How Recruitment Agents Support International Students From Brazil and Other Key Insights

Recent trends in the outbound mobility of students from Brazil suggest that it is a fertile source of international students. According to ICEF Monitor, the number of outbound Brazilian students grew to about 386,000 in 2019.


Meanwhile, another 2019 report from World Education News and Reviews (WENR) states that this South American country may be among the top five countries worldwide in terms of total tertiary enrollments by 2035.


These developments expand horizons for student recruitment agents in Brazil. Although the country is beset with economic and political challenges, it is the largest higher education market in Latin America. Recruitment agents may even play a key role in giving Brazilian students hope as limitations in the Brazilian education system push learners to seek alternative study options abroad.


In this article, we will discuss the integral role of student recruitment agents in supporting Brazilian students in their study abroad aspirations.


Key Takeaways

  • A January 2021 survey revealed that 63.2 percent of agents surveyed helped students find a place to live.
  • The same 2021 survey revealed that 65 percent of agents surveyed were able to assist international student clients through a mix of online and offline methods.
  • A 2019 study showed that 86 percent of outbound Brazilian students have made their booking arrangements with the help of an education agency.


Education agents as allies in studying abroad

In 2020, when border restrictions became a huge roadblock in the journey of many international students, education agents never ceased to find ways to support them.


In a survey done by MSM in January 2021 among agents, titled “Online Recruitment: Agent Toolkit, Challenges, and Gaps to Fill,” 65 percent of them were able to assist international student clients through a mix of online and offline methods (see chart below).


online and offline methods

Even in a pre-pandemic context, student recruitment agents have been playing a critical role in the journey of global learners. A 2019 ICEF Monitor study showed that 86 percent of outbound Brazilian students have made their booking arrangements with the help of an education agency.


Additionally, the same ICEF Monitor study shared a relevant survey by the Brazilian Educational & Language Travel Association (BELTA) that revealed about 67 percent of respondents have availed of some form of assistance for overseas studies from a physical agency although they have first discovered the service online. This survey was done among close to 5,000 Brazilian students.


Student recruitment agents also go above and beyond their call of duty and are mindful of the other challenges that a global learner may face along the way. In a previous article shared by MSM, international students are said to experience obstacles such as time zone difference, unstable internet connections, self-isolation, and homesickness, among other things. This makes working with agents a tremendous help among Brazilian students and even for other students from all over the world. 


Amid the pandemic, for instance, a survey done by MSM in January 2021 revealed that 73.2 percent of participating agents were able to provide travel assistance. Meanwhile, 63.2 percent of agents were able to help students find a place to live and undergo the proper quarantine measures.


Agents as opportunity linkers: scholarships, flexible payment terms, work and study programs

In the 2021 Agent Toolkit survey, 51.4 percent of the responding agents indicated that they were able to support global learners in getting financial assistance from target higher education institutions (HEIs) or third-party lenders.


Education agents are trained to know by heart the available scholarships, flexible payment terms, and financial aid available to eligible international students. This allows them to be an instrument in linking individuals to study opportunities. An analysis released by ICEF Monitor also attests that monetary buffers are critical in sustaining an economically challenged market such as Brazil’s.


Considering the disparities and accessibility issues that beset the Brazilian education system, many students from mid to low-income families are attracted to more affordable study options. And while international education is often deemed as a pursuit that entails a considerable amount of investment, Brazilian global learners are eager in seizing opportunities to pursue study abroad ambitions.


Agents as offshore HEI representatives

International students are not the only sector that benefits from student recruitment agents. HEIs also rely on them to be their satellite presence in a source market. They are expected to deliver key information such as admission requirements, unique value propositions, and even extra-curricular perks that a college or university can offer. This is why education agents are expected to have a full grasp of the motivations of international students from a certain country as well as the programs offered by the various HEIs they are partnered with.


In the age of data analytics and AI-powered processes, education agents are now supported with tools and resources so that they can fulfill such top-level information that is key in strategically working with interested global learners.


MSM, for instance, has a performance-based model wherein agents are supplied with vast market intelligence. This is delivered through learning sessions and regular insightful content. In turn, these equip them to provide sufficient, data-backed pieces of information that are crucial in making meaningful communications to both international students and HEIs.


At the end of the day, there is no doubt that student recruitment agents play a critical role and this is especially true to growing source markets such as Brazil. They add a massive value not only to the journey of international students but also in pushing forward the common mission of most HEIs, and that is making education accessible to all. (SUNEETHA QURESHI)


#PartnerForLife #GlobalEducationForAll #InternationalEducation #InternationalStudents #MSM

MSM VP Global Suneetha Qureshi

MSM President-Global Marketing Office (GMO)

Suneetha has more than 10 years of experience in the international education sector. As president of MSM GMO, she fortifies its business development outreach globally, particularly in the face of MSM’s foray in edtech-based recruitment via MSM Unify. She preserves the premium, value-adding services provided to each GMO partner institution, including dedicated teams on the ground, agent management, lead generation and inquiry management, application pre-screening, and student and parent support through pioneering pre-departure briefing sessions.


She has an impeccable track record of successfully launching the representative offices in Asia and Africa of many North American and European higher education institutions. Her key strengths include hiring, training, and developing teams as evidenced by the successful results of the dedicated in-country college and university client teams.

Suneetha also has taken the lead in developing several initiatives at MSM, including building robust standard operating procedures, the Rise ‘n Shine team engagement platform, and the organization’s data analytics and audit segments.


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