February 2003 issue

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Mexico feedback

Despite the high proportion of native English speakers in Spanish language schools in Mexico, students were generally very satisfied with their language travel course, according to our Feedback survey.

Mexico feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 47 (female 27, male 19, unknown 1)
Average age in years: 28.4
Average length of programme in weeks: 7.7
Average number of students per class: 4
Average no. of hours of language tuition per week: 19.7
% of students who found their course through an agent or educational adviser: 28%
% of students who booked through an agent: 11%
% of students who had been on another language programme: 28%
% of students who would recommend their school: 96%

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
North America (60%)
W Europe (21%)
Asia (11%)
Australasia (4%)
Others/unknown (4%)
1.US (49%)
2.Canadian (11%)
3.Japanese (6%)
3.Sweden (6%)
4.Australian (4%)
4.Swiss (4%)
5.Belgian (2%)
5.Denmark (2%)
5.French (2%)
5.British (2%)
5.Korean (2%)
5.Dutch (2%)
5.Oman (2%)
5.Philippines (2%)

In my class there are... How will you use your Spanish in the future?
Too many students (5%)
Too many students who speak my language (4%)
Too many students from one other country (4%)
None of these (83%)
Unknown (4%)
For college study in Mexico (0%)
For college study in another Spanish-speaking country (0%)
For college study in my home country (27%)
For current or future work (52%)
For pleasure only (21%)

How did you find your programme? How easy was it to practise Spanish with native speakers?
I saw it advertised (21%)
I found it on the Internet (23%)
It was recommended by an agent (28%)
It was recommended by a friend/relative (28%)
Very easy (36%)
Quite easy (32%)
Quite hard (26%)
Very hard (2%)
Unknown (4%)

Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser? Standard of your social programme
Yes (11%)
No (76%)
Unknown (13%)
Excellent (43%)
Good (21%)
Satisfactory (17%)
Poor (0%)
Unsatisfactory (0%)
Unknown (19%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent (49%)
Good (40%)
Satisfactory (6%)
Poor (0%)
Unsatisfactory (0%)
Unknown (5%)
Excellent (57%)
Good (17%)
Satisfactory (2%)
Poor (0%)
Unsatisfactory (0%)
Unknown (24%)

Standard of the teaching What do you like most about Mexico?
Excellent (75%)
Good (23%)
Satisfactory (0%)
Unsatisfactory/poor (0%)
Unknown (2%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (66%)
No (21%)
Unknown (13%)

Yes (38%)
No (51%)
Unknown (11%)

Yes (23%)
No (66%)
Unknown (11%)

Student nationality
Given Mexico's proximity to the USA, it is no surprise that the vast majority of language travellers in Mexico are from North America. US students made up the number-one nationality group in our survey, accounting for 49 per cent of respondents, with Canadians making up the second largest group, at 11 per cent. Despite the high proportion of native English language speakers, only four per cent of students agreed that there were too many students from their own country in their class, and only a further four per cent said there were too many students of one single nationality.

Student age and motivation
At 28.4 years, the average age of the students who took part in our survey was relatively high. A closer look at the age range of students in our Feedback survey reveals that 40 per cent of students were aged between 20 and 25 years old, and a further 44 per cent were aged 26 and over. Given the relatively high average age of our respondents, it follows that the most important reason for learning Spanish in Mexico was for work reasons, mentioned by 52 per cent of students.

Student enrolment
The proportion of students who first found out about their school through an agent, and those who had heard about it via a friend or relative, accounted for 28 per cent of students each. However, although over a quarter of respondents said they had heard about the school through an agent, only 11 per cent actually booked their course through an agency. Twenty-three per cent of students said they first found out about their school on the Internet and a further 21 per cent had seen an advert. This included flyers, entries in travel books and posters.

Standard of the schools
When we asked students to rate the standard of certain aspects of their language travel package, no one graded any aspect as poor or unsatisfactory. A staggering 98 per cent of students rated the standard of the teachers as good or excellent, while 89 per cent said the same of their academic programme. Accommodation was deemed to be good or excellent by 74 per cent of students, while 81 per cent considered their social programme to be at least satisfactory (the remaining 19 per cent did not reply to this question). Class sizes at the schools that took part in our survey were generally very small, averaging out at four students per class.

Living in Mexico
With the high proportion of North Americans and Western Europeans that took part in this survey, it is not surprising that 72 per cent of students said the cost of living in Mexico was lower than in their countries of origin. Students were paying up to US$350 per week for their language course and accommodation, with the average spend being US$243 per week. The students who took part in our survey generally found it easy to mix with native Spanish speakers, with 68 per cent finding it very or quite easy to practise their new language skills with local people.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Center for Bilingual Multicultural Studies, Universidad Internacional, Cuernavaca; Centro Cultural 'El Puente', San Cristobal de las Casas; Centro de Ensenanza para Extranjeros, Universidad Nacional Autonoma de Mexico, Mexico City; IMAC - Instituto Mexico-Americano de Cultura, Guadalajara; Instituto Chac-Mool, Cuernavaca; Kukulcan Educational Spanish Community, Cuernavaca; Ole Spanish Language School, Queretaro; Tec de Monterrey, Monterrey.

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