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Contents - August 2002


Special Report
Intent on success
As an education overseas becomes more attractive and feasible for many students, the range of academic preparation programmes around the world increases. Such courses guarantee an easier assimilation for students into a new study environment and promote their chances of success. Many courses also assist students to progress on to secondary school or university by working in affiliation with mainstream education providers. Gillian Evans reports.


Destination
England's south coast splendour
Students coming to study at one of the many language schools on England's south coast will find more than just award-winning beaches, as Gillian Evans finds out when she investigates what makes this area of the UK so popular with international students. Bustling student-centred cities, historic ruins and easily accessible countryside are just some of the reasons for language students returning to this area year after year.



Direction
World of workshops
The workshop circuit presents many opportunities and choices for agents who need to decide which events to attend. Most agents go to a number of workshops throughout the year, as they are considered a prime opportunity to meet new business partners and old colleagues, and to find out about news and views in the industry. Language Travel Magazine provides a guide to key events in the annual workshop calendar.



Opinion

There are clearly challenges ahead for the language travel industry as evidence suggests that the market is still suffering from an antipathy for travel brought about by last September's events. A number of Western European sources in this issue mention that September 11 is continuing to dampen business. In France, language schools point to a slow start to 2002, although one school reports more bookings than usual from the US market (page 35). Meanwhile, in Spain, language travel agents paint a picture of a stagnating market, with hopes for business growth in 2002 pinned on marketing activities (pages 12-13).

All the more reason, then, for agencies to consider seriously attending industry workshops this year, to promote and overhaul their product range to ensure that they represent an innovative and competitive spread of programmes. If an agency's client base contracts, agents need to make sure that they can meet any potential request. Our Agent Questionnaire candidate in this issue underlines this. 'I never tell my clients that I do not have the courses or places that they request,' she says (page 10). Agencies need to keep up to date with study abroad opportunities and workshops are an effective way of achieving this aim. Among the agencies interviewed by Language Travel Magazine , there was a general concensus that, on average, up to five new partnerships are established at every workshop attended (pages 20-24).

Besides offering an opportunity to meet new partners and find out about new courses, workshops are also a good source of news and industry information. With new regulations springing up all the time in this business, keeping up to date with the latest developments can be reason enough to attend a workshop. For example, agents will be interested to know that in New Zealand, a new levy on overseas students' fees is likely to be introduced, the proceeds of which will be used to develop quality initiatives for the industry (page 4). And there are new visa prices in Korea and Russia for students intending to study in the USA (page 10).

In competitive times, price can be a strong influence on the decision-making process, as has been witnessed in the aviation industry. Low-cost airlines are flourishing while many other operators are still calling for state aid or investment to avoid closure in a market that has not yet fully recovered since September 11 (page 6). Schools will be aiming to offer good quality language programmes at a competitive price at workshops this year, aware of the agent's need to deliver value for money to their clients.

Nevertheless, agents also need to acknowledge that sometimes, paying more than the market minimum can bring benefits for the student. Academic preparation programmes, for example, cost more than a straightforward Toefl or Ielts programme, but they are far more effective at realistically preparing students for life in a new academic environment (pages 28-33).

Because choice is important for clients, agents also need to be able to offer basic Toefl or Ielts programmes. In this issue, we profile a selection of Ielts courses in Australia (pages 37-38). Agents should be aware of the culture of forgery growing up around Ielts and Toefl tests (page 5) and advise their clients accordingly. Fake test results could seem like a quick-fix solution to students, but if they have genuine study intentions, they need to realise that progress has to be worked at. For agents and students alike, it is hard work and dedication that leads to success.


Opinion
There are clearly challenges ahead for the language travel industry as evidence suggests that the market is still suffering from an antipathy for travel brought about by last September's events.

News
New tax on schools in NZ
Canada loses market share
Test fraud discovered around the world
Toefl test centres
worldwide to close
China is no.1 student exporter

Travel News
New low-cost airlines in Canada
Ryanair is thinking big
Australia safeguards its tourism appeal

Agency News
US visa fee moves hit agents
Belta holds independent study fairs

Agency Survey
Spain's standstill
Spain's language travel market experienced a rather slow year in 2001, according to the agents who took part in this issue's survey.

Feedback
USA Feedback
Students studying in the USA were positive about the quality of the language schools they attended, although the majority of them said they found the cost of living in the USA to be expensive.

Market Report
View from France
French language schools in France reported mixed results in 2001, and most have experienced a slow start to 2002. Gillian Evans reports.

Course Guide
Ielts courses in Australia
A good Ielts score is an essential requirement for international students who want to continue their academic career in Australia, as universities use it as a benchmark when considering a student's English language ability.

Profile
Portugal
Despite its small size, Portugal has played an influential role in determining the course of world history and it is one of Europe's oldest nations.

Status
Status: New Zealand 2001
The Status survey is a new venture by Language Travel Magazine, in collaboration with the Association of Language Travel Organisations (Alto), 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.