AIM Overseas: 8 Pioneering Years of Australian Outbound Mobility
AIM Overseas is the Australian Institute for Mobility Overseas. It is an independent organisation supporting educational institutions with their outbound student mobility initiatives. The company has two core functions. The first function is to increase the number of Australian students participating in international education programs overseas. The second is to support the outbound mobility industry in Australia.
From the Executive Summary of AIM Overseas' original business plan in 2007
When we started this adventure 8 years ago, independent outbound mobility essentially didn't exist in Australia. The road ahead was unknown. Dark. But we really believed in what we were heading off to do, so shouldered our packs and started the long march...
The first years were tough... tough in a way that only entrepreneurs can really understand: enormous sacrifices, endless hours at work, no holidays or weekends, writing the rules as you go, asking lots of questions, getting knocked back and going back to try again...
But there was no buck-passing. And so it became our philosophy: to just keep doing things better. Keep pushing, focus on quality and you'll get there.
There were shining lights for us - incredible support from people like Di Yerbury, Bill Purcell and Tony Adams (to name but a few) - and a sector that supported us too, in the way that only Australian outbound practitioners can be collegial.
Along the way, we've stayed true to our values and as we've grown we have always given back.
In the early days we gave money to charities, even when there wasn't really money to give - Plan International, the Red Cross and others - to help those less well off or battered by disasters.
In 2009 we took on a big one - we came up with the idea, and ran the campaign, to rid the world of the OS-HELP loan fee...forever...there was blood. Guts. Battering rams.
...and we won!...saving students literally millions of dollars per year.
We evolved more. We consulted and shared and wrote the Outbound Mobility Best Practice Guide for Australian Universities. We did research that defined the dollar value of outbound mobility for Australian universities. People shared with us because we shared with everyone.
And always, our passion for putting together awesome, quality study programs kept going and growing. We kept asking the questions - Is it the best quality it can be? Can we do it better?
As we grew, amazing people joined the team: Jooliet, Harriet, Maria, Annabel, Nat, Ellie, Bec, Tori, Cesar, Karina and Heather. People that would be an asset to any outbound mobility team - we're proud of them and what they've achieved. With their energy, passion and commitment we were able to do more.
We established the Study Overseas Foundation to give independent scholarships to students going on any sort of overseas study program - an incredible organisation that has already done good work and that, as you'll hear tonight, is about to be turbo-charged.
We set up the national professional network for students that have studied overseas, or who are about to study overseas, The Global Society...
...and we set it free to sail as an independent organisation.
We became technological early adopters, being the first to use engajer in Australia and becoming shameless leaders in using video and social media....experiences which we've shared whenever we could.
This year, we're proud to have become the first ever student mobility organisation to support the International Education Association of Australia (IEAA) as a Corporate Affiliate.
So that's the first 8 years. Gone in a blur - at some points moving too slowly (such as the ideas for our first year that ended up happening in our 8th year!), and at other times moving way too fast (such as, where did April just go?).
But there are constants for us. And that's you. The people and organisations that we set out to serve. The three thousand students that we have helped to take an overseas study program - some for the first time and others for the fourth time (talk about repeat offenders!)
We're here to work with you, to support you , to give back to you. In just the same way that we couldn't do what we do without you. Your support means everything.
The year ahead is a big one. A massive one. And one that will be as pioneering as our first year because it never was, and never will be, just about being a third party provider.
We say to the students and you, the whole wonderful industry that supports them, it's all about "Taking You Further".
Rob Malicki and Marine HautemontFounders/Directors, AIM OverseasSeptember 2015 [gallery columns="4" ids="5407,5418,5417,5419,5415,5416,5414"]
Photos: A few behind-the-scenes snaps from the first 8 years