August 2009 issue

Agency News
Agency Survey
Market Report
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Course Guide
Regional Focus

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Korea’s tough times

The global economic crisis, coupled with a drop in the value of the Korean won, had a disastrous effect on the 2008 language travel market, but forecasts for 2010 are, nevertheless, upbeat.

Key points
• The total number of students placed by the 10 agencies in our survey was 9,632

• Language programmes represented just over half (55 per cent) of education agencies’ business

• Average business growth was –11 per cent

• The average length of stay for Korean students was 23.6 weeks

• Overall, 40 per cent of Korean students stayed with host families when studying overseas

36 per cent of Korean students take a language course for their studies overseas

60 per cent of the agencies in our survey charged a handling fee of between US$50 and US$1,000 depending on length of stay

Top destinations Most popular courses
1. USA 47%
2. UK 22%
3. Canada 7%
4. Japan 4%
5. Australian 3%
6. New Zealand 1%
Other 16%
1. General 38%
2. Intensive 37%
3. Summer 5%
4. University found. 4%
5. Business 3%
6. Junior 2%
6. Work 2%
8. Acad./Exam prep 1%
other 8%

Reasons for language travel Average percentage agency business
1. Future work 41%
2. Studies Overseas 36%
3. Studies at home 10%
4. Current work 9%
5. Pleasure 1%
Other 3%
1. Language progr. 55%
2. Higher education 27%
3. Work & Travel 3%
4. Volunteer 2%
5. Internships 2%
Other 11%

How do agencies recruit students?
How do agencies find new business partners?
1. Website 33%
2. Word-of-mouth 32%
3. E/online marketing 16%
4. Seminars 8%
5. Mailshots 2%
5. Press 2%
Other 7%
1. Internet 30%
2. Fairs and expos 26%
3. LTM/ETM 19%
4. Workshops 10%
5. Other press 3%
Other 12%

Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
Acpet 22%
English Australia 56%

Languages Canada 56%

Souffle 11%
FLE.fr 0%
L'Office 0%
Unosel 0%

MEI 56%

Asils 11%
Italian in Italy 0%

Feltom 44%

New Zealand
English NZ 56%

Aeple 11%

South Africa
Eltasa 11%
English SA 11%

Fedele 22%

ABLS 33%
English UK 78%
British Council 78%

Accet 56%
CEA 56%

Eaquals 33%
Ialc 33%
Quality English 22%
Tandem 0%

Market growth
Korea was rocked by the soaring oil and commodity prices in 2008 and the global economic crisis sent the won’s value on a downward spiral and demand for language travel plummeted. Of the 10 study abroad agencies that took part in this issue’s business survey, 70 per cent reported a decline in student bookings of between eight and 35 per cent in 2008, as a direct result of the global financial crisis and high exchange rates. Only one agency reported static student numbers in 2008, while a further agency bucked the trend, notching up growth of 36 per cent. Overall, however, bookings fell by 11 per cent.

Language and destination trends
English is the number-one language choice in the Korean language travel market, accounting for 93 per cent of agency bookings. The only other language of note was Japanese, which made up six per cent of all requests received. In terms of destination, the USA remains top, and its share increased on last year’s survey, from 36 per cent in 2007 (see LTM, August 2008, pages 18-19) to 47 per cent in 2008. Last year’s survey also revealed a drop in demand for the UK, which fell from second place in 2006 to sixth place in 2007 with a market share of only seven per cent. In this year’s survey, the UK was back in second place with 22 per cent. Japan’s share had, meanwhile, dropped from 14 per cent in last year’s survey to four per cent this year.

Student and course trends
The main reason students studied a language overseas was for their future career, according to the agencies that took part in this issue’s survey. This year, a slightly higher proportion of students were motivated to study a language for their further studies overseas: 36 per cent compared with 30 per cent in last year. However, the proportion of students who were learning a language for their studies at home was down from 22.5 per cent in 2007 to 10 per cent in 2008. Meanwhile, the average length of stay almost doubled what it was in 2007, up from 12 weeks to 23.6 weeks.

Agency business
Over half of all bookings made through agent respondents this year were for language courses, while a further 27 per cent were for higher education programmes overseas. Other types of programmes, such as work experience/internships and volunteer programmes, were relatively insignificant to agency business accounting for only three or two per cent of total requests respectively. Sixty per cent of the Korean agencies that took part in our survey charged a handling fee of between US$50 and US$1,000, which averaged out at US$450.

Looking ahead
2008 and the first half of 2009 has been tough for Korean language travel agencies, although one agent noted that their business was performing better this year than last mainly because their emphasis was on the higher education sector, which has been more resilient to the economic climate than the language travel sector. Most of our survey participants were confident that business would improve by the end of the year/beginning of next year. One agency also forecast that when the market does bounce back, demand would be away from general English programmes and towards more targeted language programmes.

Economic overview

• South Korea’s economy grew by only 2.2 per cent in 2008, the slowest pace since the Asian financial crisis of 1998, and exports and industrial production plummeted as the country reeled from the global financial crisis.

• The value of the won fell by almost 26 per cent in 2008 and by March 2009, had dropped a further 20 per cent, making it one of the world’s worst performing currencies.

• Economists forecast that real GDP will contract by 10.1per cent in 2009 and 0.1 per cent in 2010.

• Demand for domestic goods and exports are expected to fall sharply in 2009 and remain weak in 2010.

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit; Shanghai Daily

Korean agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Ireland: Alpha College of English, Dublin; Centre of English Studies, Dublin; North Mon Language Institute, Cork; The Language Centre of Ireland, Dublin. In the UK: British Study Centre, London; Cambridge Academy of English, Cambridge; Exeter Academy, Exeter; Malvern House, London, St Giles, various; Wimbledon School of English, London. In the USA: Delaware Community College, Delaware, PA; ESL Language Center, various; Lakeland College, Sheboygan, WI; Lewis-Clark State College, Lewiston, ID; Moraine Valley Community College, Chicago, IL; New York University, New York, NY; NESE, Cambridge, MA; University of California Riverside, Riverside, CA; University of Findlay, Findlay, OH; University of Seattle, Seattle, WA. International: Eurocentres; Geos; Global Village; Kaplan Aspect; PGIC; Study Group.

Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in our survey: Doori Institute; Educare; KAMC; Lori Education Service; OK Education Center; Solomon Edu; To Be Londoner; Uhak. Com; Whole World Overseas Education; Winners Educational Consultant

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.





English Australia  
Feltom Malta  
IALC International  
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
Perth Education City
Quality English  
WYSE Travel

Boa Lingua  
Central de
       Intercambio - CI  
      Studies Abroad  

English Australia  
IEFT- International
      Education Fairs of
LTM Star Awards  
Quality English  
WYSE Travel


Student Guard

LTM Digital  

Malta Tourism
Perth Education City

Engliah Bay College
ONECO - the
      training agency  
Professionals UK 

English Australia  
English Language
Perth Education City

Bodwell College  
Canadian &
      Student Services  
      (Canada, Ireland)
English Bay College
Hansa Language
      Centre of Toronto  
ILAC - International
      Language Academy
      of Canada  
ILSC - International
      Language Schools
      of Canada  
ITTTI Vancouver
Languages Canada /
      Langues Canada  
Ottawa International
Thompson Rivers

Beet Language
Bell International 
      (Malta, UK) 
British Study
EAC Language
      Centres and
      Activity Camps.
      (England, Ireland,
      Scotland, Wales)
Embassy CES  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
IALC International
Kaplan Aspect  
      (Australia, Canada,
      Ireland, Malta,
      New Zealand,
      South Africa,
      UK, USA)
LAL Language
       and Leisure  
      (Canada, Cyprus,
      Ireland, England,
      South Africa, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)
      Language School  
Professionals UK 
Quality English  
St Giles Colleges
      (Canada, UK, USA)
Studio School of
Study Group  
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy,New Zealand,
      South Africa, Spain,
Queen Ethelburga's
Twin Group  
       (Ireland, UK)
University of
       Essex - International

France Langue  
French in

International House
      Berlin - Prolog  
IP International
      Projects GmbH  
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)

Atlantic Language
Centre of English

IH Milano  

Kai Japanese
      Language School  
Kudan Institute of
      Language &

      Language School  
Feltom Malta  
Malta Tourism

Home Language


Cape Studies  
Good Hope Studies

Almeria Spanish
Escuela de
      Idiomas Nerja  
Malaca Instituto -
      Club Hispanico SL  
Malaga ĄSi!  
ONECO - the
       training agency  

EF Language
      Colleges Ltd  
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Costa Rica,
      Ecuador, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Malta, New Zealand,
      Africa, Spain, USA)

IEFT- International
      Education Fairs
      of Turkey  

Angelo State
California State
      University Long
Eastern Washington
Human International
San Diego State
St Timothy's School
University of
      California Riverside
University of
      California San
Zoni Language
      (Canada, USA)

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