August 2002 issue

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USA Feedback

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: American Language and Culture Institute, Chico, CA; Anglo-Continental, Cambridge, MA; Aspect, various; Bridge-Linguatec, Denver, CO; Central Connecticut State University, New Britain, CT; Edmond Language Institute, Edmond, OK; ELS Language Centers, various; ESL Tulane University, New Orleans, LA; Fulton Montgomery Community College, Johnstown, NY; Gwynedd Mercy College; Gwynedd Valley, PA; Intercultural Communications College, Honolulu, HI; International House San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; Internexus, various; Kaplan, Des Moines, WA; Language Consultants International, Denver, CO; Northwest Missouri State University, Maryville, MO; Seattle Central Community College, Seattle, WA; Sonoma State American Language Institute, Rohnert Park, CA; South Bend English Institute, South Bend, IN; Texas Tech University, Lubbock, TX; Tulsa English Institute, Tulsa, OK; University of North Texas, Denton, TX; Western Michigan University, Kalamazoo, MI.

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.

USA feedback at a glance

Total no. of students: female 126, male 148 (unknown 8) 282
Average age in years: 23.8
Average length of programme in weeks: 18.5
Average number of students per class: 9.6
Average no. of hours of language tuition per week: 22.2
% of students who found their course through
an agent or educational adviser: 33%
% of students who booked through an agent: 31%
% of students who had been on another language programme: 22%
% of students who would recommend their
school: 91%

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (62%)
Latin America (14%)
Western Europe (10%)
Middle East (5%)
Africa (3%)
Central & Eastern Europe (2%)
Unknown (4%)
Japanese (23%)
Korean (20%)
Taiwanese (12%)
Brazilian (5%)
French (4%)
Thai (4%)
Saudi Arabian (3%)
Colombian (3%)
Venezuelan (3%)
Swiss (2%)

In my class there are...
Too many students (8%)
Too many students who speak my language (16%)
Too many students from one other country (18%)
None of these (55%)
Unknown (3%)

How will you use your English in the future?
For college study in the USA (39%)
For college study in another country (4%)
For college study in my home country (7%)
For current or future work (42%)
For pleasure only (7%)
Unknown (1%)

How did you find your programme? How easy was it to practise English with native speakers?
I saw it advertised (9%)
I found it on the Internet (15%)
It was recommended by an agent (33%)
It was recommended by a friend/relative (40%)
Unknown (3%)
Very easy (8%)
Quite easy (31%)
Quite hard (43%)
Very hard (17%)
Unknown (1%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study? Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser?
Yes (83%)
No (13%)
Unknown (4%)

Yes (45%)
No (47%)
Unknown (8%)

Yes (38%)
No (55%)
Unknown (7%)
Yes (31%)
No (53%)
Unknown (16%)

Standard of your social programme Standard of your academic programme
Excellent (24%)
Good (34%)
Satisfactory (27%)
Poor (4%)
Unsatisfactory (2%)
Unknown (9%)
Excellent (29%)
Good (49%)
Satisfactory (14%)
Poor (2%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (5%)

Standard of your accommodation Standard of the teaching
Excellent (21%)
Good (39%)
Satisfactory (25%)
Poor (5%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (9%)
Excellent (50%)
Good (37%)
Satisfactory (7%)
Poor (2%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (3%)

Compared to your home country, the cost of living in the USA is...
Higher (70%)
Lower (12%)
Same (17%)
Unknown (1%)

Student nationality
Twenty-four language schools in the USA participated in this year's Feedback survey, whose students came from 37 different countries. Although our survey showed a wide spread of nationalities studying in the USA, students from Asia dominated our responses, representing 62 per cent of students, which is an increase of two percentage points on the previous year (see Language Travel Magazine, August 2001, page 22). Students from the Middle East increased from one per cent to four per cent on the previous year, while the Latin American market showed a decrease of six percentage points to 14 per cent this year.

Student age and motivation
The largest percentage of students wanted to use their language skills for current or future work, while a significant proportion were also learning English for further study in the USA. This is in accordance with the average age of our respondents, with 72 per cent of students in the 16- to-25 year old age range and an overall average age recorded of 23.8 years.

Student enrolment
The length of language programmes varied widely, ranging from one week to 160 and averaging out at 18.5 weeks, compared with 13.5 weeks last year. The number of longer programmes is reflective of many students' desire to continue on to further education in the USA. Students were also more likely to book their course through an agent this year, with the number of students booking through an agent up from 26 per cent last year to 31 per cent. However, interestingly, more students found their course through an agent than those who booked through an agent. Thirty-three per cent of respondents said their course was recommended to them by an agent, compared to 25 per cent last year, but just 31 per cent used an agency's services to book their course.

Standard of the schools
Overall, students at US language schools were very satisfied with the level of service they received and 91 per cent said that they would recommend their school to a friend. Eighty-seven per cent of students found the level of teaching either good or excellent and 78 per cent thought the same of their academic programme. This shows an increase in standards on last year, when 81 per cent of students found their teachers to be either good or excellent and 68 per cent said the same of their academic programme.

Living in the USA
Of the 70 per cent of students who found the cost of living to be higher in the USA than in their own country, a large proportion were from Asian and Latin American countries, especially Korea, Taiwan and Brazil. Of those students who found the cost of living to be lower than their own country, 52 per cent were Japanese.