few question and answer conversation, there were no other sorts of presentations.

Luckily, there were a few of them that really put their heart into their presentations and managed to attract the audiences’ attention. And they really deserve to be mentioned and presented through a number of photographs. Please, do not pay attention to the numbered order of the institutions because it is really difficult for me to say which one of them excelled themselves. Each was different and unique. Here is the list:

  1. Metropolitan University, a private university, department for the graphic design that, right on the spot made portraits in literally 15 min, wrote your names using calligraphy. Also, which was even more interesting and fascinating, was the team of young students who did it all, including the explanations of how the university works, sharing their own experience with the audience, (there are even some FREE courses in drawing and maths every Saturday. I got really interested myself.)
  2. Foreign Language Institute Andreja, that presented language games they use while working with students of different ages, a video of how it all functions in the classrooms, with the light music in the background. Did I mention how kind and helpful they were and cute, offering each visitor a candy (I had a few, strawberry my favourite flavor).
  3. The Secondary School of Cooking. You really should have been there to see how those young students, still learning the  cooking skills make beautiful decorations out of apples, carrots,reddishes,oranges and lemon. How devoted they were and patient. True art. A pleasure for the eye. Did I get hungry? Don’t ask.
  4. The Secondary School of Trade and Marketing that made their own shop window with a doll whose skirt was decorated with plastic cups. Looked really different. A real Haute Couture.
  5. The last but not the least, ‘Bora Stanković’, Grammar School, probably the only school in the country and wordwide that has published the school newspapers in both English and Serbian, “We Did It Our Way” and “Boropoliten”. Let alone the students of the same school who eagerly talked about a variety of activities that are being carried out throughout the school, apart from regular curriculum: famous writers giving speeches, fancy dress parties, humanitarian concerts, projects and many many more.

In the end my message to everyone who takes part in such an event. Forget about being too formal and distant. You are NOT at the business meeting. Be more personal, creative, natural, interesting and heart-warming, since your goal is to attract your audience and future potential clients meaning students. It’s a fair not an exam.Therefore, make your presentation in such a way that it pleases all the senses. See you next year, hopefully with the attitude changed. 😉

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