We talked to Elina about her music, but also about languages since she sings in many different languages. How many actually? Watch our interview to find out and learn more about this charming Swiss-Albanian vocalist.
Elina Spiro Duni is a jazz singer, born in Tirana, Albania. Elina made her first steps on stage at the age of five. Born to an artistic family (her mother and grandfather were writers, her other grandfather was a singer, whereas her father was an actor and theater director), she was exposed early to different types of art. When living in communist Albania, the only opportunity for her was to sing in the “palace of pioneer” (Albanian: Pallati i Pioniereve). In 1992 she settled in Geneva, Switzerland along with her mother. READ MORE
A US based education group and academic consultancy PRODIREKT, which also owns the Verbalists Language Network, has partnered with the leading education event organizer Advent Group to promote their Access MBA and Access Masters tours. Access MBA and Access Masters tours represent a series of events that take place in over 55 cities around the world. The tours bring together elite international business schools and high-caliber candidates.
Dejan Trpkovic, Managing Director of PRODIREKT, explained cooperation synergies of the two companies: “Our partnership with Advent Group will bring a great value to prospective postgraduate students. It combines our expertise in academic advising as well as strong social media presence through the Verbalists Language Network on one side, and the event organizing proficiency and experience of Advent Group on the other side. High reputation of both companies will help bring top schools and candidates to the same table.”
PRODIREKT visited their long-term partner, German Language School, and attended their famous party, which this year had a spectacular setting.
Once again, ICEF was very successful in bringing international educators, service providers, work & travel professionals, and the world’s best agents under the same roof, helping them to create strategic partnerships. In fact, the ICEF Berlin workshop, which was held from 3-6 November at the InterContinental Hotel, proved to be the best so far for Prodirekt and its Verbalists Language Network. A total of 2,842 participants from 1,789 organizations, representing 111 countries across six continents, took part in ICEF Berlin 2018.
On the first day, Prodirekt representatives attended valuable seminars and expert panels, relating to trends in the education and student recruitment industry. Maja Merdovic, Education Program Manager at Prodirekt, singled out several seminars as most notable, READ MORE
The recently published Times Higher Education (THE) survey reveals which universities offer students the best quality of life.
The survey ranks institutions by analysing a range of other surveys and data including surveys on living costs, employment and salary on graduation, and student satisfaction. The following universities made the top ten. READ MORE
The Study Travel Magazine, one of the best known and most read publications in the education and travel industry, published in its December issue several responses from the leading education agents in East and Southeast Europe on the subject of the strength of the British Pound and its impact on language education opportunities around the globe.
Commenting on how the rise of the British Pound has affected people’s choice of destination for language learning, Maja Merdovic, Education Program Manager at Prodirekt, said that “it has created significant problems for language travel in price sensitive markets”. Students from the Balkan region are somewhat adjusting their preferences, opting for more affordable opportunities to attend language courses and summer camps. In addition, the rising school fees in the UK only exacerbated the whole situation. Consequently, Prodirekt and its Verbalists Language Network “experienced an increase in bookings to Malta, an alternative English learning destination to the UK,” added Maja Merdovic.
This slight shift in destination choice to more accessible areas is also partly due the UK’s lengthy, complex and costly procedure for obtaining an entry visa, which is not needed for Malta.
Agents from regions close by the Balkans, such as Turkey and Russia, noticed a similar trend in their students’ interests, with growing number of students considering Malta in 2015.
After the Manchester United football club, the representation of Manchester City added to the Verbalists Language Network’s programs portfolio for the great rivalry on the pitch but also in the classroom.
Educational group PRODIREKT LLC, along with its Verbalists Language Network, took part for the 5th time in the most important annual educational workshop held in Berlin, from 1st-3rd November, which was organised by the revered Berlin’s ICEF organisation.
More than 2,400 participants from over a hundred nations attended the 2015 workshop, particularly special as ICEF celebrates its 20th year in existence. Over the course of three days, filled with meetings and seminars, those who attended had the opportunity to reaffirm existing business partnerships, as well as create new ones, whilst catching up with the latest trends in the education sector on a global scale.
Maja Merdovic: “United vs City – Verbalists are very excited to be able to create in this way a distinctive worldwide position – a healthy competition on the pitch but also in the classroom.”
Maja Merdovic, PRODIREKT’s Language Education Program Manager, commented on the importance of providing quality education to language learners of all ages, and more specifically offering new learning opportunities for young learners that combine sports and language studying. She pointed out that prestigious sports brands make the learning experience for the young much more attractive and enjoyable: “Three years ago, in an exclusive partnership with the famous Manchester United (MU) Soccer & English School, we brought this unique educational opportunity to the Balkan region. The MU language with football program has proved hugely popular – so much so that some of our students have already decided to go back for the third time next summer.”
Besides this prestigious summer camp, Verbalists have been offering language learning and sports development with tennis, through NIKE tennis camp held in London, and summer outdoor activities with the GLS Water Sports camp near Berlin.
“As the leading provider of young learners programs, we continually seek out new and exciting learning opportunities for our students. We are pleased to announce that during the ICEF workshop we have finalized regional representation for more world famous brands, the first of which is none other than – Manchester City, the fiercest Man Utd’s rival! Verbalists are very excited to be able to create in this way a distinctive worldwide position – a healthy competition on the pitch but also in the classroom. Other famous sports brands will be revealed soon on our Facebook business page, so stay tuned, you will love our new programs,” revealed Maja Merdovic.
In 2014, apart from the language group, PRODIREKT created the academics department to focus on educational consulting for secondary, further and higher education abroad. During the workshop in Berlin, PRODIREKT’s Managing Director and founder Dejan Trpkovic met with representatives from leading high schools and universities in the world. “Language education is closely connected to and often a prerequisite for a successful entry into high schools and universities abroad. Our achievements in language education over the years have been recognized by many renowned higher education institutions, and our meetings in Berlin were an ideal opportunity to agree with them on a unique approach in presenting them in South Eastern Europe. I consider it too early to talk about significant figures in terms of the number of students from our region studying in the well-known universities, for example, in the UK or the US, mainly due to their high tuition fees. Nevertheless, there is a large number of lesser-known high schools and universities in the world with outstanding standards of education. I believe it is important to make those institutions known and accessible in the Balkans.”
Dejan added that his company intends to “acquaint students and their parents with different educational systems in the world, and make them aware of the pitfalls of enrolling in high schools which do not have a proper accreditation and/or a high acceptance rate into universities. There is also a risk of enrolling into universities which do not have a proven track record in enhancing students’ employment prospects. I trust that PRODIREKT is well suited to offer these valuable educational insights. Most of our team members have obtained their undergraduate or postgraduate diplomas at reputed universities abroad and worked as senior managers overseas. Perhaps, it is equally important that we have long been the leading management education and recruiting firm in the Balkans, providing services similar to academics consulting.”
ICEF prides itself on having the strictest, most comprehensive and diligent educator and agent quality controls. Agencies who have received ICEF Agency Status are evaluated every two years to ensure ongoing compliance with ICEF’s standards. PRODIREKT and the Verbalists Language Network were among the first organizations from the Southeast Europe to pass ICEF’s strict screening process and were awarded ICEF Agent Status in 2011, which is an indicator of their quality and professionalism.
A shocking 45% of the doctors who applied to work in the UK were barred after failing to prove their English-language skills.
About a year after the EU’s freedom of movement rules were amended to require medical doctors to pass a language proficiency exam in order to practice medicine in an EU member state in the doctor’s non-native language, a shocking 45% of the doctors who applied to work in the UK were barred after failing to prove their English-language skills.
Doctors from non-Anglophone EU member states must achieve a sufficient score on the International English Language Testing System (IELTS) in order to receive a license to practice medicine in the UK. Out of all the applicants, 779 were rejected. According to the UK’s General Medical Council, only one-third of 245 Italian applicants passed the English requirement; 40% of the 174 Greek applicants passed; and less than a quarter of French applicants earned a license to practice medicine in the UK. Polish and German applicants proved to be the most competent in English, with 69 of 114 Polish doctors and 53 of 79 German doctors scoring at least a 7.5 out of 9 on the IELTS. The IELTS is widely considered to be more challenging than other popular English proficiency exams, such as the Test of English as a Foreign Language (TOEFL) and the Test of English for International Communication (TOEIC).
The recent language requirement, which came about after a German doctor administered an overdose of painkillers killing a patient in the UK in 2008, aims to ensure that the language barrier never interferes with a patient’s right to appropriate medical care.