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Contents - August 2006


Special Report
Language ladder
Global trends in language learning have led to demand for language proficiency testing at a younger age, while the more advanced-level language exam providers have been improving their products to integrate language skills testing, provide online verification of results and offer more frequent test dates. Jane Vernon Smith reports on the fast-moving language exam landscape.


Direction
Workshop choice
There is a veritable workshop war going on, as new events crop up all over the world, hoping to win the attention and patronage of agents who realise the commercial advantage of meeting educators face-to-face. Amy Baker reports.


Preview
LTM Star Awards shortlist
LTM Star Awards are the first industry-specific awards that honour best practice in the study abroad industry on an international scale. Our agent readers have been voting for educators in various regions and education institutions around the world have been busy nominating agencies that deserve the accolade of winning an award. We profile the shortlist of nominees that have received the highest number of votes in each category and talk to some of these contenders.


Destination
Canada's great outdoors
Wherever you are in Canada, you are never far away from the wonders of the natural world, as even the cities offer many opportunities for students to interact with the great outdoors. Bethan Norris finds out more.



Opinion

World of choice

Having just booked a holiday in the west of Ireland, I find myself reflecting on the fact that tastes change, and diversity of choice is always a good thing. In my teenage years, the idea of rural beauty and coastal walks would have got me complaining, and asking my parents if we could go somewhere with at least some hope of dancing, under-age drinking and the other activities typical to youth. Now, a decade and a half later, I can';t wait to get away from it all and see in the evenings in a pub over an Irish jig (if I';m lucky) and a pint of Guiness or two.

Diversity of choice is a great feature of the study abroad industry. And of the many options, what is anathema to some – I think of the location of Sprachcaffe in Brighton, UK, opposite the beach and with a disco downstairs – is heaven to others. Rural Galicia in Spain really does present a wonderful alternative to learning Spanish in Spain for those who don';t want a hi-energy experience, for example (pages 76-78).

Our industry is awash with choices for the consumer, so much so that agencies remain imperative for navigating through the options. Where to study, what to study, which exams to take? In this issue we provide an insight into Italian courses teamed with tuition in the arts (page 63) and German language courses linked with special interests, even clubbing! (page 61). We also dissect the latest developments among the most popular language proficiency exams (pages 40-44).

With all the choice presented to consumers, the idea of an emerging favourite is tantalising, a "winner" in terms of popular demand. And for the first time, Language Travel Magazine is launching its own awards this year, which honours those language schools, and those agencies, which are judged to be outstanding by their peers. Rather than the end-consumer voting for their preferred institution – after all, language students often have little to compare their school to – we have experienced and professional agencies choosing their preferred partner in different language markets; those schools that earn great feedback from clients, and we similarly have experienced educators rewarding best practice at agencies in various regional markets.

On pages 30-36 is a preview of those companies that have received the most votes from their industry peers – the official shortlist for 2006 of companies whose service and integrity deserve an LTM Star Award. Of this list, the winners will be announced on 27 August in London, UK. I do hope that you can join me there.


Opinion
World of choice

News
Canada considers linking visas to accreditation
Immigrants must learn local language
ABLS separates member- ship from accreditation
Unosel unveils new look
Emerald Cultural Institute's 20th birthday
Saudi students in USA jailed
China sends most students overseas

Travel News
Global network expansion
Air Asia celebrate successful sponsorship
Iata introduces e-ticketing deadline


Agency News
IAE Global expands into India
Alphe workshops focus on quality
English Australia workshop is well received

Agency Survey
Korea doing well
Business in the last year has been pretty steadfast in Korea, with nearly all agencies recording a growth in bookings. Prognosis for the future is more mixed, however, as agencies acknowledge an uncertain economic outlook as well as intense competition in the marketplace.

Feedback
Malta
A decrease in agent usage among students was a trend noted in this year's Student Feedback survey of Malta, along with smaller class sizes and a slightly shorter average length of stay than last year.

Course Guide
Exam preparation courses in Australia
Courses that offer individual tuition provide a good way for students to learn a language quickly. A number of schools in Spain provide such an option.

Spotlight
German and activities
There are a number of teamed language-and-activity courses available in Germany that combine instruction in a specific activity with learning German. We profile some of the options available.

Spotlight
GItalian and the arts,
Italy is famous for its artistic culture and is an obvious study destination for students wanting to learn more about this rich heritage. Language schools in Italy offer a range of targeted courses for students of all language abilities.

Regional Focus
Galicia';s secrets
Forget bullfighting and Flamenco, Galicia provides it own cultures and traditions, from Celtic-influenced traditional music to festivals that involve flower-laden boats. Gillian Evans finds out more.

Status
USA 2005
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, 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.