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Contents - August 2009

Special report
Opening the door to opportunity
Gaining professional experience overseas – be that paid or unpaid – is invaluable as a career enhancing and linguistic immersion experience. Agents need to realise that this is a very different product to language learning, leading to a different tangible asset too – the ability to open the door, not just knock on it. While still nascent, the industry offers many opportunities. Amy Baker reports.

Market Report
Malta toughens up
Having become accustomed to bumper summers, Maltese language providers are finding this year’s more meagre stream of students hard to adapt to. Many hope new marketing initiatives will prop up numbers. Nicola Hancox reports.

City Focus
Ontario’s wider picture
Canada’s second-largest province, Ontario offers language travellers a whole raft of wonderful experiences, from its picturesque scenery to its colourful multicultural cities and festivals. Gillian Evans reports.

Life is a rollercoaster

Life has its ups and downs and so does business, and far from finding 2009 to be a resilient year, I have to say that at this point in the year, the prognosis has been gloomier than everyone thought in the first few months. For example, Malta is reporting a “critical” year, in the words of one provider, while the UK is struggling with the burden of a new visa regime that is functioning less efficiently than the previous system. Agents share their opinion of the new system with us this month, and their opinions do not, on the whole, make happy reading for UK providers.

But just as how you behave in a crisis can define you as a man or woman, how you behave in a business crisis can set the agenda for early recovery. In Malta, for example, Sprachcaffe for one is upbeat about the possibility for internal focus during a slow season: it is focusing on improving its accommodation, “so we will be more competitive and offer a better service than ever before”, says the school’s DoS.

In Korea, where the value of the won has fallen sharply and impacted on many schools this year as study abroad numbers have dwindled, even agents there are being upbeat, despite an 11 per cent drop recorded in annual business. Most of the 10 agencies that took part in our survey thought that they would see an improvement in fortune by early 2010 and one was already tipping the next new trend: targeted language programmes as opposed to general English.

Agencies have to be aware of how student demand may fluctuate and react to it and, as we report in our preview of LTM Star Awards shortlisters, this is clearly happening, as a number of the LTM Star Innovation award contenders attest to developing a programme or service in response to agent requests. The Harry Potter-themed course offered at Mountlands Language School, for example, was designed to offer agents the USP that they asked for.

And if agencies need an entirely new product to offer to clients, then work & travel programmes, such as paid work experience or unpaid internships, are certainly an option that is open to them although some agencies report that this is very much a niche sector, or one that is too much work to deliver. As we find out from work & travel operators, it certainly can be a difficult area which requires much skillful counselling of clients, but it is an option that can be considered by a wider client base, given the opportunity to earn and learn. Who better to effectively counsel clients about such opportunities?

Life is a rollercoaster

British Council analyses ELT market in India and China
Maltese schools facing difficult year
New “Study in Australia 2010” strategy introduced by government
Dublin City Council in bid to attract more students
Nafsa attracts over 7,000 in LA

Agency News
London Thames launches language school in Spain
globo-study takes over STA Language Center in Switzerland

Agency Survey
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.

There was good representation from North America in this year’s Feedback survey on Spain. Meanwhile, the number of students booking a language course through an educational advisor increased.

Exams in Canada
Toefl may be the staple test preparation course offered by a majority of providers in Canada but Ielts and Cambridge exams are becoming increasingly popular. Nicola Hancox analyses market trends and details the array of options including some of the more unusual offerings, like BEC and SSAT.

Course Guide
English plus sports in Australia
Surfing on the Gold Coast, scuba diving in the Whitsundays or kayaking in Cairns – these are just some of the options available to students looking to study on an English plus sports programme in Australia. With its warm climate and outdoor culture, these combination courses are great for those looking for something a little extra when learning a new language abroad.

USA 2008
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.

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