December 5, 2023

The first five episodes were released last week and reached 1,200 streams in just seven days, placing it in the top 5% of all podcast listenership, according to Buzzsprout statistics.

Listeners tuned in from around the world as the information spread throughout the international education community. Some people reported downloading the series in preparation for long-haul flights overseas, including delegates going to the APAIE conference in Bangkok.

The show is co-hosted by The PIE’s Andy Plant and Nick Cuthbert and has a slightly more irreverent tone than the usual content in the sector.

The stories guests recall often focus on controversial topics such as dangerous situations, geopolitical unrest, drinking culture, cultural misappropriation and disease – often with hilarious consequences.

The candid insights reflect the true nature of travel for work or study, and while some of the stories may be shocking, many people can relate to them.

“One thing that connects everyone in the international education industry is travel,” explained Plant, who also writes and records jingles for the show.

“We simply asked our community to share their experiences, stories and wisdom from their time on the road, and we can’t believe how well it’s been received.”

The show follows a structure for each guest, including final boarding at the destination of their choice, tips on essential items to take with them, and a more philosophical segment called “What is the purpose of your visit?”

So far, guests have taken listeners on audio adventures to places like Luanda, Angola – the world’s most expensive city for expats, Kurdistan in northern Iraq, as well as Cuba, Cambodia and the US.

“It occurred to me that a lot of people still work from home,” Cuthbert explained of the inspiration for the series. “Many people no longer have that tea break or water cooler to chat with colleagues, share their adventures and travel hacks.

“We’ve absolutely loved the community engagement on social media in response to the first versions, so we’re starting a Loyalty Club – an email box where people can send us or record their own travel stories to share on the show,” said Cuthbert.

The first five episodes feature guests from the UK university sector including Martyn Edwards (Loughborough University), Selma Toohey (QS), Andy Mandebury (University of Huddersfield), Justin Wood (ApplyBoard) and The PIE’s CEO Amy Baker.

A further five episodes are already in production and will include episodes on wider travel perspectives outside of the higher education sector, including a luxury hotel inspector and a wildlife film producer.

Listeners can hear Tales from the Departure Lounge on all major streaming providers, including Spotify, Apple Podcasts and Amazon Podcasts, as well as directly on the website

Chapter markers and a full transcript of each episode have also been added for ease and convenience. Listeners can submit their stories to the Loyalty Club by emailing

Have you listened to Tales from the Departure Lounge yet? Let us know what you think of the series in the comments below.

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