August 2004 issue

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Ireland feedback

Central and Eastern European students play a more significant role in the nationality mix of respondents in our Student Feedback Survey of Ireland this year, and student satisfaction rates remain high.

Ireland feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 64 female 43, male 20 (unknown 1)

Average age in years: 26.2

Average length of programme in weeks: 10.1

Average number of students per class: 6.6

Average number of hours of lang. tuition per week: 11.2

% of students who found their course through an agent: 34

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 38

% of students who had been on another language programme: 36

% of students who would recommend their school: 98

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Europe (50%)
Asia (28%)
Central and Eastern Europe (19%)
Latin America (2%)
Unknown (1%)
1.Spanish (14%)
2.Japanese (11%)
2.Swiss (11%)
3.German (9%)
3.Chinese (9%)
3.Italian (9%)
4.Korean (8%)
5.Polish (6%)
6.Hungarian (5%)
7.Czech (3%)

In my class there are... How will you use your English in the future?
Too many students (2%)
Too many students who speak my language (6%)
Too many students from one other country (8%)
None of these (81%)
Unknown (3%)
For college study in Ireland (16%)
For college study in another English speaking country (9%)
For college study in my home country (22%)
For current or future work (48%)
For pleasure only (5%)

How did you find your programme? Standard of the teaching
I saw it advertised (8%)
I found it on the Internet (27%)
It was recommended by an agent (34%)
It was recommended by a friend/relative (28%)
Unknown (3%)
Excellent (69%)
Good (30%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent (28%)
Good (52%)
Satisfactory (9%)
Unsatisfactory (1%)
Unknown (10%)
Excellent (33%)
Good (33%)
Satisfactory (19%)
Poor (3%)
Unknown (12%)

Standard of your social programme? Modes of travel to Ireland
Excellent (13%)
Good (33%)
Satisfactory (27%)
Poor (4%)
Unsatisfactory (4%)
Unknown (19%)
Low-cost carrier (25%)
Ordinary air carrier (66%)
Coach (6%)
Car (1.5%)
Boat (1.5%)

Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser? How easy was it to practise English with native speakers?
Yes (38%)
No (53%)
Unknown (9%)
Very easy (19%)
Quite easy (39%)
Quite hard (34%)
Very hard (8%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (75%)
No (22%)
Unknown (3%)

Yes (59%)
No (36%)
Unknown (5%)

Yes (34%)
No (58%)
Unknown (8%)

Student nationality
A total of 19 different nationalities responded to this year's Feedback Survey on Ireland, with Western and Eastern Europeans dominating the student mix. Compared with last year's survey, our results showed a decline in the number of Chinese, as numbers fell from 20 per cent to just nine per cent this year (see Language Travel Magazine, November 2003, pages 12-13). Creeping up the list of nationalities, however, were some European Union (EU) accession countries including Hungary, the Czech Republic and Poland. Nationals from these countries may favour Ireland as it is seen by many as a good value European destination for English study. Meanwhile, Spanish, Japanese and Swiss students were the top nationalities.

Student trends
The age range of students answering our survey varied from 17 to 56 years, with the majority of students - 55 per cent - falling into the 20-to-25 year old age bracket. The main motivation behind taking a language course in Ireland remained for current or future work purposes. Fewer students were going on to college study in Ireland - down from 20 per cent to 16 per cent this year. This reflects the lower percentage of Chinese students. Owing to the fact that many international students in Ireland are from Europe, 25 per cent of students used a low-cost air carrrier such as Ryanair or EasyJet, which operate pan-European services, to get to Ireland. A further 66 per cent used an ordinary air carrier.

Student enrolment
A higher percentage of respondents reported that they found out about their school via the Internet this year, with 27 per cent citing this option compared with just 13 per cent last year. Recommendation by an agent remained the most favoured method of finding a language school however, although the proportion of students using agents dropped from 46 per cent last year to 34 per cent this year. Student reliance on recommendation by friends and family also decreased this year to 28 per cent from 37 per cent last year. Of the 38 per cent of students who booked their course through an agent, 42 per cent were from Asia, where agent usage among students is typically high.

Standard of the schools
Overall, student satisfaction with Irish schools was high, according to our survey, with 98 per cent - or 100 per cent of students who answered the question - saying that they would recommend their school to others. The mix of nationalities in the classroom was seen by 81 per cent of respondents to be just about right, which is a change from last year when 33 per cent of students complained that there were too many classmates who spoke their own language and a further 12 per cent indicated there were too many students of one other nationality in their class.

Living in Ireland
The cost of living in Ireland was considered to be higher than in students' home countries by 77 per cent of our respondents. The average cost of a one-week English language course with accommodation was priced at e293 (US$358).

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Aisling Ireland, Dublin; Alpha College of English, Dublin; Centre of English Studies, Dublin; Galway Language Centre, Galway; North Mon Language Institute, Cork; The Slaney Language Centre, Co. Wexford; University College Cork Language Centre, Cork.
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