Posted on 20 Feb '24

Reflecting on the EAIE 2023 Conference

In September 2023, several members of our Account Management team headed to the 33rd Annual European Association for International Education (EAIE) Conference in Rotterdam to forge new connections and get up to speed with the latest in the world of international education and exchange!

As a new year begins, you might be wondering whether to add any conferences to your own diary for 2024, and what to expect if you do! In this blog, our International Sales Manager, Somaia Holye, reflects on her experience attending the 2023 EAIE Conference and what she took away from the experience.

2023 was my first year attending the world-renowned EAIE Conference. I had a fantastic day and walked away with plenty of new connections and ideas!

What is the EAIE Conference?

The European Association for International Education (EAIE) is Europe’s centre for expertise, networking and resources in the internationalisation of higher education. Each year, the EAIE conference and exhibition takes place.

In 2023, EAIE welcomed nearly 7,000 participants from over 100 countries to Rotterdam. In September 2024, the conference will return for its 34th year in Toulouse.

Why did FindAUniversity attend?

EAIE is the perfect opportunity to meet new international clients and catch up with current ones in person. We set off with dozens of meetings scheduled in, alongside the promise of even more networking opportunities once we arrived! Through talks and interactive workshops, we were able to get up to speed on the latest developments in the sector, learn best practices and get inspired by colleagues from across the globe.

What was the experience like?

Thanks to some light persuading from the FindAUniversity team, my first day started with a bang. As the sun painted the sky with hues of pink and gold, I found myself lacing up my running shoes, ready to embark on a sunrise run that would set the tone for an extraordinary week ahead. Sharing the route with a diverse group of individuals, the city of Rotterdam served as the perfect backdrop for the EAIE conference this year.

From that moment, my conference experience was in full swing

Arriving at the conference venue, I was immediately struck by the grandeur of the setting. Ahoy Rotterdam is one of the largest event complexes in the country. Walking into the main hall for the first time, I found myself instantly immersed in a sea of ideas and perspectives. The diverse array of sessions covered topics from AI in education and spotlight on Gen Z, to inclusion and diversity talks. Engaging with fellow attendees I discovered a shared passion for creating a more interconnected world through education. Each conversation was a reminder that, despite our different roles within the sector, we all strive for a common goal – to empower and educate the next generation.

Throughout the week, we received invitations to attend a multitude of inspiring receptions. I made my way to the London Met, The British Council, and the Marketing & Recruitment event, each hosted in remarkable venues that offered breathtaking views of the skyline. As the week neared its conclusion, it was our chance to play host at the highly anticipated Keystone reception at the Foodhallen, renowned as a ‘big industrial urban jungle’. Arriving in style via a water taxi (a highly recommended experience!), the venue lived up to our expectations. I found myself marvelling at the sheer uniqueness of the space. With the DJ setting the tone and attendees streaming in, the atmosphere became charged with excitement.

We continued to share insights and stories from the week’s events, forging connections that surpassed geographical boundaries. Ideas were shared, glasses clinked and business cards exchanged. It became clear to me that the magic of the conference lay not only in the ideas presented, but in the commitment of a network of individuals driving to make a positive change in the world through education.

As the week closed, I sat in Schipol Airport attempting to catch up on emails. Buzzing with ideas and plans going forward, I felt a sense of gratitude for being involved with such a transformative event. I had a heightened appreciation for the collaborative spirit that defines the field of international education.

A few tips for conference attendees

If you’re thinking of attending a conference or two yourself this year, there are a couple of things I’d recommend to help you get the most out of your experience:

  • Save some time for impromptu moments – if you fill every spare moment with bookings, you won’t be left with much time to explore and meet people organically.
  • Bring snacks – days at a conference can be long, so you will need your energy.
  • Wear comfy shoes – embracing the world of smart-casual clothing paired with trainers was a life saver.
  • Learn the transport system – or partner up with someone who already has! You’ll save a lot of time.

FindAUniversity take pride in being experts in postgraduate education. Follow us on LinkedIn, Twitter and Instagram for regular insight, comment and case studies.

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