August 2003 issue

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USA feedback

This year's USA Feedback survey reveals a higher proportion of students studying English for their future or current work, which also meant that the average length of stay was relatively low.

USA feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 254, female 135, male 115 (unknown 4)

Average age in years: 26

Average length of programme in weeks: 12.98

Average number of students per class: 8.8

Average number of hours of language tuition p/wk: 22.5

% of students who found their course through an agent: 27

% of students who booked through an agent: 35

% of students who had been on another language programme: 27

% of students who would recommend their school: 83

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (57%)
Latin America (19%)
W Europe (17%)
Middle East (4%)
C & E Europe (1%)
Africa (1%)
Others/unknown (1%)
1.Japanese (31%)
2.Korean (15%)
3.Venezuelan (8%)
4.Swiss (7%)
5.Chinese (4%)
5.Colombian (4%)
5.Taiwanese (4%)
6.Turkish (3%)
6.Saudi Arabian (3%)
7.Spanish (2%)

In my class there are... How will you use your English in the future?
Too many students (7%)
Too many students who speak my language (21%)
Too many students from one other country (10%)
None of these (56%)
Unknown (6%)
For college study in the USA (27%)
For college study in another English-speaking country (3%)
For college study in my home country (9%)
For current or future work (53%)
For pleasure only (8%)

How did you find your programme? How easy was it to practise English with native speakers?
I saw it advertised (8%)
I found it on the Internet (15%)
It was recommended by an agent (27%)
Recommended by friend/relative (49%)
Unknown (1%)
Very easy (7%)
Quite easy (34%)
Quite hard (46%)
Very hard (11%)
Unknown (2%)

Standard of the teaching Standard of your academic programme
Excellent (52%)
Good (37%)
Satisfactory (7%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Poor (0%)
Unknown (3%)
Excellent (22%)
Good (45%)
Satisfactory (24%)
Poor (4%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (4%)

Standard of your accommodation Standard of your social programme?
Excellent (21%)
Good (38%)
Poor (6%)
Unsatisfactory (0%)
Unknown (13%)
Satisfactory (22%)
Excellent (14%)
Good (41%)
Satisfactory (30%)
Poor (5%)
Unsatisfactory (0%)
Unknown (10%)

Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser? What do you like most about the USA?
Yes (35%)
No (57%)
Unknown (8%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (81%)
No (13%)
Unknown (6%)

Yes (56%)
No (38%)
Unknown (6%)

Yes (33%)
No (61%)
Unknown (6%)

Student nationality
The proportion of Asian students studying in the USA was down from 62 per cent last year to 57 per cent in this year's survey (see Language Travel Magazine, August 2002, pages 18-19). Although Japanese students remained the single largest nationality among our survey respondents, the proportion of Korean students was down by five percentage points this year, and Taiwanese students, who had made third place last year, were down to fifth position, with only four per cent. This corresponds with the results of our Taiwan Agency Survey, which revealed that the USA has tumbled from being the number-one destination last year to third place this year (see pages 12-13).

Student age and motivation
The average age of students was up from 22 years last year to 26 years in this issue's survey. Forty-one per cent of our respondents this year were in employment already, while 52 per cent were students (eight respondents did not reply to this question). The main motivating factor for taking an English language study programme in the USA was for current or future work; this accounted for 53 per cent of responses. Only 27 per cent of students said they were learning English to go on to further studies in the USA, compared with 39 per cent last year.

Student enrolment
Because over half of all students were learning English for work purposes, the average length of stay was relatively low. It dropped from a high of 18.5 weeks last year to just under 13 weeks this year. Agent usage was slightly higher this year, with 27 per cent of students saying they first found out about their school through an agent while 35 per cent had booked through an agent. As the USA is so well known internationally, it is not surprising that 81 per cent of students had already decided they wanted to study in the USA before they started to investigate any study opportunities, and 56 per cent had a clear idea of the city or town in which they wanted to study. Thirty-three per cent also knew which school they wanted to attend, mainly through the recommendation of friends or family. On average, our respondents were paying US$455 for a week's accommodation and tuition.

Standard of the schools
Just over half of all students indicated that the standard of the teaching at their school was excellent with a further 37 per cent saying that it was good. The standard of the academic programme also scored highly with 91 per cent of students saying it was excellent, good or satisfactory, while 85 per cent said the same of the social programme. Class sizes were relatively small, averaging around nine students per class.

Living in the USA
Only 57 per cent of students found the cost of living in the USA to be higher than in their countries of origin this year, compared with 70 per cent last year. These students included 90 per cent of Colombians, 89 per cent Taiwanese and 82 per cent of Koreans. Thirty per cent of students found prices comparable with home.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Berlitz Study Abroad, various; California State University of San Marcos, San Marcos, CA; California State University-Chico, Chico, CA; Central Missouri State University, Warrensburg, MO; Diablo Valley College IEC, Pleasant Hill, CA; Embassy CES, various; English Language Center, various; Geos Language Institute, Boston, MA; Gwynedd Mercy College, Gwynedd Valley, PA; SGV, Honolulu, HI; International House, various; Maryville College, Maryville, TN; New England School of English, Cambridge, MA; Penobscot School, Rockland, ME; Rennert Bilingual, New York, NY; Nova Southeastern University Language Institute, Davie, FL; University of Pittsburgh, Pittsburgh, PA; University of San Francisco, San Francisco, CA; University of South Florida ELI, Tampa, FL.
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