February 2005 issue

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Italy feedback

More Americans were present at Italian language schools, according to our most recent Feedback survey, and student satisfaction levels were unanimously positive.

Italy feedback at a glance
Total number of students: female 51, male 28 79

Average age in years: 33.8

Average length of programme in weeks: 4

Average number of students in class: 5

Average number of hours of language tuition per week: 19

% of students who found their course through an agent: 23

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 18

% of students who had been on another lang. programme: 49

% of students who would recommend their school: 100

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (5%)
W Europe (57%)
South America (10%)
North America (23%)
Australasia (3%)
Middle East (1%)
Unknown (1%)
American 20%
British 14%
Swiss (10%)
German (7%)
Swedish (5%)
Brazilian (4%)
Dutch (4%)
French (4%)
Japanese (4%)
Mexican (4%)

In my class there are... How will you use your Italian in the future?
Too many students (5%)
Too many students who speak my language (9%)
Too many students from one other country (5%)
None of these (80%)
Unknown (1%)
For university study in Italy (10%)
For university study in another country (1%)
For university studies at home (9%)
For my current or future work (38%)
For pleasure only (42%)

How did you find your programme? Standard of your social programme
I found it on the internet 43%
Recommended by an agent 23%
Recommrnded by a friend/relative (22%)
I saw it advertised (12%)
Excellent (25%)
Good (41%)
Satisfactory (23%)
Poor (1%)
Unknown (10%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent (38%)
Good (49%)
Satisfactory (9%)
Unknown (4%)
Excellent (29%)
Good (44%)
Satisfactory (13%)
Unknown (14%)

Standard of the teaching Modes of travel to Italy
Excellent (73%)
Good (25%)
Satisfactory (2%)
Low cost air carrier (24%)
Ordinary air carrier (57%)
Coach (2%)
Car (6%)
Train (11%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (96%)
No (3%)
Unknown (1%)

Yes (75%)
No (24%)
Unknown (1%)

Yes (34%)
No (60%)
Unknown (6%)

Student profile
Italy generally attracts an older student crowd, many of whom are learning the language for pleasure only. This year's Feedback survey revealed no change in this pattern, with the average student age being close to 34 years old and the age range spanning from 18 to 70 years old! Forty-two per cent of students were learning the language for pleasure, including nine students who were retired, followed by 38 per cent who said they were learning Italian for work purposes. This figure was up by four percentage points on last year's survey results (see LTM, January 2003, page 14-15). In terms of nationality breakdown, Americans were back in number-one position this year, after being in joint-sixth position the previous year. Prior to that survey, Americans had been the most populous student nationality (see LTM, October 2002, page 14-15). However, Western Europe, led by the British, was the most significant world region of origin.

Student motivation and satisfaction
Combining study with a holiday seems to be the main reason for undertaking a language course in Italy, indicated by the fact that the majority of the 79 students in our survey said that they knew exactly which city they wanted to study in. However, only 34 per cent of students had a clear idea about which school they wanted to attend. In terms of satisfaction, all the students that answered the question (one did not) said that they would recommend their school to others. Looking at specific service areas, the teaching was seen to be the best quality, with 98 per cent of students deeming it excellent or good. Eighty-seven per cent thought the same of the academic programme, 73 per cent of the accommodation and just 66 per cent of the social programme.

Student enrolment
Almost half of the students in our survey - 42 per cent - were not staying in the typical accommodation options of host family or residential accommodation. This again reflects the older, more independent student profile in Italy. However, 75 per cent of the South American students - from Brazil, Colombia, Mexico and Venezuela - were staying with host families. Turning to agency usage, while 23 per cent of students found out about their school through an agency, only 18 per cent of students actually booked their study packages using this method - far fewer than the 38 per cent of students who booked through an agency last year. Far more popular as a way of finding out about a school this year was the Internet, which was used by 43 per cent of students.

Access to and living in Italy
Low-cost air travel was the chosen means of transport for 20 per cent of students, including 60 per cent of those who were studying Italian for pleasure, which suggests that this budget air travel option may be increasing the potential market size for Italian language schools. Just 11 per cent, all from mainland Europe, travelled by train. Most students - 41 per cent - found the cost of living in Italy to be about the same as at home, while 39 per cent said Italy was more expensive than their home countries. Sixty-nine per cent of students found it quite or very easy to practise Italian with local people.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey:
Academia de Giglio, Florence; Domus Aurea, Rome; Eurocentres, Florence; Linguaviva, Florence; Linguadue, Milan; Nausicaa, Pizzo Calabro; Omnilingua Centro Linguistico e Culturale, San Remo; Scuola Leonardo Da Vinci, various; Sorrento Lingue, Sorrento; The British Institute of Florence, Florence.
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