“We try that parents feel confortable with us because, after all, everything is based on an matter of trust”
26 noviembre, 2015
Last weekend, I had the pleasure to talk with Miguel Fernández Cuenca. He works as an Executive Director (CEO) of the companies Friends English Courses and Northwest English Centres. Father of two children, he also works as an English teacher. He studied the English career of Philosophy and Letters – philology in the University of Valladolid and also the Master of Translation and Interpretation and other one of Methodology of the Education of Foreign Languages for the University of Extremadura, apart from other diplomas like Certificate of Proficiency (CPE) or Business English Certify (BEC) of the University of Cambridge.
Miguel´s job is very meticulous; he first visits the places to see if it is necessary to contract and to come to agreements on the possible courses with the suppliers. After that, they elaborate the information leaflets of each course and they coordinate his presentation in the web page. They do the promotion of the courses and they study possible dates to organize them.
“I personally think that interviewing each of the parents and students who show interest in the courses is very important. We try that they feel confortable with us because, after all, everything is based in a matter of trust”
Mr. Fernández says that they select personally the future monitors, although the majority of them have already been years with this company, and they teach them what to do in any situation.
After asking him how many hours he spends between his two jobs, he highlighted the next: “No matter how much work you have if you really love what you do”. He also says that one of the most important things of his work is that he encourages learning new languages at any age and he helps children to be more self-confident and independent as they live away from their parents in a period of time.
They offer summer camps and courses all over Canada, USA, United Kingdom and Ireland. Some examples of these are located in the zone of Muskoka’s Nature reserve and in Bruce’s peninsula in the Canadian province of Ontario. In the UK, they have a course in one of the most prestigious school, Harrow School. All this courses encourage sport, teamwork and fellowship as they have lots of activities to do.
The courses that Miguel works with are divided in two different types. The first type are more called as “summercamps” and they are aimed to children between 10-17 years old. This camp is focused on learning english and sport activities, but it doesn´t have any type of english classes. Groups don´t have many Spanish people so children are practicing the language 24 hours a day. They are located in beautiful natural settings and children can practice plenty activities (windsurfing, sailing, archery…).
There are other type of courses, such as courses on family with Canadian students in Toronto with english classes, for example, and others in university residences or working as a monitor…
At the time the courses start, everything has to be done properly. If any problems happen, Miguel likes to be on the ball. It is a job with no schedule and permanent work. His days have at least 12-14 hours of actual work for many months of the year.
After asking what agreements they have in every country he said that they have agreements with many suppliers in each country. Each course they do they have a different supplier, for example in USA they are working with a supplier for the residential course in New York and one for the Day Camp in Connecticut.
Miguel Fernández explained the kind of stuff they have to do to send any children abroad to a course: “In Canada any Spanish person can be up to 6 months in the country without any visa; they only need a passport in rule which does not expire in the following 6 months. In USA it is necessary to request the residence permission (ESTA) for Spanish tourists and, if the course that is realized has more than 20 hours of classes, a permission that is called i-20 which is necessary to ask for in the embassy. However, in the UK or Ireland you only need your passport and your parents permission if you are under age”.
In conclusion, Miguel foregrounds the importance of the word of mouth: “If the clients stays satisfied, they are the best advertising we can get”.
Nicolás Nogueira, 26-11-2015