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August 2009 issue

Contents
News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Market Report
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
Regional Focus
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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.

Malta’s English language teaching industry has certainly felt the effect of the financial crisis. Add to that an appreciating currency and a loss of faith in the visa system and its no surprise that the feeling among providers is somewhat sombre.

Sandra Attard-Montalto at Bell Malta in St Julian’s, firstly points to a buoyant 2008, before lamenting that 2009 is proving to be far more difficult. She says that 2008 numbers at the school were relatively similar to 2007’s bumper year, with strong enrolments on their Young Learner programme one reason for this.

Indeed, according to statistics released by the NSO in June there was a minimal decline in the number of foreign students studying in Malta last year (down 0.8 per cent on 2007’s results) but providers remain sceptical as to whether or not these numbers can be maintained in 2009.

“2009 has already showed itself to be a critical year for Maltese EFL schools,” observes Attard-Montalto. “Not only are we in the middle of a global recession, but the euro’s strength against the sterling has resulted in more students opting for the UK.”

Anna Briffa from Britannia College in Valletta saw a slight decrease in the number of students studying at the school in 2008. The Spanish market was particularly affected she says, noting that a revision in the number of grants awarded to students by the Spanish government were perhaps the root cause.

However, Greg Burrell from Sprachcaffe Languages Plus in Pembroke, posted positive business growth for 2008 but he quickly points out the pitfalls of becoming too complacent. “2008 was a record-breaking year for us in terms of students weeks so it would be unrealistic to expect 2009 to be as good,” he states. Instead, Burrell says the chain will be investing heavily in renovation work during a slower season.

“Our target is to maintain the level of turnover... and we are trying to achieve this by investing more money than before in marketing and visiting agents,” says Caroline Castillo from Clubclass Residential Language School in Swieqi. And Ian Scerri from English Language Academy in Sliema, also acknowledges that they are busy marketing this year: “We are optimistic that the new marketing set-up in our organisation, together with new courses, should continue to bring in more students,” he says.

Owing to an increased marketing drive in France, Scerri notes they have seen a vast improvement in the number of French students choosing Malta over other English-speaking destinations.

However, visa woes continue to burden the market in Malta and providers feel the government’s lack of support could prove detrimental. Scerri says, “Student numbers in general were slightly lower due mainly to a prevailing global economic slowdown and problems for non-EU students obtaining visas,” he says.

Having entered the Schengen zone in December 2007, providers witnessed a decline in the number of non-EU students applying to study in Malta. “[Non-EU] students often have to travel to other towns to obtain visas,” states Attard-Montalto. “This means combined with their language study programme fees, they need to budget for an additional night…or two…or three! As a consequence, certain countries have given up on Malta and send their students elsewhere.”

Rebecca Brincat at Bels warns that unless the government helps out, the industry will suffer. “The typical European student numbers are decreasing so we need to seek new avenues. There is huge potential in both Turkey and China – also for long-term and higher education students but we are being blocked by the powers that be,” she laments.

Carol Galea Souchet at the Institute of English Language Studies (Iels) in Sliema says a new consulate office in Turkey should ease things a little, however. “We are hoping that the visa situation will improve,” she says. “Now that a Maltese Consulate is present in Turkey, we are banking on positive growth in this market!”


Courses galore

Listening to what agents, and indeed what students want, is crucial if educators are to continue to attract international students.

“We’ve continually striven to update our portfolio of programmes and launched a range of new courses,” notes Sandra Attard-Montalto at Bell Malta. She lists new executive options as well as programmes designed with older learners in mind. And at Bels, Rebecca Brincat says, “We have introduced teenage courses and 50-plus courses. They have been very well received so far.”

Meanwhile, Greg Burrell from Sprachcaffe Languages Plus reports that the school has added several new programmes to its 2009 timetable: language plus activity courses that incorporate a dance academy and a soccer camp: “These have been mildly successful and we feel that they will develop over time.”

At the International School of Languages – part of the University of Malta – Michelle Caruana Dingli says, “Our courses are academic and linked with the university credit system,” adding that they have just developed medical and legal English courses.

Meanwhile at Clubclass Residential Language School, Caroline Castillo says that they have launched a course for those who have become unemployed. It comprises of 20 lessons in general English and 10 lessons in fluency, focusing on vocabulary related to an interview scenario, and helping to increase students’ confidence.

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.

Name

Company
Country

Telephone

Email


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

EDUCATION CONSULTANTS
Boa Lingua  
Central de
       Intercambio - CI  
ESL-Language
      Studies Abroad  

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

EXAM BOARDS
IELTS  

INSURANCE
Student Guard
      Insurance  

SERVICES
InTouch  
LTM Digital  

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority  
Perth Education City

WORK EXPERIENCE
Engliah Bay College
LAF  
ONECO - the
      training agency  
Professionals UK 

AUSTRALIA
English Australia  
English Language
      Company  
Perth Education City

CANADA
Bodwell College  
Canadian &
      International
      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
      Student
      Programmes
      (OISP)
Thompson Rivers
      University  

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

FRANCE
France Langue  
French in
      Normandy  

GERMANY
BWS
      Germanlingua  
GLS
      Sprachenzentrum  
International House
      Berlin - Prolog  
IP International
      Projects GmbH  
      (England, France,
      Germany, Spain)

IRELAND
Atlantic Language
      Galway  
Centre of English
      Studies  

ITALY
Babilonia  
IH Milano  

JAPAN
Kai Japanese
      Language School  
Kudan Institute of
      Language &
      Culture  

MALTA
Clubclass
      Residential
      Language School  
Feltom Malta  
Linguatime  
Malta Tourism
      Authority  

MONACO
Home Language
      International  

NEW ZEALAND
Languages
      International
      Christchurch  

SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Studies  
Good Hope Studies

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

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

TURKEY
IEFT- International
      Education Fairs
      of Turkey  

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



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