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APEX turns 18

Thursday, September 16, 2010 by

A cropped part of the first page of the APEX Teaching Program Guide 1992

Program Guide 1992

Some of you may have noticed that your Skype alerted you to APEX birthday today. But it’s not just some random date that we entered when creating the Skype account. APEX was really registered on September 16th, 1992.

Katinka from Hungary, Tosin from Nigeria, Lucka and Pavlina from the US were the first who congratulated APEX for turning into an adult. So to thank you all, we decided to share some never before published pics and stories from our history with you.

APEX existed before September 16th, 1992. Actually from 1990, as a language school. At first we taught informally, placing ads at bus stops and such. In 1991 we first registered as a company. We taught English for Special Purposes, such as legal, financial and engineering English, toying with the idea of offering things like internships.

Then in 1992 we started with international exchanges on a larger scale – our first properly organized program was placing American students as English teachers abroad – at which point we registered a non-profit organization under the old name APEX.

APEX founding charter

APEX founding charter

APEX 1992 Teaching Program Guide page 1

See the old logo

APEX 1992 Teaching Program Guide page 2 and 3

Dynamic young people ;-)

Story 1 – Student Cooperators

The idea that students could promote our programs among their schoolmates came at the very beginning. It happened thus. We were promoting our English courses at a finance-specialized high school. Spending 20 minutes in each classroom, we would explain the girls that our courses will turn them into global citizens for whom jobs in every major international corporation will be within reach, whereas missing out will result in their languishing in the confines of their home towns for the rest of their lives. During the break we were sitting in the hallway, when an innocent-looking girl (17) walked up to us and said “Look, I can do this too! How many would have to pay for me to have the course for free?!”. Our jaws dropped. This school turned out to be our biggest business, that girl later became a co-founder of APEX Foundation, and the idea of Student Cooperators was born.

APEX Foundation first office

The first office

APEX Letter of intent 1992

Seeking program sponsor

A part of APEX SWT USA 1996 statistic

Part of 1996 Stats

Story 2 – why “APEX”

This is a slightly embarrassing. We were sitting around a table, trying to come up with a name for the new company, and one idea sounded more stupid than another. When one of us spotted something in an airline magazine on the table. It was an airfare called “apex” – Advance-Purchased Excursion. Yes! That was it! People pay up front for a program in a foreign country. Genius! In other words, we didn’t even know that “apex” was a word, we thought it was just an acronym.

APEX SWT USA 1994 brochure

1994 W&T USA brochure

APEX 1998 Trainee USA Program brochure

1998 Trainee brochure

APEX 1998 Camp USA brochure

1998 Camp USA brochure

Story 3 – the Teaching Program

Trying to find placements for our American students (yes dear program sponsors, we know full-well how hard it is) we found out that one of the schools we approached was a school for deaf and mute kids. Damn, we though, they aren’t likely to need a native speaking teacher of English. But as time went on, an application came from a girl from North Carolina, who was studying to be a teacher of special pedagogy, specifically – teaching deaf and mute kids. Unbelievable, but not the end of the story! It turned out that the American sign language was different from the one the kids were taught at that school, so the girl ended up actually teaching them “English” in the sense that she was teaching them the sign language used in the USA.

APEX Teaching Program 1992 Summer Camp

Summer Camp where the first US students worked

APEX Teaching Program - US student teaching English

US student in 1992 east-Euro classroom

APEX Teaching Program - US student teaching English abroad

SWT employer's daughter teaching English abroad

Story 4 – a “real” Exchange

One girl who was participating in the Work & Travel USA program became a friend with the daughter of her American employer. That daughter became so intrigued by the idea of worktraveling, that she asked the European student if she could help her spend a few months in her home country. She asked us, and we placed the American girl as a language teacher. So they both spent a few months working and living in each other’s country.

We have many more! Some funny, some less so, but let’s save some for the next birthday ;-)

An APEX Au Pair with an American girl - Au Pair USA Program 1996

Au Pair Program 1996

APEX crew after Work & Travel USA 1998 interviews in Warsaw, Poland

In Poland in 1998

APEX Work & Travel USA 2009 Orientation in Beijing, China

In Beijing in 2009

The 10th Anniversary Celebration

Finally, here’s a few 10th Anniversary Celebration pics (2003). Somehow we didn’t get around to having it until it was almost 12th anniversary ;-) But at least we did it right! It took place in a gallery and the centerpiece was a huge assembly of ┬áhundreds of pictures sent by participants during the first 10 years.

Building the 2nd office

Building APEX second office

APEX 10th Anniversary Celebration - Preparations

Students preparing the celebration

APEX 10th Anniversary Celebration

Panels with pics from participants

APEX 10th Anniversary Celebration - Viewing the pics

Guests Viewing the pics

APEX 10th Anniversary Celebration - staff and US guests

Staff and US guests

APEX 10th Anniversary Celebration - the crowd gathers

Former participants from 1994 thru 2003 came

Questions? Ask below :-) In English, please.

APEX Foundation