After 2020, we all attended dozens of virtual events, including webinars, conferences, and workshops. My personal experiences with these events have been varied. We all know that simply transferring an in-person event to a virtual platform isn’t enough to guarantee a satisfactory experience, both in terms of business and relationships. In fact, in my opinion, relationships and connections are the key to attending industry events. That’s the reason why, in 2023, I am attending SRT E-Conference again.

Why attend the E-conference again?

First of all, the event is well-organized, and you can count on nice and prompt support from the organizers, both before and during the event. Furthermore, SRT organizers have managed to provide a balanced mix of one-to-one meetings, webinars, and training sessions on relevant topics for both universities and consultants. You can watch these sessions at your own pace or at specific set times, and they are mixed with live lessons and panels to ensure the opportunity to share ideas with colleagues and college representatives.

If I were to describe SRT E-Conference in one sentence, I would say, “It’s an opportunity to learn and connect.”

My most memorable experience as an E-conference participant?

Me as a panelist! During the last edition, I was given the opportunity to attend not just as a consultant but as a panelist too, discussing our views and experiences of the recent post-COVID years and changes to our work and our relationships with students and families. That was my first time in such a role, and I am always nervous about speaking in public, but I can ensure that the organizers were super-helpful in introducing me to the other panelists and organizing our speaking turns and the timing of the conversation as a whole. I hope the listeners enjoyed the session as much as I did. Aside from this, I found the webinars about Danish Higher Education, USA Costs and Scholarships, and the Business and Hospitality sector in Switzerland very useful. There were also plenty of opportunities to discuss mental health for our students, how our profession evolved after the pandemic in 2020, and updates about admission in Ireland and the Netherlands.

A typical day while attending the E-conference can look exactly as you want it to. You can set your agenda weeks before and choose whether to concentrate your meetings all in one day or in certain time slots. Alternatively, you can combine live meetings with recorded webinars to watch or listen alongside the live panels I spoke about earlier. E-conference days can be very busy, and all participants take it seriously, so you can get all the information you need from new university representatives, ask questions, and set up follow-up calls for the following weeks, just like any other in-person event.

What’s the best part of the E-conference?

It’s difficult to decide. Each part of the event is useful to me. One-to-one meetings are at the core, but webinars are super-useful because you can deepen your knowledge about destinations you already place students in, or discover new destinations. Panels are a great way for both panelists and the audience to discuss relevant topics in our profession, share knowledge, and exchange tips. I would recommend new attendees to do a bit of everything each day.

With such a variety of content and moments, I learned a lot during my last E-Conference. I think the most relevant thing I learned was that colleagues and college representatives are people just like anyone else, and none of us has “the” right answer to the everyday challenges of our profession. We can share ideas, doubts, and experiences and learn from each other.

So, I would recommend that anyone attend the next edition: from experienced professionals to newcomers in the industry. Everyone is friendly and welcoming, and the organizers are always there to help.

How to get ready for the next E-Conference? First of all, register!

For those already registered, I would like to share three main pieces of advice.

First of all, clear your schedule to focus on the event during those conference days. This way, you can take advantage of all the opportunities offered.

The second piece of advice is to select a few webinars you would like to watch, either live or recorded, and block out a slot or time to view them. Continuous training is important in our profession.

Finally, of course, have a look in advance at college profiles. Do some independent research and prepare your questions in advance. This way, you will make the most of the meetings. Instead of listening to a general presentation of the college, you will already know the basics and can ask questions relevant to your own agency and students. I know it seems time-consuming, but it helps a lot.

This was my experience with SRT E-Conference 2022, and I expect the 2023 edition to be just as interesting and valuable.

See you “there” soon! And, by the way, you can find me on the list of attendees, as well as among the panelists discussing “Gen Z students” this year!

Antonella Crisafulli

Educational Consultant | Boarding Schools Expert | Blogger | Life Long Learner

Helping students find the study abroad path and place to allow them “to flourish” is what I love most about my job.