When we opened our wee consultancy back in 2003, it was merely a place to avoid the mishaps that we encountered during our studying lives from acceptance to universities, to finding homes to live in, who is going to do our visas, what do we need to do when we get there. They call me the eternal student, universities benefit from me similar to a boutique benefiting from a shopaholics, can I call me studyholic? Maybe. Also I have changed fields of study so many times, so I am like those that are called Jack of all trades, master of none (in actual fact, till date when I counsel a student I want to do what he or she are going to do!! Hillarious? Of course).
Anyway, my husband and I thought that many people must have had similar issues, hence the office. But when we went for the licensing, we found out that there is actually a name for this service, and it requires some sort of validation from the authorities, and some regulations to protect the students to the extent that we almost gave up. However, our encountered difficulties while applying for studies abroad was stronger than the licensing difficulties. Voila, we are here, and we did it. Now what? Let's find the students? So we went to embassies, schools, and told them about us, published a magazine, visited ministries, and the rest is history.
What we have started as a litle project went on to be a good source of income; this income didn't come from close friends and relatives of course, but it came as a result of our strong promotion, parents worried about their kids, and last but not least the increase in money in the gulf countries which made the governments introduce lots and lots of scholarships. The friends didn't use our high quality services, as maybe they have a rule of not mixing business with friendship, but to me, having their kids go overseas through our consultancy may save them a lot of agony, money, and time. Notice that time is of the essence here, no one should lose time, as time is money.
I will only provide one example (I have many of course, but don't want to bore you). One of my friends sent her so son USA, and her son was in continuos contact with her; for a while she was worried to death as she didn't hear from him, when she finally got hold of the university, they told her that he had had an accident and they didn't know how to contact her, as they did not have her email, phone etc. This is something that we insist upon, but the children do not want to provide their parents' information to the university to avoid any communication with the university and to prevent them from receiving their academic records. Having next-of-kin information with the school, college or university is of utmost importance, as anything can happen to our kids, and we want to hear about these incidents ASAP. We didn't have these kids from thin air, we spent our life to bring them up, and want to be certain that they are well looked after.
Believe me, I had silly situations and was mucked around with during my long years of study, please ensure that your kids are in good hands, bringing them to me or to other experienced consultants may save you a lot of worry.