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From IALC to Iniesta - An Interview with David Sampere

30/07/2010

David Sampere, Marketing Manager of the Estudio Sampere Spanish language schools, recently joined his family business to raise its profile and build its reputation for quality and service.

Today we spoke to David to find out how his new role is going and also how the atmosphere has been in Spain since they won their first World Cup.


Q: Hello David, so how does it feel to be playing a key role, steering the Sampere family business?

A: First of all, I want to thank IALC for giving me this opportunity of been presented to the “IALC Universe”. When I arrived at Estudio Sampere in January I felt a mixture of pride, fear and ambition. The Sampere family is well known and respected in the study abroad market. My grandfather was the pioneer in Spain in 1956, and my father was at the centre of the evolution for this market. Estudio Sampere is well known for its quality and service all over the world and I have to increase its recognition. The way I arrived at Estudio Sampere was not the easiest, but I love challenges and this one is the biggest I have ever faced. The first thing I thought was: “My grand-father built the ground floor and my father the first floor. I have to choose between the second floor or the roof.” Of course, I chose the second floor and that’s where I decided to go in, with all the responsibilities and duties.

Q: Where were you working previously and how does it compare to working for Estudio Sampere?
A: I studied International Business in Bordeaux (France), then a postgraduate course in England for Business English and Sales. I was an IT Business Developer for 5 years in Spain, then I worked in the north of Africa (Magreb), then in automobile accessories back in Spain in 2008. I then took an Executive Masters Degree in Marketing and Sales in a well know institution, here in Madrid. Compared to Estudio Sampere, it’s been a little different. I used to deal with goods, and not services and my boss was not my father. But once the first doubts are resolved, it’s very similar. You need to work more hours than before, you need to learn how this market works and to listen to other people who are much more experienced.

Q: What are your main aims for Estudio Sampere?
A: My main aim is to put into action the marketing of Estudio Sampere. The academic aspect is recognised and appreciated and our teachers have great experience and a very good connection with students. I’m looking for new courses, such as a “University Foundation” and specialised business courses. I also prospect new markets for Spanish courses and new ways of presenting the school and receiving registration for courses.

Q: From which countries do the majority of your come students from?
A: We have a big relationship with American Universities and Colleges and very good agents in Western Europe (Switzerland, Austria, United Kingdom etc.) In Salamanca we receive school groups from Italy and France and young students from all over the world (from New Zealand to Canada). The “Aqui y Alli long term course” takes students from the Far East including Korea and Japan. Estudio Sampere is a very international school with students from over 50 different nationalities.

Q: What would you say are the main benefits of studying Spanish in Spain?
A: The main benefit is to study where the language is spoken. I think this is the main point for all IALC schools. You learn Spanish in the classroom, and you practice it during your life experience in the city. I have been studying in different IALC schools (Eire, UK, France, Canada, USA) and the daily use of the language is the best way to learn it. To feel and integrate within another culture is also a very good opportunity to learn not only a language but a new way of life. We also have a school in Ecuador, the language is the same, but the experience of living in Latin America is completely different to the experience in Madrid.
For future learners, I always recommend to go to a country where the language is spoken, because it’s easier, quicker, and much more profitable than studying in your own country without using the language.

Q: Your grandfather Alberto was instrumental in the creation of IALC . What is your first memory of the association?
A: I don’t really have a first memory of IALC, because it has always been in my life. However I am reminded of IALC each year as the annual Workshop takes place around the same time as my birthday.
I remember receiving “international” gifts each year from the city where it took place. Even in 2005, when I was living in England, the school director brought me my parent’s gift after the Workshop. I especially remember the 2006 IALC Madrid Workshop and 50th anniversary of Estudio Sampere. I was on the organising committee for the Workshop and a guide on the buses in Madrid, helping schools and agents – we had a very good time. And of course, I will always remember Galway, my first “real” IALC AGM and Workshop. When I arrived at IALC, I really felt at home with lots of agents and schools who know me and all of them offering me their help and expertise. It was a very interesting time, and I realised where I was at and also what a lot of people were expecting from “the new Sampere”.

Q: Which is your favourite city in Spain and why?
A: It’s little obvious, but I love Madrid. I was born here and spent all my life around this magnificent city. Big streets, nice weather, a good ambiance and a lot of things to do all day long make Madrid one of the best cities in the world. Here we say: “De Madrid, al cielo” (From Madrid to Heaven).
I like Alicante because it’s not overwhelmed by tourists. I like Salamanca for its culture. Sevilla, Cordoba and Granada are like “open air museums” with very friendly people. Spain is a very interesting country where you can find almost everything you need - good food, a lot of history, night life and friendly people.

Q: Moving onto football, did you do anything special with the students at your schools during the World Cup?
A: We designed a specific T-shirt (shown in the photo above) for the World Cup and we reserved an area in the pub close to the school where we could watch all the matches. We also prepared a match calendar which we gave to the students, with all the information on the city’s “big screen” and celebrations. Most of the students went to the Santiago Bernabeu stadium to see the matches and to Cibeles to see the glorious Spanish team!!

Q: Where were you when Iniesta scored the World Cup winning goal for Spain and what was the reaction around you like?
A: I was at home with friends, some beers and a lot of stress!! It was an incredible moment, all the neigbours were shouting “Campeones, Campeones”, kids jumping in the pool, car horns throughout the city. The Sunday night party started when the match finished and we went to the city centre (Paseo de la Castellana) where a wide 5 lane street was totally blocked by people wearing red and yellow and flags, cars playing music and all the bars were open. The whole of Madrid was in the street celebrating. From kids to older people, they were all together, proud of their victory. It was a hard match but at the end, after 120 stressed minutes, we were, 40 million people, happy and proud of our team!

Q: Finally, has winning the greatest sporting prize in the world changed Spanish people, or is it business as usual?
A: Statistically, during the World Cup, beer and pizza sales increased by 20%. We are now in July, holidays are starting and a lot of people are going to the beach. I don’t think winning the World Cup will change the Spanish. However, what is very important is what this can bring from outside Spain. For 120 minutes we were in the world’s spotlight, over 400 million people saw how the Spanish play football, our courage and our fair play.
We are receiving more and more enquiries and some agents are doing Spanish special offers following the World Cup win. This kind of publicity is very good for Spain, and for the Spanish language.
Founded in 1956, Estudio Sampere has schools in Spain and Ecuador. For school enquiries please contact:
Email: david@sampere.es
Tel: +34 91 431 43 66



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