REAL’s current members include YES Intercambio from Brazil, Minerva Consultores Académicos from Bolivia, Study Union International from Colombia, Representaciones Académicas from Ecuador, and The U for You from Panama.
According to France’s Key Figures 2020 report, outbound mobility in Latin America and the Caribbean (which it lists together) increased by 58% between 2012 and 2017 to having some 340,000 internationally mobile students.
Around 31% choose to head to Europe, particularly the EU (30%) and Spain (9%), while 28% head to North America and 29% travel elsewhere in the region.
“We’ve noticed and we’ve heard from a lot of our partner institutions that they’ve often had problems with agents. A lot of institutions, even to this day, don’t trust agencies as good representatives in different countries due to problems that they’ve had in the past,” said Shannon O’Brien of Minerva Consultores Académicos and one of REAL’s founding members.
“We’ve talked for many years about getting together a group of agents who were very well known to have excellent customer service, excellent practises, ethical and transparent work environments, and who have had excellent relationships with different educational institutions around the world,” she continued.
“It will give new institutions, new universities, new governments someone to contact directly knowing that they have the best of the best of Latin American agencies.”
“We wanted to have a portal to Latin America guided by these agencies. It will give new institutions, new universities, new governments someone to contact directly knowing that they have the best of the best of Latin American agencies.
“We’re hoping to add agencies in the future based on a set of criteria that we will develop together within this group to make sure that all of those agencies are using these as practises that we pride ourselves so much on.”
REAL further wants to help institutions develop their Latin America markets and understanding of the differences in the region.
“Sometimes institutions see Latin America as the region, but we’re so different from each other,” explained Melanie Milanes from The U for You.
“Each country has such a different culture that sometimes institutions use one marketing structure for all and it doesn’t work. Helping institutions to help us market for each of our cultures is very important.”