Guest blog by Sharon Sznitman – Co-founder at GradTrain and Lecturer School of Public Health University of Haifa
Have you ever received information in a text-heavy and non-user-friendly way? Sure – we all do every day. Whether it is at the doctor’s office receiving medical information, at the bank when signing up for a student loan, or at work, when a business presentations take up dozens of text oriented slides. Is this really necessary?
Especially in the globalized and information-heavy world we live in, where language barriers abound, using graphics and effects to convey a message makes a lot of sense. That is how our team at GradTrain connected with PowToon.
It became clear to us that a video with cartoon images as well as accompanying text and/or sound is a powerful way to get messages across, whether it be for doctors to give advice about health behaviors, or for a startup company like ours, that is aiming to get prospective international graduate students from around the globe excited about the new services we are offering – in a clear and impactful way.
Reaching an international audience
At GradTrain we aim to reach a diverse group of people, with different nationalities, backgrounds and interests, who speak different languages. Indeed, we are trying to reach every single prospective international student in the entire world. Not a small project we know, but reaching for the sky is what we are all about at GradTrain. We want to reach prospective international students so that they can hear about how we can help make the international university application process much easier and a lot more successful.
Applying to a graduate university program abroad is a daunting task, that requires not only good academic credentials, but also skillful and strategic decision-making, such as targeting schools and programs, preparing an effective application package, planning course load, securing funding, preparing for arrival and adjusting to a new culture and language. Studies have shown that prospective international students feel that they do not have enough information to make informed decisions about the application process, that communicating and receiving information about the institution they wish to apply to is a major problem, that getting course credits from their home institution accepted was somewhat of a problem, and that getting a study permit is a problem.
Our 2 simple messages
We created a PowToon video in order to tell prospective international graduate students three things:
(1) We know about, understand and recognize the problems you are facing, including: lack of information, high-priced placement agents and the cultural fears of leaving home and travelling to another country.
(2) We can help you overcome these problems by connecting you with people like yourself who have been through the process successfully and with the right information to support your decision making process.
(3) Come join us!
PowToon’s video animation platform allowed us to get these messages across in a manner that is great for an international audience. First of all, while the text is in English in the current version, it can easily be translated into other languages. Second, since it is a cartoon, the ethnicity/nationality/age features of the persons depicted are implicit which is great for our purpose as we want all international prospective students to identify with our video, regardless of where they are from, the color of the skin, their age, the language that they speak, their gender, or economic background.
We hope you like the PowToon video we created and that it encourages you to visit our website and take advantage of our information and services. Also, if you know of anyone else who is considering applying to university programs abroad, please send this post to them so that they too can benefit from GradTrain’s services. And if you have been or are currently a graduate student studying abroad, why not join us as a GradTrain coach? You can send us a message through our homepage.