August 2012 issue

News Round Up
Inside the industry
Advisor Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Special Report
Course Guide
Regional Focus
Market Analysis

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Canada’s fusion

Increased travel costs, lack of flight frequency and visa issues were causes for concern for some Canadian English language providers in 2011. However, enrolments look stable with a good dose of diversity on campus.

Canada’s marketing budget by region (overall %) Student feedback respondents by world region of origin
Asia 30%
Latin America 27.5%
Western Europe 16%
Middle East 11%
C&E Europe 9%
North America 5%
Australasia 1.5%
Asia 40%
Latin America 31%
W Europe 9.5%
Middle East 7%
CE Europe 5%
N America 2%
Africa 0.5%
No reply 5%

Top nationalites in Canada by student weeks – according to schools, 2011 To practise English with native speakers is ...
Korean 17%
Brazilian 17%
Saudi 14%
Japanese 11%
Mexican 6%
Colombian 3%
Spanish 3%
Taiwanese 3%
Local 3%
Chinese 2.5%
German 2.5%

Source: STM Canadian school survey

Quite easy 40%
Quite hard 38%
Very easy 12%
Very hard 7%
(No reply 3%)

Commission Student numbers by age range
25% is the average commission paid on a language course

None of the institutions profiled paid commission on accommodation

8-11: 0%
12-15: 2%
16-18: 11%
19-24: 46%
25-30: 26%
30-50: 13%
50+: 2%

Means of recruiting students in Canada, 2011 (schools) How did you find your programme? (students)
Agents 77%
Internet 12%
Local bookings 6%
Other means 5%
It was recommended by an agent 55%
I found it on the internet 23%
It was recommended by a friend/relative 18.5%

I saw it advertised 2.5%
(No reply 1%)

In my class there are...
...just the right amount of students and mix of nationalities 59%
...too many students 13%
...too many students from one other country 13%
...too many students who speak my language 12%
(No reply 3%)

Total marketing spend by sector and by category in %
Agency costs 56%
Commission 45%
Incentives 7%
Agency brochures 4%

Travel costs 30%
Agent workshops 9%
Student exhibitions 6.5%
Advisor visits to school 2.5%
Entertainment 3%

Trips to agencies 9%
Publicity costs 14%
Agent mags etc. 1%
Brochure, video etc 8%
Internet 5%

10 weeks Overall average length of stay

21 hours Average language tuition per week

Key points in STM school survey Canada
Number of participating organisations: 10
Total number of students at the organisations in 2011: 38,392
Total number of student weeks in 2011, estimated: 383,920
Participating schools: Ilac - International Language Academy of Canada, Toronto and Vancouver; ILSC Education Group, Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal; Sol Schools International, Toronto and Calgary; Global Village, Calgary, AB; St Giles International, Vancouver, BC; Geos Language Plus, various; EC/LSC Canada, various; Language Studies International (LSI), Vancouver and Toronto; East Coast School of Languages, Halifax, NS; Niagara College Canada, Welland, ON.

Canada student feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 168 (female 93, male 71, unknown 4)
Average age in years: 24
Average number of students in class: 11.5
Participating schools: Geos Language Academy, Montreal, QC; Global Village, Calgary, AB; King George International College, Toronto & Vancouver; ILSC Education Group, various; Cornerstone Academic College, Toronto, ON; Eurocentres, Vancouver, BC; Study Abroad Canada, Charlottetown, PEI; Vancouver Georgia College, Vancouver, BC; EC/LSC Canada, various; IH Vancouver, BC; Ilac - International Language Academy of Canada, Toronto, ON; Heartland International English School, Winnipeg, MB; Sol Schools International, Toronto and Calgary; Niagara College, Welland, ON; LSI, Vancouver and Toronto.

There was not one particular nationality dominating Canada’s ELT student landscape in 2010. Saudi and Korean students were most numerous, accounting for a nine per cent respective share of the total student market (see STM, April 2011, page 60). And both nationalities were well represented in 2011, although Koreans developed a market lead over the Saudis, sharing the top spot instead with Brazilian students (see bottom right). In 2010, length of student stay ranged from 15-to-26 weeks, averaging 6.7 weeks. In 2011, average length of stay increased by 3.3 weeks to 10. However, one canvassed provider received a large quota of students, inflating the overall weeks figure. If omitted from the poll, average length of stay drops to 5.8 weeks.

According to John Taplin at Global Village (GV) Calgary, AB, the Brazilian market has helped business increase since 2010. Similarly, Houman Nikmanesh at Sol Schools International, with three of its four schools in Canada, notes their centres in Toronto and Calgary experienced a significant boost in 2011 Brazilian enrolments. “This is a market we will continue to expand in over the near and long-term future,” he adds. From his perspective at GV Calgary, Taplin puts the growth spurt down to the strength of the Brazilian economy, Brazilian students’ keenness to travel to Canada and the on-going effect of policy change. He explains, “Changes were made in 2008, when international students were granted visas to study English first at private language schools and then work in customer service positions. In a city like Calgary, there are a lot of opportunities for students to improve English language skills in the classroom and in real-life settings where they meet Canadians.”

This month’s report proves the Canadian ELT sector is not without diversity, with 30 nationalities represented in our student feedback survey. Traditional source markets remained stable for ILSC Education Group, which has centres worldwide including in Vancouver, Toronto and Montreal. Mara Muller relates that while there was “significant growth” in most major markets, the school looked to “reach out” to newer markets including the Commonwealth of Independent States (CIS), comprising 10 former soviet republics, and Vietnam in 2011. “We anticipate that our efforts will continue to grow these markets moving forward,” relates Muller, adding that China has already been a focal point for 2012.

“In 2011 we had more French and Spanish students as well as more Chinese students interested in our Canadian locations,” relates Audrey Malgras-Serra from Geos Languages Plus. Sprachcaffe Language Plus’s acquisition of Geos North America schools last year (see STM, November 2011, page 8) has helped open up new markets. “Our plan is to focus on each market, especially Asia, Europe, the Americas and the Middle East,” she adds.

The King Abdullah Scholarship Program (KASP) continued to supply Canadian providers with a substantial quota of Saudi students. Despite representing a significant proportion of student enrolment in 2011, this market source was not problem-free. Muller explains that during the Islamic month of fasting, Ramadan, visa delays for returning Saudi students proved cumbersome.

According to Statistics Canada, the average cost of a flight using main carriers increased by nine per cent, up from CAN$179.10 (US$174.48) in 2010 to CAN$195.80 (US$190.74) in 2011. And it seems these price hikes did not go unnoticed. Jackie Pilkington at St Giles International in Vancouver, BC, notes that agent partners in certain countries raised concerns over the cost of flights to the city. Muller, meanwhile, laments that some Latin American locations do not provide enough flights to Canada, indicating student passenger traffic is there but necessary travel provision is not.

Several providers report that demand for courses preparing students for university study continues to grow. “Ilac is the only school in Toronto that has pathway agreements with more than 40 Canadian universities and colleges,” explains Tatiana Porvatkina at Ilac. Given the favourable opportunities open to students upon graduation, Porvatkina adds Canada is now a prime overseas study destination.

Muller at ILSC reports that their university pathway programme saw “significant growth” in 2011, with the number of ILSC partner institutions almost doubling. Meanwhile, tailoring programming to prepare students for higher education was key to development at GV Calgary, and continues to be, notes Taplin.

East Coast School of Languages moved to a brand new purpose-built centre last year, marking a new direction in terms of course offerings. A new Teaching English for Young Learners programme launched in July and, says Sheila Nunn, will be offered to cater to demand in the Asian market.

Testing patience

Visa issuance continues to be one of the major obstacles inbound ESL students in Canada face, observes Sheila Nunn at the East Coast School of Languages in Halifax, NS. “Students from many countries including Russia, Colombia and Vietnam still find it very difficult to get a visa to study here so this greatly affects our success in those areas,” she laments.

“The requirement for Mexican visas is a continuing thorn in the side of language programmes in Canada,” offers John Taplin, President and CEO of Global Village Calgary, AB. He points to the federal government’s stipulation that Mexicans require visas to visit and study in Canada, a regulation that came into effect a few years ago. “For most countries who are sources of international students, visitors are able to enter Canada to stay as well as study for up to six months. Even though our partners in Mexico have adapted to the red tape, it has definitely reduced the number of Mexicans coming to Canada. Languages Canada continues to lobby for constructive change to restrictive policies.”

Indeed, Languages Canada, the sector’s unified and national association for language training programmes in the country, is busy lobbying for change. “Languages Canada is working closely with the Canadian government to ensure that the voice of the language training industry is heard,” asserts Nunn. “I think that many officials still do not appreciate the contributions that international students make to local communities. Therefore, it is important for Languages Canada to continue to be at the table when discussions take place.” Notwithstanding, there has been some improvement in visa issuance in the Turkish market, she adds.

Gonzalo Peralta of Languages Canada talks about current challenges.

“Earlier this year Citizen and Immigration Canada (CIC) created quite a stir in the languages education sector by closing seven visa offices. While the manner in which these offices were closed could have been communicated to stakeholders throughout the education sector in a more timely fashion, CIC’s end goal of providing more an efficient and effective service is laudable.

The reasons for these closures boil down to two factors: firstly, CIC is facing federal budgetary restraints and maintaining brick and mortar offices around the world is costly. Secondly, CIC is moving away from a “location-based” approach for issuing visas to an electronic process for processing applications. Given that nowadays in-person interviews take place on an exception basis and applicants seldom need to visit a visa office, the new process should and could work very nicely.

The electronic system of submitting visa applications is a modern and an efficient way to go providing appropriate resources are in place to handle the increased volume of applications at the Visa Applications Centres (VACs). This modernised approach could also demystify the approval process. Active members throughout the language education sector have been advocating for a more modern and transparent approach for some time. [Affected offices include Damascus, Tehran, Berlin, Tokyo, Dhaka, Kuala Lumpur and Belgrade].

Languages Canada’s relationship with Citizenship and Immigration Canada is strong and continues to bring great value to the language education sector. Also considerable advocacy work on visa and immigration issues is ongoing in collaboration with the Canadian Consortium for International Education Marketing (CCIEM). Working together, CCIEM members, CAPS-i, AUCC, ACCC, CBIE and Languages Canada, bring considerable bench-strength to advocacy efforts on behalf of Canada’s education sector. This work also continues to showcase Canada as the destination for quality education.”

Contact any advertiser in the this issue now

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






AFA Marketing  
Boa Lingua  
Education Journey  
ESL Education  
Globo Study Sprachreisen  
Idealist Education Consultancy  

CAPS-I (The Canadian Association of Public Schools  
English Australia  
Study Gold Coast  
English in Chester  

COINED International  

Browns English Language School  
English Australia  
Study Gold Coast  

Dialogo Language School  
FAAP - Fundação Armando Álvares Penteado  
GTMI Global Tailor Made Idiomas  

Braemar College  
Centennial College of Applied Arts and Technology  
Edmonton Public Schools  
Greater Saskatoon Catholic Schools  
Greater Victoria School District #61  
Hansa Language Centre  
ILSC - International Language Schools of Canada  
Nova Scotia International Student Program  
Pembina Trails School Division  
Red Deer Catholic Regional School Division  
Sol Schools International (also IH Toronto)  
Sooke School District #62  
St James - Assiniboia School Division  
Toronto District School Board  
VGC Language School  
West Vancouver School District #45  

iMandarin Language Training Institute  

Anglia Ruskin University  
British Study Centres  
Cambridge Education Group  
Churchill House School of English Language  
IALC International  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
London School of Business & Finance  
Mayfair School of English  
MLS International College  
Queen Ethelburga's College  
St Giles International  
English in Chester  
United International College  
University of Essex - International Academy  
World Language Consultants  


Cambridge Esol  

Alliance Française Paris Ile de France  
France Langue  
French in Normandy  
Institut Linguistique Adenet  
SILC - Séjours Linguistiques  

BWS Germanlingua  
F+U Academy of Languages  
GLS Sprachenzentrum  
Goethe-Institute in Deutschland  
inlingua Berlin  

English For Asia  

Dr. Walter GmbH  

Centre of English Studies  

Linguaviva Centre  

Genki Japanese and Culture School  
Kai Japanese Language School  

EC English Language Centre  

Academic Colleges Group  

CIAL - Centro de Linguas  

pay to study  

Escuela de Idiomas Nerja  
Malaca Instituto - Club Hispanico SL  

EF International Language Centers  

Malta Tourism Authority  
Study Gold Coast  

Annie Wright School  
California State University San Marcos  
English Language Center  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Liberty University  
New York Language Center  
TLA The Language Academy  
University of California Berkeley  
University of California San Diego  
Zoni Language Centers  

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