August 2008 issue

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LTM Star Awards contenders

The votes are in and counted and the shortlist is announced. This year’s contenders for the LTM Star Awards are revealed below and we talk to some of the shortlisted companies themselves to discover their reaction and find out why they think they did so well. 

An established fixture now in the industry scene, the LTM Star Awards are now in their third year and evolving with each event. This year sees new categories introduced for “other” language providers operating outside the main language sectors and work experience providers –  to reflect the growing importance of this area of provision – as well as a new geographic category for agencies based in central and eastern Europe. With five shortlisted companies in each category, there are hundreds of companies out there that have received a real boost in terms of positive feedback from their school or agency partners about the service that they provide.  

Marco Pinna, President and Chief Executive of The Language Academy in Fort Lauderdale, FL in the USA – the only USA-based school listed in the North American category – told Language Travel Magazine that with some 700 students arriving for the summer season when he learned of being shortlisted, the news could not have arrived at a better time. “We are thrilled, honoured and grateful to our colleague agents for their accolade!” he enthuses, noting that the news had motivated his staff further. “There were teary eyes in the room as I delivered the great news,” he says. 

With a number of campaigns running during the spring by companies keen to gain votes and with anecdotal reports of voting fever, it was apparent that interest in the awards was higher than ever this year. Indeed, an unprecedentedly high number of votes were cast, representing over two thousand companies. Nevertheless, some of those companies shortlisted were suprised to be so: “We would be very interested to know the partners we work with who nominated us for this award,” says Chris Frederick at ApplyESL.com in the USA – although all votes are confidential. And in Germany, Melanie Mir Mohi Sefat from BWS Germanlingua comments that because the school staged the Ialc Workshop this year, “We did not even think about asking or reminding people to vote for us. So for us the nomination is a big surprise and a big honour.”

In the Western Europe category for English language schools, three of the contenders are in the shortlist for the first time, while two schools, including last year’s winner, Centre of English Studies (CES), are back in contention again. “It was a tremendous honour for us to win last year and we are ecstatic to be shortlisted again; we had hoped but were not expecting to be struck by lightening twice,” comments Jonathan Quinn, Marketing Director at CES. Third-time nominee Norman Renshaw of Intuition Languages in the UK notes, “It is always flattering to get such positive feedback from your colleagues,” adding, bravely, “A big thank you to all our agents who voted for us and I guess the drinks are on me at the Alphe workshop!”

Newcomer to the category, United Independent College (UIC) in London, UK, is represented by Neil Upton, Marketing Director at the school. He explains, “UIC was bought by the current owners in 2005 who believed there was space in central London for a school offering outstanding services at affordable prices.” Since 2005, UIC has grown from 6,000 to 10,000 student weeks a year, with a foundation programme offered in conjunction with a nearby university, as well as two residential junior courses during the summer months. “Being shortlisted means that we were correct in our assumption... and that we are heading in the right direction and that many agents are supporting us,” says Upton. 

Many nominees point to the fact that they feel that votes are feedback from their industry partners that they are doing a good job. “It means your team are appreciated for being customer-focused,” says Renshaw. Miki Harada from Ryugaku Journal (RJ) in Japan asserts, “RJ has worked very hard to offer the best possible services and give accurate information about all the schools to our clients. Our goal is three levels of satisfaction – for clients, for schools and for Ryugaku Journal!”

RJ has been listed each year in the LTM Star Agency Asia category. Two other Japanese agencies, Wish International and Gio Club (last year’s winner) as well as IAE Global and EDM Education/Londonuhak.com, both based in Korea, are in contention. For Brian Seo, Managing Director of EDM Education, it is the first time his company has been shortlisted and he believes there are a number of reasons for this. “We have great partnerships with over 300 English language institutions, boarding schools and most of the best universities such as UCL, Manchester, Warwick, SOAS and Durham in the UK,” he says. “We are the sole representative in Korea of many of these establishments and one of only two representatives for the Korea market for the rest.” Seo also points to an internal training programme for employees in his company ensuring excellent service from staff. “Our staff receive more than 200 hours training per year, which equates to about five hours per week,” he says.

Like the Asian agency category, another hotly contested award is for LTM Star Agency Western Europe. This year, a Swedish agency is included in the mix, SI Språkresor, while all the others represent Switzerland – one of the biggest suppliers of students from this region. Some of the comments given by voters in this section, as in all other sections, show a real warmth towards those nominated agencies. Writing about globo-study, one voter says, “Fabulous agent, if only all could be like Globo we would be so happy. Professional, dedicated and efficiency plus!”

Last year’s winner, BoaLingua, is back in the frame again this year. Kurt Krummenacher, Managing Director, says, “We enjoy working with our partner schools who we always try to have amicable relationships with – it seems to be reciprocal.” And at fellow Swiss company, Pro Linguis, which was commended on its website by one voter, Andrea Gerber is of the same opinion. “I believe we are shortlisted because our partners appreciate that we are not just doing a job,” she says, “but that this industry with all these great, interesting people and friends is our passion.”

At Latin American agency, Universo Educativo in Mexico, Araceli Gonzalez underlines the message that shortlisted status sends out to students. “Being shortlisted is a great honour for us and shows our students that they are in great hands,” she says. “Our partners notice how we always try to develop new approaches in improving our service and are always open to their comments.” This year, Mexico and Colombia join Brazilian competitors in the Latin American category. Again, superlative praise is given. “Fantastic service, despite being one of the largest agencies in South America,” is what one voter said of CI in Brazil. “Utterly professional and dedicated,” said another about fellow Brazilian agency, STB. 

One exciting category among the agency awards this year is of course the newly created Eastern Europe category. Contenders hail from the Czech Republic, Ukraine & Moldova, Russia and Turkey and all seem to have significant presence in their respective countries. In the case of Students International, the company also has significant reach. Oleg Stepanenko at the company explains, “Our partner network includes 43 SI offices and agencies in Russia, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and Latvia.” The company recruits 2,000 students annually and runs an Ielts test centre for the east of Russia. 

In the Czech Republic, Intact agency and Student Agency are both shortlisted. At Intact, Director, Karel Klusak, was pleasantly surprised by the news. “I was too busy to notice the LTM Star Awards [voting period],” he says, “and I have not asked anybody for a vote. I would like to thank the schools which voted for us; the Czech Republic is small and the student market is not big – all of us at Intact are proud to be shortlisted.”

Schools are equally thankful to the agents who took the time out to vote for them. “We put passion in our work and we do thank all our partners who recognise and appreciate our efforts,” exclaims Tiziana di Dedda of Dilit-International House in Rome, Italy – a winner twice over already. Ida Willedsen, Owner of Malaca Instituto in Spain, also underlines the respect she has for agent partners. “This makes all the hard work over the years really worthwhile – I am very, very pleased and of course will be delighted if we were to win again,” she says, “it makes all the difference, especially as this award comes from the study abroad professionals.”

Like Dilit-IH, Malaca Instituto has previously won an award in the Spanish language school (4 or less centres) category and is shortlisted again. A further veteran of the shortlist is Quality English, shortlisted in the LTM Star School Association category. “I am delighted, especially as I expect it was probably harder to be shortlisted in this, the third year of the Star Awards,” says Carolyn Blackmore, Chief Executive of Quality English. “I want to rush out and thank all those who voted for us. It is rewarding to think that agents appreciate and value QE and the QE schools.” 

Quality English represents a “hand-picked” selection of schools around the world and enables agents to use a special branded logo once they work with QE members. One voter testifies, “Quality English makes my work easier – I can trust new schools accredited by QE.” Other school associations in this category are MEI-Relsa in Ireland, English UK, English Australia and the International Association of Language Centres (Ialc). Of English UK, one voter applauds its easily comprehensible information about developments in the UK industry; EA is credited with leading the development of high professional standards, while MEI is praised for enabling agents to access Irish culture and to visit Irish schools. Finally, of Ialc, one voter relates, “all [members have] proved to be top quality education providers”. 

Sue Blundell, Executive Director of EA, is positive about the association category’s inclusion in the awards. “It’s great that an award like this provides the opportunity for public recognition of the work we do,” she says. “Associations work very hard to encourage and support high quality standards and professionalism within the language travel industry.”

In the agency association category, the associations nominated are Tieca in Thailand, Salta in Switzerland, UED in Turkey, Belta in Brazil and Aseproce in Spain. At Aseproce, Ana Maria Iglesias Medela says she is delighted that the association is shortlisted for a second time. “We do our best to respond to all queries from language schools all over the world,” she says, adding that they also serve as an information point for students and their families in Spain.

UED in Turkey is in the running for this award for the first time, and Gokhan Islamoglu, Coordinator of the association, relates that the news has given members – whom she describes as a family representing 31 companies and 220 counsellors – great pleasure and motivation. “This is a kind of international recognition for us,” she says. “UED has always worked to create a definite standard for Turkish international education consultancy.”

Being just seven years old, UED is younger than some other associations and for relatively new companies or associations, a nomination is a real endorsement of their nascent efforts. The LTM Star Award category for New Agency – which honours those companies operating in the industry for less than three years – is a chance for voters to provide encouraging feedback and recognition for newcomers to the language travel industry.

“Always eager to try new ideas and learn about their partners,” is what one voter said about Answer English. James Herbertson at the company explains that he operates an inbound agency working with UK schools. “Our innovation has been to ensure that our students get to meet native speakers every week with our English practice, social events and online community,” he expands, suggesting his inclusion in this category is because, “our partner schools believe the service we provide compliments the experience students receive at their schools”.

In fact, many of the new agencies shortlisted were keen to underline the ongoing consultancy and orientation service that they provide, which partner schools clearly appreciate. “We continue to serve both parties [school and student] after our students start their studies,” says Gulcan Islam of Kanadam.com in Canada and Turkey, adding, “We are accessible, understanding and resourceful.”

In Colombia, Miguel Varela of Global International Studies testifies, “We want to be a part of the whole process that a student goes through during the time he/she stays abroad. Due to our own experience as students, we have learned [from situations] and can encourage students to have the best experiences of their lives.”

This holistic approach to study abroad is shared by many exemplary professionals in the industry. At King George International College (KGIC) in Vancouver, Canada, Barbara Godt sums up the approach to partnership that has earned all our nominees a place on this year’s shortlist. “When a KGIC student goes back to his or her home country, the positive feedback reflects on the agency,” she says. “The truth is we are all sitting in the same boat... just on opposite ends.”

The Shortlist

LTM Star Innovation of the Year 2008 
St Giles – Platinum Course, Canada 
Embassy CES – Brighton Centre and new teaching technology, UK
Jakera – The Travelling Classroom, Venezuela
Frances King – Family Courses, UK
Langports – UFO Programme, Australia
LTM Chain School  2008
Embassy CES
Kaplan Aspect
St Giles
Navitas (ACE)
LTM Star Spanish Language School 2008
Babylon Idiomas, Spain
Malaca Instituto, Spain
Clic - IH, Spain
Escuela de Idiomas Nerja, Spain
Pamplona Learning Spanish Institute, Spain 
LTM Star French Language School 2008
Institut Linguistique Adenet, France
Ecole Suisse de Langues, Switzerland and France
Accord, France
French in Normandy, France
France Langue, France

LTM Star German Language School 2008
did deutsch-Institut, Germany
GLS Sprachenzentrum, Germany
Humboldt Institut, Germany
IH Berlin-Prolog, Germany
BWS Germanlingua, Germany

LTM Star English Language School - Europe 2008
United International College, UK
intuition Languages, UK
Malvern House, UK
Hampstead School of English, UK
Centre of English Studies, UK and Ireland

LTM Star English Language School - Southern Hemisphere 2008 
Langports English Language College, Australia
Good Hope Studies, South Africa
Languages International, New Zealand
English Language Company, Australia
Sunshine Coast English College, Australia

LTM Star English Language School - North America 2008
Tamwood International College, Canada
International Language Academy of Canada (Ilac), Canada
The Language Academy, USA
ITTTI Vancouver, Canada
King George International College, Canada

LTM Star Italian Language School 2008
Scuola Leonardo da Vinci, Italy
Babilonia Taormina, Italy
Linguaviva, Italy
Dilit – International House, Italy
Torre di Babele, Italy

LTM Star High School 2008
Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools, Canada
Millfield College, UK
St Clares, Oxford, UK
Langley School District, Canada
St Joseph’s Nudgee College, Australia

LTM Star “Other” Language Provider 2008
Mandarin House, China 
Liden & Denz Language Centre, Russia
KAI Japanese Language School, Japan
ILI - International House Cairo, Egypt
CIAL Centro de Linguas, Portugal

LTM Star School Association 2008
English UK, UK
Ialc, International
English Australia, Australia
Quality English, International
MEI~Relsa, Ireland

LTM Star Insurance Provider 2008
Endsleigh Insurance
AVI International
Student Guard
Assist Card
Care Med

LTM Star Work Experience Provider 2008
Twin, UK
Jakera Adventure, Venezuela
Professionals UK, UK
English Bay College, Canada
Kaplan Aspect Opus, International

LTM Star Agency Asia 2008
IAE Global, Korea
EDM Education - Londonuhak.com, Korea
Gio Club, Japan
Wish International, Japan
Ryugaku Journal, Japan

LTM Star Agency Western Europe 2008
SI Språkresor, Sweden
ESL - Language Studies Abroad, Switzerland
ProLinguis, Switzerland
globo-study Sprachreisen, Switzerland
Boa Lingua, Switzerland

LTM Star Agency Eastern Europe 2008
Student Agency, Czech Republic
DEC, Ukraine/Moldova
Students International, Russia
Intact, Czech Republic
Global Vision, Turkey

LTM Star Agency Latin America 2008
Experimento, Brazil
STB, Brazil
Universo Educativo, Mexico
Central de Intercambio (CI), Brazil
Teducamos, Colombia

LTM Star Agency North America 2008
Amerispan, USA
The Learning Traveller, Canada
Apply ESL, USA
Lingua Service, USA
Séjours Linguistiques et Culturels, Canada

LTM Star New Agency  2008
Answer English, UK and Spain
Kanadam.com, Canada and Turkey
Global International Studies, Colombia
Living Languages, Spain  

LTM Star Agency Association 2008
Salta, Switzerland
Belta, Brazil
UED, Turkey
Aseproce, Spain
Tieca, Thailand  

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.





Hartmann Gallus
       Metzger Lauser  

Answer English  
Boa Lingua  
ESL Language
      Studies Abroad  
Globo Study

English Australia  
Fedele Spain  
Feltom Malta  
International House
      World Organisation  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  
Quality English Ltd.  

Student Guard

Your World on

Malta Tourism

English Bay College  
International House
      Sevilla - Clic  
Kaplan Aspect
      Opus Programme
Professionals UK  
Twin Group  

Alphe Conferences  
Fedele Spain  
MEI-Relsa Ireland  

English Language
Langports English
      Language College  
      (Australia, Canada,

Centre Linguista
English Bay
Greater Saskatoon
      Catholic Schools  
Hansa Language
IH Toronto  
IH Vancouver  
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada  
ITTTI Vancouver  
Language Studies
University of

Mandarin House  

ILI International
      House - IH Cairo  

      Education Group  
Eastbourne School
      of English  
Frances King
      School of English  
Hampstead School
      of English  
International House
      World Organisation  
      (Canada, France,
      Germany, Spain,
      (Australia, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, South
      UK, USA)
IP International
      Projects GmbH  
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, South
      Africa, UK, USA)
LAL Language
      (England, South
Language in London
Malvern House
      College London  
Millfield School  
Queen Ethelburga's
St Clare's Oxford  
St Giles Colleges  
      (Canada, UK,
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Twin Group  
United International

French in Normandy
IH Nice  
Institut Linguistique

BWS Germanlingua
Carl Duisberg
       Medien GmbH  
      (England, Germany)
F+U Academy  
      (Austria, Germany,
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  

Centre of English

Dilit - International

Kai Japanese
      Language School  

EC English
      Language Centre  
Melita Language

Unique New
       Zealand Education  

Cial - Centro de

Cape Studies  
Good Hope Studies  

Babylon Idiomas  
      (Austria, Germany,
ESADE Executive
      Language Centre  
Escuela de Idiomas
International House
      San Sebastian  
International House
      Sevilla - Clic  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL  
Pamplona Learning
      Spanish Institute  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd 
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      Ireland, Italy, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      UK, USA)
ESL Ecole Suisses
      de Langues  

ALCC - American
      Language &

      (Canada, China,
      Egypt, Indonesia,
      Japan, Korea, Kuwait,
      Malaysia, Oman,
      Panama, Qatar,
      Saudi Arabia, UAE,
Global Immersions
TLA - The Language  
University of
      California Riverside  
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)

IH Montevideo  

Jakera Adventure

University of
      Wales Aberystwyth