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AIEC brings international education sector minds together online

The Australian International Education Conference (AIEC), co-hosted by IDP and the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA), is usually one of the highlights of the international education calendar in Australia, with more than 1,500 people attending each year.

While the in-person conference was postponed this year to 2021, AIEC launched ‘AIEC Braindates’, a conversation series designed to make meaningful connections in a virtual world. 

In the lead up to the event, 550 people signed-up to AIEC Braindate to discuss the international education sector and share knowledge with each other, 150 topics were discussed, and 950 virtual connections were made on the Braindate platform. Braindates were a combination of 30-minute one-on-one ‘deep dive’ conversations and 45-minute group Braindates with up to five people.

Conversation topics were wide-ranging, including ‘International student mobility when can we travel?, ‘Digital marketing #epicfails and how to avoid them’ and ‘The influence of university rankings on international education: a challenge or a benefit?’ Among the top 20 most popular keywords were recruitment, marketing, international students, strategy, leadership, best practice and student support and experience. 

Josephine Williams, Events and Partnerships Manager at IDP said that the Braindates were a great way to keep industry professionals engaging with each other and continuing to share knowledge and expertise, which has been particularly critical in 2020.

“When we postponed AIEC 2020, we didn’t want to take a year off, we wanted to make sure the industry was still connecting with each other virtually. Braindate offered the perfect solution, and in a way that didn’t contribute to more webinar-fatigue.

“We know many people attend physical conferences for the networking opportunities. The Braindate format we introduced emulated those meaningful face to face experiences well. And since there was a purpose to each conversation, the networking was not just a social opportunity, but an enriching peer-learning and knowledge-sharing experience.

“It was great to see how many people participated in the Braindates and thir passion for international education shone through,” she concluded.

The Braindate experience has received great feedback, with 92% of attendees stating they learned something new and useful, 90% stating it ‘made them more connected to the sector’ and 96% stating they ‘enjoyed the opportunity to network with like-minded people during these COVID times’.

AIEC Connect will continue in December with a webinar featuring IEAA and IDP. This session will discuss latest data from international students who are holding on to their study plans.

To learn more, visit the AIEC website.


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