In a recent interview, we had the privilege of speaking with Erna Balk from Windesheim University of Applied Sciences about her three-year experience at the SRT E-Conferences for International Educators. Join us as we explore Erna’s valuable insights and unique perspective on this flagship event that brings together counselors and university representatives from diverse educational institutions.

Can you describe the SRT E-Conference in one sentence?

The SRT E-Conference is a highly efficient way to connect with numerous counselors and university representatives from different schools and universities.

What does your day look like while attending the E-Conference?

During the conference, I focus on meeting as many new people as possible as it provides an excellent platform for establishing connections. I aim to learn about the schools represented by counselors, and their student profiles and in turn, share comprehensive information about our university. This helps counselors discover new options for their students while also guiding me in identifying schools where our university could be a good fit. Additionally, I make it a point to attend information sessions to continually expand my knowledge.

Which part of the E-Conference is most useful for you?

For me, the one-on-one sessions with counselors are the most valuable. However, I also find the information sessions highly informative. In fact, I occasionally deliver online presentations about our programs to schools, which allows students to access information from multiple universities, an opportunity that would be otherwise limited due to logistical constraints.

What is your most memorable experience as an E-Conference participant?

While I don’t have a specific instance to share at the moment, I’ve had many memorable experiences during the E-Conference, including engaging conversations and valuable connections made with counselors and representatives from different educational institutions.

Can you share one new thing you learned during your last E-Conference?

During my last E-Conference, I gained valuable insights into the evolving trends in college admissions and the increasing importance of holistic student assessments.

Why are you attending the E-Conference again?

I find the E-Conference to be a fantastic platform that offers numerous options to meet new people. The opportunity to establish connections and explore potential collaborations is invaluable.

What would you recommend new E-Conference participants do before the start of the event as well as during?

Before the start of the E-Conference, I highly recommend blocking your calendar completely to fully immerse yourself in the event. This ensures you have ample time to connect with as many people as possible and attend various sessions. Additionally, I suggest reviewing the profiles of fellow participants in advance and using the conference system to schedule appointments with individuals who may be of interest to you. During the conference, it’s essential to make detailed notes and, whenever possible, follow up with the people you’ve spoken to within five minutes of concluding the conversation, given the high volume of interactions.

Erna Balk
Experienced communications consultant with a demonstrated history of working in the higher education industry and research industry. She is International Communications and International Student Recruitment at Windesheim University of Applied Sciences.