August 2005 issue

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Alphe workshops a success in the USA and Canada

The Alphe workshops visited Miami and then Vancouver in May this year, enabling institutions and agents to attend two marketing events in one trip, and continue on to the Nafsa conference in Seattle if they desired.

The workshops were both great business opportunities in themselves, according to the attendees at the events. Alphe USA took place in the historic Biltmore Hotel in Coral Gables - itself a historic monument. Two days of appointments were fully booked for many of the delegates attending.

"The workshop was very well organised and a good use of time," said Patrick Finn from St Timothy's School in Stevenson, MD. "And when the day was over, it was a nice place to relax." Res Helfer, from Brandon College in San Francisco, CA - who said his schedule was full two weeks before the workshop - added, "I think the quality of agents, as a first impression, was very good. The atmosphere overall was good and relaxed." Andrew Hutchinson at Study Group commented he was sure that the cost of the workshop had paid for itself - "and that's from new contacts".

Svetlana Kovalenko of International Exchange Centre in Russia praised the choice of location. "It is wonderful, a really good location," she said. "I have found some good schools to work with." Cristina Figueiro of AF Intercambios in Brazil added, "It has been a good environment to talk with the schools, and there has been some good business going on."

In Vancouver, Alphe Canada welcomed 68 agents and 47 schools, many of whom were from Canada. Five local schools organised a joint-fam trip prior to the workshop and a drinks reception at Vancouver Aquarium, while another school organised a river cruise for agents after the event. Victoria Cardenas of Victoria Express Travel in Colombia said that she especially enjoyed the drinks reception at the aquarium. "I had an opportunity to get to know people more in this workshop than at others," she said.

Jorge Plazas Arevalo from School Access in Colombia said he appreciated the good organisation of the event. "The meetings were always on time." And Jaime Rodriguez of Irlanda en Red in Spain noted that both workshops "were well organised and productive for me. There was a good range and variety of schools."

Schools were also content. Tamsin Plaxton at Tamwood International College in Vancouver said , "It was a nice size, which enables you to get to know everybody. And I've met new agents." The two consecutive events will take place again next year.

WYSTC 2006 to be in Australia

The World Youth and Student Travel Conference (WYSTC) is switching hemispheres for its 2006 show, the organisers have announced. From Toronto this year, the trade event will move to Melbourne in Australia next year.

"Bringing the conference to Australia is our way of saluting and acknowledging the land's immense contribution to the industry, and its recognition of the commercial and social value of youth and student travel for both sending and receiving nations," said Susan Goldstein, Director of WYSTC, which is co-organised by the Federation of International Youth Travel Organisations (Fiyto) and the International Student Travel Confederation (ISTC). She added, "With Australia sending so many youth and students abroad as well as being an almost iconic destination for young travellers, it makes it a natural choice for WYSTC."

At Tourism Australia, Managing Director Scott Morrison said it was an honour to host the event. "Australia places value on the [sector], which accounts for around 30 per cent of all overseas visitors," he said.

Ialc gains new members

Four schools have become members of the International Association of Language Centres (Ialc) following the association's most recent AGM, which was held in Paris in May, preceding its annual workshop.

The English Language Centre in Brighton & Hove, UK; International Center for American English (ICAE) in La Jolla, CA, USA; Horizonte in Regensburg, Germany; and Kai Japanese Language School in Tokyo, Japan, are all new members of the association of independently-run schools.

Jan Capper, Executive Secretary of Ialc, commented, "Since 2002, 40 independent private language schools have joined Ialc, while only nine schools have left the association." Membership of Ialc now stands at 90 schools in 21 countries worldwide.

Ialc's agent workshop saw a record number of agencies meeting with Ialc member schools this year. Agencies from 113 companies across 27 countries met with 57 individual Ialc members during the two-day schedule. Pre- and post-workshop fam trips were organised for agents to visit Ialc members BLS in Bordeaux, ILA in Montpellier, France Langue in Paris and Alpha B in Nice.

Korean survey of study abroad

A survey by the state's Korean Educational Development Institute (Kedi) has revealed that of 3,633 parents interviewed, over 30 per cent hoped to send their child overseas to study at a young age. The survey also canvassed the opinions of students who had studied overseas along with their parents, elementary and middle school teachers and school officials.

The research indicated that, despite one in three parents favouring the idea of study abroad, many children showed poorer grades after their experience - due to a reported lack of preparation or information. Just over half of the 316 parents of returning students said that their children were in the top 10 per cent in their class but in the top 30 per cent only upon their return.

"Considering the post-academic achievement of the surveyed students, overseas study seems not as effective as parents think," said Kim Hong-won of Kedi. "But the survey showed more and more parents don't want their children excluded from the experience, so I think the government should... [give] more accurate information to students and parents, instead of just making regulations on it."

More than 70 per cent of respondents also commented that abundant and correct information was important - not just the legal regulation.

Meanwhile, Korea's Ministry of Education has announced that all middle schools will have a native English language assistant teacher by 2010 to assist with communication, and textbooks will also give more focus to speaking and listening.

Malta chasing up tax from host families

The Inland Revenue in Malta is reported to have written to all English language schools in the country asking them for the names and addresses of any host families that have received payment for their services since 1998, in an effort to make them pay backdated tax on their earnings.

The news has been met with dismay by many host families, according to an article in The Times of Malta. In a meeting convened by Tourism Minster, Francis Zammit Dimech, families argued that it was difficult to calculate costs when sharing their lives with a student, and also suggested that tax collection should start from now on only.

But Zammit Dimech said families could not be exempt from income tax, adding, "All one has to do is keep track of expenses made, such as feeding the students, cleaning the house, purchase of beds and mattresses, and deduct them from the income," he said. "Tax is only paid on the profit."

Feltom was in talks with the government about the issue at time of going to press.

UK barring legitimate students?

A British immigration lawyer has uncovered a policy of discrimination against visa applicants from India who might be likely to marry and settle in the country, she claims. Jamaican applicants also came up against the same policy of being refused entry on the grounds of being "young, single and of marriageable age".

Fiona Lindsley found this exact wording was used for some visa denials from both countries in a report produced on the visa system in 2003 for minister Charles Clarke. She interpreted this as meaning "it is not desirable that applicants might be given the opportunity to meet British citizens" and marry, reported The Telegraph in India.

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