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Languages Canada's Inbound Trade Mission with Brazilian Education Agents helps build lasting partnerships

Languages Canada held its first inbound trade mission with Brazilian education agents from January 17 to 21, 2022. Nearly 30 Languages Canada members representing all membership segments – English, French, private, public, colleges, and universities – as well as several CAPS-I (Canadian Association of Public Schools – International) members and mission sponsors International Insurance, Desjardins, and Air Canada gathered in Lake Louise, Alberta (both in person and virtually) to showcase their programs and services to an audience of over 30 representatives from Brazil’s top education agencies.

Visiting Brazilian agents had a chance to enjoy some of Canada’s most beautiful scenery and try a few of our quintessential winter activities, such as snowshoeing and warming up with a hot drink by the fire, before launching into a B2B marathon with Canadian participants on Monday and Tuesday. Over 1,000 25-minute meetings took place over two days. Tania Knoch, Director, Global Village English Centres Victoria said: "The Languages Canada Inbound Trade Mission in beautiful Lake Louise was an amazing event! We met terrific agents from Brazil and members from institutions across Canada. A big thank you to Languages Canada for organizing. Wonderful that GV English Centres Victoria was part of this superb event."

On Wednesday, the group moved on to Banff where they were treated to a gondola ride up majestic Sulphur Mountain and a special networking luncheon with Canadian elected officials. Member of Parliament for Calgary Skyview, George Chahal addressed the crowd and introduced a video message from Randy Boissonnault, Minister of Tourism and MP for Edmonton Centre. Mr. Chahal later shared on social media: "Canada's language programs provide international students with a tremendous opportunity to advance their education, explore our beautiful country, and experience Canadian life. Being in Calgary Skyview, one of the most diverse ridings in the city, I have seen first-hand the importance and value of these programs for my constituents."

The group of Brazilian agents then flew to Vancouver, British Columbia, for the FAM Tour portion of the event, during which they visited eight LC member campuses: Canadian College of English Language, Sprott Shaw Language College, Vancouver International College Career Campus, Langara College, Kwantlen Polytechnic University, ILSC, Oxford International, and VGC International College. “These were intense days of many meetings and technical visits to educational institutions in Canada (language schools, colleges and universities), besides companies that offer very interesting services . . . We are full of news, new partnerships, and closer relationships with our long-time partners,” said participating Brazilian agent Carolina Ojeda Farias of Trinity Intercâmbio.

On Thursday, Languages Canada BC Chapter members and our visiting Brazilian partners were invited to a networking event with notable attendees Parm Bains, Member of Parliament for Steveston – Richmond East; David McKenna, Chair of Tourism Industry Association of Canada and President & CEO, Rocky Mountaineer; Renato Mosca, Consul General of Brazil in Vancouver; and Randall Martin, Executive Director, BC Council for International Education (event sponsor). The Honourable Anne Kang, BC Minister of Advanced Education and Skills Training, addressed the crowd through a statement which was read by Randall Martin, saying: “Language is a path to advanced education, an essential tool for a productive workforce, and is critical for integration. Learning a new language can open many doors in life, and language programs are an essential pathway to British Columbia’s post-secondary institutions. There are 43 college, university, and private language school members of Languages Canada here in our province. One in three language students pursues Canadian post-secondary education following their English or French program. A rich multicultural society helps nurture inclusiveness, understanding and mutual respect. It is not just the international students that benefit from these experiences. We welcome international students and truly believe that when they choose to come to British Columbia, our education system, province, and culture all benefit.” 

Special thanks to Air Canada, without whom this Trade Mission would not have been possible. Hugo Silva Franco, Head of Sales for Air Canada in Sao Paulo joined us in Alberta, promoting Air Canada’s Sao Paulo-Toronto (daily) and Sao Paulo-Montreal (4 per week) flights, which are key to ensuring a steady flow of Brazilian students to Canada.

Thanks also to our FAM tour sponsors PhoneBox, for hosting a tasty dinner on Thursday night, and Sidekick, for hosting a lively happy hour on Friday! On Saturday, FlyOver Canada treated Brazilian agents to their immersive 8-minute fly-over adventure, allowing them to experience even more of Canada.

“The relationships that were established this week will pave the way for successful and lasting partnerships between our members and their agency partners, and ultimately bring thousands of Brazilian students to learn English or French in Canada. Not only were our members able to build brand awareness and showcase their unique value propositions, but agents were given the opportunity to experience some of our natural beauty and urban energy first-hand, an unbeatable combo which makes Canada such an outstanding destination!” said Diego Sanchez, Director of International Affairs for Languages Canada.

The mission’s success was enabled by a strong commitment to health and safety. All activities were conducted in adherence with applicable health and safety protocols established by international, national, and local jurisdictions. We are grateful to all participants for conducting themselves with respect and integrity, and for making the commitment to be present to promote the recovery of our sector.