I know a bit about AW. I even took one of the courses here in Taiwan. Mostly, I have good friends who have worked there or volunteer (and some continue to do so)
First off: it ain’t for everyone.
But for those who feel it was worth taking the courses, they are usually very VERY enthusiastic about it. Hence, the feeling that they’ve been brainwashed.
From what I’ve seen, a great majority of those who do attend the courses leave with very positive impressions.
I took “Basic” in Manila back in 1996 at PSI (a very similar course from a very similar company – AW does not have an office in Manila). Assuming that the pricing hasn’t changed much (I have heard that AW upped their prices this year a bit), you should still be able to fly to Manila, book a decent motel, take the seminars where practically everyone speaks English, shop for an extra day, and fly back to Taipei for less than it would cost at AW Taiwan.
I don’t say this to be critical of AsiaWorks. Far from it, I want to point out that this company has done SO well here, that they can charge two arms and a leg and still have to schedule extra classes each month from the strong demand. Viva la market!
This should also signal to you how cheap things are in the Philippines
Obviously, AW is doing something right.
If you want to get an idea of what AW is “about” – think Anthony Robbins, LifeSpring, Stephen Covey, and that whole West Coast (Cali) living thing that those of us originally from the East Coast (NY) will never fully wrap our brains around.
An American friend of mine who took ALL the courses described the interest in AW’s stuff here like this: it’s like all those feelings and excitment when you first get to college in the US without the pressure for classes – it’s different approach for people here. I agree, becuase there’s certainly a lot of that Quumbaya (sp?) feel goodiness going on.
I better stop there, because I did not take any of the regular courses here. I took the one seminar that did not require attending any of the regular set.