Contents - April 2006

Special Report
Business edge
Demand for business language training is growing steadily, with a particular trend towards courses for students who have not yet begun their career. The corporate sector can bring rich rewards to schools and agents who get the formula right, as Gillian Evans discovers.

Good teamwork
Language schools are working together with other local education institutions to form strong regional associations that speak for a particular city or area and put cooperation ahead of competition. Bethan Norris reports.

The best of the Midwest
The Midwest states of the USA offer a smalltown adventure for language students and a great opportunity for those keen to study hard and immerse themselves in local life. Bethan Norris reports.


Keeping it real
A publishing company sent me a book fairly recently that was written by a couple who had taken a year out to travel around Italy and find out about various ways to learn Italian.

One of the observations they made in their book was that the "feel" of a school and their perception of its quality language teaching rarely seemed to match up with the impression given by the institution's website. A "feel" of a school is something intangible, which can only be got by being there, which is why professional agents are so keen to visit their partner institutions in person before recommending them to their clients.

The atmosphere and surroundings of a school are best described by those who have been there. But to assure a client of the quality of a language teaching institution, there is one other important factor that agents can use; that of accreditation. A quality certification is essentially proof that someone else has taken the time to inspect a school and assess its provisions for student welfare and teaching. The largest scheme in the UK, now named Accreditation UK, has amended its payment structure so that schools of all sizes should find gaining accreditation equally accessible as well as beneficial (page 6).

An excellent language travel experience is always about more than the quality of teaching and accommodation, however, as I'm sure agents would testify. The perfect language travel experience encompasses these factors, but combines them with a student's successful integration into the local community. Therefore, for a school in Berlin to have as its aim to be a "student's first friend in a new city" is commendable (page 40). Helping students form friendships and an attachment to a new city/town is intrinsic to the overall experience and, as one school representative in the US Midwest testifies, this can mean that students extend their stay or return again to the same place (page 36).

The emphasis on having a "real" experience, meeting locals and possibly working in another country, is increasing. One agent in Brazil observes that cheaper language courses are becoming more popular as students combine them with real life experiences. She also notes an increasing interest in work experience programmes. With such a trend in evidence, we bring you a special supplement this month, Work Wise, designed to inform you about opportunities in this sector.

And away they go

Immigration overhaul promised in the USA
Acpet plays key role in forum in China
Open Doors IEP survey shows sign of hope in USA
New mobile phone service targets schools and agents
OISE buys two more UK schools

Travel News
Passenger numbers up in 2005
New website provides network for new arrivals
Compensation rules upheld in Europe

Agency News
Australia to launch agent training
CI in Brazil organises expo again,

Agency Survey
Turkey taking off
Turkish agencies had a good year in 2005 and they are optimistic that with a strong economy and good business planning, they can look forward to a prosperous 2006.

Feedback UK,
A rapid decline in Chinese students and a move away from learning English for university study marked out this year's trends in our Feedback Survey of the UK.

Course Guide
UK high school year
High school year programmes in the UK are a popular option for international students, both for brushing up on essential English language skills in an intensive setting and also for gaining a good academic grounding for future educational endeavours.

Australian foundation
Foundation programmes that prepare students for tertiary education in Australia are becoming more sophisticated and both international students and Australians lacking the right academic qualifications are keen to enrol.

City Focus
Berlin's beat
Foreigners find it easy to feel at home in Germany's capital, Berlin, a city offering an eclectic range of activities and opportunities, with a focus on the fun and fashionable. Amy Baker reports.

Canada 2005
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. For the first time, it is possible to compare world market statistics.