July 2007 issue

Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
City Focus

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Cambridge Education Group take over

Cambridge Education Group Ltd (CEG) has been taken over by Palamon Capital Partners, a European private equity firm. The English language and academic course provider, which has campuses in Canterbury and Cambridge, had a turnover last year of approximately UK£16 million (US$32 million).

Under the transaction, Palamon Partners gained a controlling stake in Cambridge Education Group with an investment of E15 million (US$20 million). The company hopes to expand the business in the future by acquiring other schools and school groups, expanding the international sourcing network and establishing on-campus university foundation programmes for UK universities.

In order to implement the growth strategy, a new management team is to be installed, led by Chief Executive Officer Fergus Brownlee, previously Managing Director of Capital One Europe, and Non-executive Chairman Stephen Warshaw. Existing Directors and Founders will retain a significant minority equity stake.

Andrew Hawkins, a partner at Palamon, said, “The sector, which we have been studying for almost a year, has tremendous growth potential given the strong appetite worldwide for UK university education and the demand from universities for non-EU students. CEG is in a prime position to take advantage of this very buoyant environment.”

Nick Golding, CEG’s current Chief Executive Officer and co-Founder, said, “In Palamon we have been fortunate enough to find an investor who not only has deep knowledge of our industry, but who is willing and able to support ambitious growth plans. I am very much looking forward to working with them and the new management team in bringing the opportunities to fruition.”

Language schools turn to philanthropic works

The language travel industry is increasingly using its international profile and educational connections to support charitable projects in disadvantaged parts of the world, as the recent efforts of two language schools show.

The International Study Institute (ISI) in Dublin, Ireland, has recently become official sponsors of Unicef – donating E10 (US$13) from every online booking – while Bell International has funded the building of two pre-schools for communities hit by the 2004 Tsunami in Sri Lanka, and is financially supporting two teachers for one year.

Brian Burns, Director of ISI, said that he started working with Unicef for both personal and business reasons. “It has to be said that our clients are from the more privileged parts of society that can afford the luxury of an overseas education,” he said. “Therefore, on a personal level, I wanted to give something back. On a business level, I wanted to create some new and exciting incentive for agents and online bookers to use our website booking service. I hope that prospective agents will choose to work with us because of this.”

The donation from ISI will go to fund Unicef’s Education and Training programmes in the developing world and Burns added that the organisation had the international branding that the school’s clients would be happy to contribute to.

Natalie Dawe from Bell International, said that the school chain had raised funds to support the school building project, which is run by Sri Lankan organisations Gateway and The Janusuawaya Foundation. “Making a difference to people’s lives through language education has been at the heart of the Bell philosophy for over 50 years,” she added.

The school also established the Bell VSO Distance Learning Support Programme in 2006, in order to help VSO staff overseas to develop their English language skills. “Students can use Bell English Campus – an online learning facility – and receive support via email from Bell tutors,” said Dawe.

IH Spain launches marketing plan

EIGHT SPANISH language schools belonging to the International House (IH) chain, have joined together in a marketing project to promote themselves to students worldwide.

The group, consisting of IH schools in Barcelona, Cordoba, Madrid, Mallorca, San Sebastian, Seville, Valencia and Cadiz, has come up with a new brand and website, www.iloveihspain.com, created by IH Graphic Designer, Lucy Davis.

Carmen Sanchez, IH Barcelona’s Marketing Manager, said that the website would function as “an innovative and interactive platform for students who really love learning and living”. She added, “[The site will feature] blogs, an alumni network, games, online learning, photo galleries, competitions and much much more to come.”

The brand was launched at the US Nafsa conference in Minneapolis, MN, in May this year and was inspired by the idea of students falling in love with a country and its language. “Who better to promote the concept of falling in love with a country and its language than the school’s own students, who can become its ambassadors?” said the group’s publicity material.

Schools report problems with agent

KAn agency in Colombia has been accused of not paying tuition and accommodation fees for their students by several language schools around the world. Mia Anzola from Business Projects agency, based in Bogota, has reportedly sent several Colombian students to study in schools in South Africa, the USA and Canada but has not passed on the fees.

Jens Von Wichtengen, from Cape Studies School of English in Cape Town, South Africa, claims that Anzola agreed to send them a number of students earlier this year but has not forwarded on the money paid directly to her for tuition and accommodation by three of the students. She produced email payment confirmations stating that she paid all the funds into Cape Studies’ bank account but with the wrong account number. ”We spoke to different departments at our bank,” said Von Wichtengen. “In South Africa, all foreign transactions are very much supervised. Even if there were a wrong bank account number, the bank would have called us for clarification.” Von Wichtengen has yet to receive any money from Anzola despite the fact that one student has been studying at the school in Cape Town since April this year. The remaining two Colombian students, who were due to start their course at Cape Studies in June, have started legal action in Colombia against Anzola in a bid to recover their money.

In Canada, a source from another language school, who prefers to remain anonymous due to concern for other business relationships with agents in Colombia, reported that they have experienced a similar problem with the same agent. ”She still owes us for students from June last year,” said the source. “She said that the money was sent by wire transfer. It never showed up and then she said there was a problem at the bank. In the meantime the students were at the school studying. The students finished their programme. It has been almost 12 months and she is apparently still having this problem [with the bank].”

In the USA, May Arthur from the Olin Center in Boston, MA, said that Business Projects sent her a student last year but did not forward any money for tuition fees. “We have a policy of asking for the money from agents two weeks before the student is to start the course or we take them out of class. We would not let the student into class so their mother started hassling Anzola in Colombia for the money. We ended up waiting and waiting for the money. She then started sending us emails every day complaining that we wouldn’t let the student into class. We never received any money from her.”

Samir Zaveri from Business Marketing International (BMI), an organiser of student and agent fairs worldwide, said that he is still owed money from Anzola after she attended a fair representing US schools two years ago. Zaveri said that Anzola had not been invited to any more fairs. “Until the final days before the event, she insisted that payment had been made, even providing proof of a bank transfer,” he said. “However, we never received any payment.”

Despite repeated attempts to contact Anzola, she was not available for comment.

Increase in Toefl exam dates in South Korea

The Education Testing Service (ETS), administrators of the Toefl exam, have added 70,000 additional slots for students in Korea to sit the exam after a shortfall in test places at the end of last year forced many students to travel overseas. Between September and December 2006 only 20,000 students were able to take the test in Korea, forcing thousands to take the test in other countries.

The testing service had expected to apportion just 64,000 test slots in Korea for 2007, way below demand. Senior Vice President of ETS, Paul Ramsey, said, “Providing additional opportunities to test in a single country is unprecedented and indicative of the importance that ETS places on meeting the needs of Korean test takers.”

Julia Hong, from Uhak.com in Korea, said that ETS had not provided enough dates for students to take the Toefl test in Korea and many students had experienced problems in taking the test. However, she expected the situation to resolve itself in the future as universities and colleges accepted other language qualifications. “Many schools are now [starting] to accept Ielts as well, which we think will resolve this crisis situation,” she said.

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

The following language schools, associations and accommodation providers advertised in the latest edition of Language Travel Magazine. If you would like more information on any of these advertisers, tick the relevant boxes, fill out your details and send.





Boa Lingua
CI - Central de Intercâmbio
Discover Canada
ESL - Séjours Linguistiques
TK Tours

Capls Canada
English Australia
Quality English

CareMed International Travel Insurance
Student Guard Insurance

Malta Tourism Authority

Alphe Conferences
CEC Network

English Australia
English Language Company

Academie Linguistique International
Algonquin College Ottawa
Bodwell College
Cowichan Valley School District #79
East Coast School of
      Languages (ECSL)
English Bay College
English Language Training College ELTC
Eurocentres Canada
Global Village
(Australia, Canada, USA)
Ilac - International Language Academy of Canada
International Language
      Schools of Canada (ILSC)
Intrax English Institute
Language Studies Canada
Lethbridge Community College
London Language Institute
Malaspina University College
National School of Languages
Pacific Language Institute
Richmond School District #38
Saint Mary's University
Saskatoon Catholic Schools
Stewart College of Languages
Study English in Canada
University Canada West
University of Toronto
Vancouver Community College
       International Education
Vancouver English Centre
Vanwest College
York University English
       Language Institute

American Intercontinental
       University, London
      (Australia, Canada, Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand, UK, USA)
Bell International
InTuition Languages
       (Australia, France, Germany,
       Ireland, Italy, South America,
       Spain, UK, USA)
Islington Centre for English
LAL Language and Leisure
      (England, Malta, South Africa, USA)
Liverpool International
      Language Academy
Malvern House College London
Millfield School
Quality English
Queen Ethelburga's College
Sels College London
Southwark College
St Giles Colleges
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada, England,
      France, Germany, Ireland, Italy,
      New Zealand, South Africa,
      Spain, USA)
Twin Group
University of Westminster
West London Business College

France Langue
French in Normandy
Home Language International
      (Argentina, Australia, Austria, Brazil,
      Canada, Chile, China, Czech Republic,
      Denmark, Egypt, Finland, France,
      Germany, Holland, Hungary, Ireland,
      Italy, Japan, Malta, NZ, Norway,
      Poland, Portugal, Russia, Spain,
      Sweden, Switzerland, UK, USA,
Institut Linguistique Adenet
SILC - Séjours Linguistiques
     (England, France, Spain)

Carl Duisberg Centren
      (England, Germany)
F+U Academy
      (Austria, Germany, Russia)
Humboldt Institut
inlingua Berlin
International House Berlin - Prolog
Lichtenberg Kolleg E.V

Atlantic Language Galway
Centre of English Studies

EC English Language Centre
      (England, Malta, South Africa)
inlingua Malta

Christchurch College of
      English Language
Languages International
Riccarton High School
Seafield School of English
University of Canterbury

EAC Language Centres
      and Activity Camps
      (England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales)

Cape Studies
Good Hope Studies

Babylon Idiomas
      (Argentina, Costa Rica, Spain)
      (Argentina, Bolivia, Chile, Costa Rica,
      Cuba, Ecuador, Dominican Republic,
      Guatemala, Mexico, Peru, Spain)
International House Sevilla - CLIC
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispánico SL

EF Language Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada, China, Ecuador,
      England, France, Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain, USA)
      (Australia, Canada, England, France,
      Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Malta,
      New Zealand, Russia, South Africa,
      Spain, Switzerland, USA)

ALCC - American Language
      Communication Center
Kaplan Educational Centers
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Zoni Language Centers
      (Canada, USA)


Global Lifestyles
IH Vancouver

IH Newcastle
Tellus Group
Twin Group

Malta Tourism Authority