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December 2012 issue

Contents
News
News Round Up
Inside the industry
Agency Survey
Secondary Focus 1
Secondary Focus 2
Tertiary Focus 1
Tertiary Focus 2
Vocational Focus
Direction
Special Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
City Focus
Market Analysis
Grapevine

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On the move

Jessica Jarmlinger has been appointed as the new Regional Manager for Middle East and North Africa at ISIS Education Group in the UK. Based in Beirut, Lebanon, Ms Jarmlinger will be responsible for developing the presence of ISIS group and its products in the Middle East North Africa (MENA) markets, and provide students with a high-quality English language and/or summer school option. Prior to this role, Ms Jarmlinger was the Senior International Officer at Regent’s College in London.

The Language in Group is pleased to welcome two new Sales and Marketing Executives to the team. Axelle de Sainte Preuve and Angelisa Balzani join as specialist market managers to help support the company’s increasing network of agents worldwide. Ms de Sainte Preuve is French and relocates to London having studied in Huddersfield and previously travelled across America as an aupair. Ms Balzani is from Italy and studied her Masters in Cardiff before moving to London to join the team. The Language in Group is expanding its operations from five to seven junior centres in 2013 (see news section) in addition to the three adult schools in Dublin, London and Totnes.

After six years on the executive board, Darren Conway has been appointed as the new Chairman of school association, English New Zealand. He has 25 years’ experience in the industry, having previously taught in Egypt, England and Australia. Since 1993, he has been at Languages International in Auckland, where he has been Chief Executive since 2005. Mr Conway is looking forward to the challenge of improving collaboration between member schools and with the government to make New Zealand a more visible and attractive destination for language travel students.

Frances Seaton (top) has been appointed School Director at St Giles in Vancouver, Canada. Ms Seaton has 20 years’ experience in the industry as a teacher, teacher trainer and a school director in both Canada and the USA. She aims to continue building on the success of the newly refurbished Vancouver school and expand the current course offerings. Ms Seaton replaces Jackie Pilkington (bottom) who will be returning to the UK to take up the new position of Director St Giles International Junior Courses. Ms Pilkington, who has over 15 years’ of industry experience, will be responsible for the 13 junior programmes St Giles International operates throughout the UK, USA and Canada.


Q&A Educator association

Carolyn Blackmore, Chief Executive of Quality English, answers questions about the organisation’s developments.

Full name: Quality English
Year established: 2003
Number of members: 50
Type of members: Small to medium sized independent English language schools
Organisation’s main role:
To promote the QE brand and to provide marketing services to the QE schools
Government recognition: Every school is accredited by the relevant (national) accreditation body
Code of practice: QE has a ‘client charter’
Complaints procedure: QE refers students and agents to the complaints procedures that are laid down by each individual school
Agent workshops/fam trips: QE runs up to 11 missions a year in specific markets for local agents
Contact details:
Clarendon Business Centre, Belsyre Court, 57 Woodstock Road, Oxford, OX2 6HJ
E: info@quality-english.com
W: www.quality-english.com

What has your organisation been up to in the last 12 months?
Over the last 12 months it has been business as usual at Quality English. Yes, we have grown, slowly as is our wont, with new schools joining from New Zealand, Australia, Canada and Scotland. It is always encouraging to announce growth in non-UK countries because it takes time to get these schools on board. Every prospective school requires a visit (usually two) before it happens. Each party needs to be convinced that this is the right way forward for their school/business and that usually takes time. It is tremendous for us when we accept a new licensee.We have run a full programme of missions this year to nine destinations. All have been successful and the satisfying sign is that each repeat visit (as some are) brings a greater number of agents (with one exception, Switzerland).

Tell us about your newly launched brand.
Quality Education is for quality, independent colleges that offer vocational courses in English. These colleges would like to attract international students and Quality English/Quality Education has a strong brand and can offer marketing opportunities to help them achieve this. The colleges will have the chance to take part in the missions, meaning a more diverse range of providers for agents attending, which is a good thing. The new and complementary brand means that QE schools can reap the benefits of being part of a larger organisation without QE itself growing too large (see STM, October 2012, page 9).

How have your QE missions evolved and developed?
The missions are QE’s main marketing activity – well, they are the most visible and tangible and contribute greatly to the ever increasing QE brand recognition, quite apart from the new agents and bookings that the schools enjoy. There are changes planned for 2013. We are going to work harder for the schools by making agent visits on their behalf, by offering overnight accommodation to (a limited number of) agents from further away cities, and by developing individual fam trips on the back of missions. Agents who have attended a mission are going to be eligible for our ‘Quality Visit’ programme – think ‘coffee card’ and look out for further information next year. Existing QE agents will get the first invitation.

What marketing activities do you have planned for the near future?
Marketing is our core business, our raison d’être. Eleven missions are being organised for 2013. Really almost everything we do is marketing, brand marketing, and plenty is a continuation of the same, including attendance at international workshops such as Alphe, shared advertising and so on. Everything we do is underpinned by the ongoing quality control of existing schools. Alongside this, there is the constant quest for other quality schools and colleges that could enhance the brand, wherever we can find them, and then to check and re-check their reputations, resources and overall services on an ongoing basis.


Q&A Agent association

TEAG President, Ozdemir Icin, talks about the association’s developments, accreditation and training schemes.

Full name of association: Turkish Educational Agents Group (TEAG)
Year established: 2005
Number of members: 12
Type of members: Educational Consulting and Language Course Firms
Association’s main role: To bring together reliable, quality agencies under the common aim of providing the best services to schools and students while expanding the study abroad market in Turkey.

What has been Teag’s focus in the last 12 months?
We have focused on providing a forum for TEAG members to exchange opinions and concerns, discuss collective grievances regarding visas and other problematic issues surrounding the market and uphold our reputation as a reliable information source for overseas educators in the Turkish market. We have welcomed five new members, we attended Edufairs, Alphe İstanbul and ICEF Dubai to explain our aims and current work and to meet new schools and agencies. TEAG members come together bimonthly to exchange ideas. We lobby consulates to promote better understanding of identified concerns over standard setbacks experienced by language students and by the international travel sector as a whole.

Where do you stand on accreditation policy/standards? Do you think accrediting agents/agencies is necessary?
We think that accrediting agents/agencies is necessary to standardise the main services of the market. To be accepted as a TEAG member, we ask candidate firms whether they are suitable for the Felca accreditation code of conduct or not. All of our members adhere to the Felca accreditation code of conduct.

How do you feel about agent training schemes?
There are very few training organisations and unfortunately agents have to pay too much to attend.

What activities does Teag have planned?
We are planning to organise workshops for our members that will be exhibited by schools’ representatives in our office and we are going to organise meetings with consulates about visa procedures. We would like to attend related organisations like Alphe to meet new agencies and schools.


Industry issues - agents speak out

Q. How important is accommodation provision among clients? Have student expectations changed?

Thomas Schmidt, AILS, Belgium
“Accommodation is a key factor for our students when they choose a language school abroad. In fact they often have more questions about accommodation than the courses. And so as agents who consider our primary function to advise students well about all aspects of their programme abroad, we find it essential to be well informed about the accommodation provided by our partner schools, and, ideally, to have visited them personally. We trust our providers, we know their strengths and weaknesses, and if necessary we will provide accommodation through a third party. Although we usually tend to suggest host family accommodation to our students for the cultural benefits, more and more seem to prefer residences or shared apartments. The reasons for this are often the bad reputation of host families (though we know that partners work hard on this) and a desire for more independence. Students usually want access to a kitchen and Wi-Fi, but are happy to share their room with another student (with a different mother tongue). They are typically well-travelled individuals who are used to a certain level of comfort during their travels, and the level of expectation seems to be rising.”

Syed Hashim Hasan, Auspak International, Pakistan
“Students from Pakistan seldom have accommodation as their priority, their focus is primarily on the institute they are going to. Those planning to study in Canadian universities have to get their accommodation sorted before they apply for the visa, so usually adhere to the accommodation booking deadlines. Pakistan, as a society, is a last-minute market and this is true for students as well. The students tend to delay the booking of accommodation until the very end. These are common issues faced by our students who prefer to look for cheaper options or rely on friends already there. The students who come from the upper middle class prefer to have as many facilities as possible. The urgency is seen only once the visa has been stamped and in most cases they miss the accommodation deadline for halls of residence. We then look at alternatives and guide them by sending them a list of properties available, location and distance from the university. Price is an important aspect as well as Wi-Fi and meal plans. The preference of en-suite is also quite common. The females always look for female-only accommodation and at times prefer homestay as well. Homestay is one of the least preferred types, while independent is mostly in demand.”

Gabriella D’Urso, ATW – Rome, Italy
“In spite of the massive flow of information provided by the Internet, a good agent’s advice is still appreciated by most students. Usually we book whatever the schools we work with have on offer, without excluding other providers if we have direct experience or very positive feedback. The adult and executive students are the most demanding and always have been: they strongly prefer either hotels or independent flats. No trend changes here, whatsoever. Self-catering student hall requests have increased by 40 per cent among university students, while host family accommodation is today chosen almost exclusively by very motivated young adults (18+). Nowadays, we specialise in the junior market, where requests for residential accommodation are massive, while demand for host families has decreased dramatically. Juniors and their parents have become more aware of the services and tools available: en-suite rooms are the top request, while Wi-Fi connection and a more varied menu come immediately after, followed by sports facilities.”


Agency of the month

In a series appearing each month in Study Travel Magazine, we ask a different teaching institution to nominate one of their preferred agencies or agent partners, and to explain why this person/company is worthy of their nomination.

This month Kurus English in South Africa nominates akzent sprachbildung in Switzerland. Johannes Kraus, Director at the school, explains this decision.


“I would like to recommend akzent sprachbildung weltweit in Switzerland as Agency of the Month. Jackie and Patrick Helfenberger, and their team, have worked with us over the past two years. Kurus English is still a young school, but we have developed a fine relationship. Besides the students that akzent sprachbildung have sent us, a team member visited our school to get an idea of the environment we have created. akzent sprachbildung is a professional agency, with well-organised administration procedures as well as highly efficient response times and communication. We can also see that akzent’s clients receive individual and personal consultation in order to guarantee a perfect student-school match. Finally, we have been working on joint marketing efforts...this has considerably strengthened our working relationship.”guage] trainer proves to be a first-class counsellor.”

“With innovative programmes, dedication and outstanding service, it makes it easy for us to promote Kurus. Our clients are giving excellent feedback and that is exactly what we are aiming for.”
Jackie Helfenberger, akzent sprachbildung, Switzerland

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.

Name

Company

Country

Telephone

Email


ACCOMMODATION
Studyhouse  
ASSOCIATIONS/GROUPS
English Australia  
AUSTRALIA
English Australia  
CANADA
Bow Valley College  
CHINA
iMandarin Language Training Institute  
ENGLAND
English in Chester  
International House World Organisation  
INTO University Partnerships  
Kaplan International Colleges  
London School of Business & Finance  
Mayfair School of English  
University of Essex - International Academy  
Wimbledon School of English  
EVENTS
IALC International  
EXAM BOARDS
Cambridge Esol  
TOEFL Educational Testing Service  
ITALY
A Door To Italy  
Stresa Italian Language School  
Zoni Language Centers
JAPAN
Akamonkai Japanese Language School  
Kai Japanese Language School  
Sendagaya Japanese Institute  
Yokohama International Education Academy  
MALTA
Malta Tourism Authority  
NEW ZEALAND
Otago Polytechnic  
SERVICES
Pay to Study/FELCA  
SPAIN
Xul Comunicación Social  
SWITZERLAND
EF International Language Centers  
TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism Authority  
USA
Besant Hill School  
ELS Language Centers  
FLS International  
Forest Ridge School of the Sacred Heart  
Glenholme School  
Global Language Institute  
Riverside Military Academy  
Ross School (The)  
Zoni Language Centers  




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