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February 2006 issue

Contents
News
Travel News
Agency News
Agency Survey
Feedback
Direction
Special Report
Market Report
Course Guide
Spotlight
Destination
City Focus
Status

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Icef in Berlin bigger than ever

Icef's 2005 Berlin workshop was the biggest ever, welcoming 486 educators and 644 agents to its annual event in Germany. An afternoon of seminars kicked off the three-day event, which is the biggest workshop of its type in the language travel industry.


Markus Badde, Director of Icef, said, "Based on feedback from this year's attendees, the 11th Icef Berlin workshop was seen as the best ever due to a number of changes and improvements, such as the provision of an e-scheduling system, the organisation of an exhibition area and an extended seminar programme providing further education and information."

Micki Lalonde from the College of New Caledonia in Canada attended the event, which was held in a hotel in the city centre. "It';s pretty amazing to be here with so many other people from all over the world, if a little overwhelming," she told Language Travel Magazine. "I hope that I will be converting contacts into useful leads when I get back home." Mark Jones at Oxford House College in the UK, added, "There are good quality agents and a major plus point is that we didn';t have any time-wasters."

Agent, Julia Richter of Studiosus in Germany, noted that the "very professional" event is growing each year with more delegates, and she suggested the fair should not get any bigger. Ivan Sholokov of Uniwest Media in Russia said that, for him, the timing of the event in November was crucial. "This is the most important [workshop] and it is the time to be getting ready for the [approaching] season," he said.

David Arrowsmith from Inlingua Cheltenham in the UK summed up the event, "I';m busy, tired and talked a lot."


First Alphe Russia offers real results
Alphe Russia, the latest addition to the suite of Alphe workshops, was received with great enthusiasm by delegates at the St Petersburg event in November last year.


Delegates praised the professionalism of the workshop and also the location as providing an ideal place to meet agents from new markets in and outside Russia.

Anne Marie Slack from the International College at Sherborne School in the UK said that she felt a "real buzz" at the workshop, and added, "It felt very purposeful. Most of my Russian agents are from Moscow, so having the workshop in St Petersburg is good for drawing new markets from within Russia and also other countries like Latvia and Finland."

The workshop was held at the historic Astoria hotel, overlooking St Isaac';s Cathedral in the heart of St Petersburg, and included a welcome reception in the Winter Garden Restaurant. Jacob Woerhle from Campus International Education Group in Germany said that the hotel was a good choice. "It';s been wonderful. I was not expecting it to be so successful," he said. "I was originally only looking for junior programmes but I have also found lots of interesting programmes for the executive market. It has been very good for me and I have made some new contacts."

Mariangela Ciccarelli from Centro Italiano in Italy was particularly impressed by the quality of the agents at the event. "For the first time, agents contacted me to make appointments [before the workshop] before I had a chance to contact them. This is good because it means that they probably have a real interest in Italy. The feeling at the workshop was very positive." Jane Gilham, Alphe Organiser, confirmed that Alphe Russia will become a regular event.


Industry issues - agents speak out

Q. Do you work with start-up schools?

Julia Sumatokhina, Educational World, Russia
"I could not say definitely yes or no. Our principle is to offer what a student needs. When consulting, we ask a student about his/her objective; where he/she would like to study; whether they prefer a big or small school; and what the budget is for the programme. It is very important for us that the student';s dreams come true. It can be either a traditional school with a first-class reputation, accredited by different kinds of bodies, or it can be a new one. As Russia is a non-European country our students have to apply for a visa. The Embassy is more inclined to issue a visa if an institution has government accreditation. However, it takes time for an institution to get the accreditation. Most Russian students choose their school using word-of-mouth recommendation. Clients are getting choosy. There is tough competition between schools and agents too."

Maria del Pilar Arbelaez, Study Now, Colombia
"To decide to work with a start-up school is a very difficult decision for an agent because you have to consider that your name as an agent could be damaged for a bad choice. However, after 10 years in the international education field, you develop a special sense that can help you decide when a new school has a good process and serious academic curriculum. I think the fact that [influences] agencies more not to work with start-up schools is the avalanche of information and brochures we get by mail and e-mail everyday. We do not have time to go through all that information and if you already have a reliable provider in a specific place then you do not take the chance to look at other ones. Of course, when a well known director or teacher decides to open a new school, you will give it a try if your previous experience with them was good. If I were to start a new school, I would include in the budget a fam tour for good agents. Always when you visit the place and meet the people, promotions and relations between agency and school are stronger and more confident."

Eduardo Heidemann, AF Intercambio, Brazil
"Yes! A new school must offer good programmes, attractive prices and must present good references. We would start sending a few participants until the school proves it´s a good school and students are satisfied. We meet such new schools in workshops, through visits and by word-of-mouth."

Magda Nagyová, EuroTrend 21, Slovakia
"Being a small agent, we usually cooperate with schools with which we have an established relationship and good experience. Saying that, I do not want to discourage newly founded schools or say that they are not good. But if we decided to send our students to a newly opened school, we would first of all need to see some guarantee of quality – ideally an accreditation. Apart from this, we would probably expect something more than another school in the area can offer and that could be a special offer or a special programme."

Paloma Avilés, Speak&fun, Germany
"Sometimes it is good to take a risk and offer something new and also give opportunities to new schools too, but we will never send a student before we have visited a school. A surprise visit will give us a first impression that will decide our future relationship. In general, new schools have to offer something different to be interesting for us, as we try to be a special agency too."


Agency of the month

In a series appearing each month in Language Travel Magazine, we ask a different language 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, Centro de Idiomas Quorum in Spain nominates Sprachurlaub.de (Stefan Scherer Bildungsreisen) in Germany.

Jose Mendez, International Admissions Manager at the school, explains:
" We are glad to count on excellent agencies that continue working with us year after year. However, for this honour, we would like to nominate the agency Sprachurlaub.de from Berlin, Germany.

Both Centro de Idiomas Quorum and Sprachurlaub.de have grown together over the years. We met Stefan Scherer, the founder and owner, soon after opening our school in 1999. Stefan was at that time also starting his agency, so the connection between our two businesses was immediate.  

Ever since then, Stefan has been an excellent partner, providing us with quality students and giving us welcome advice when needed. Part of the growth we have experienced has been achieved by his support, and we are glad to count Stefan as a good friend. The growth has been consistent, as Sprachurlaub students continue growing year after year."


On the move

Maryam Kisray has been appointed Brand and Business Development Manager at Roedean School in Brighton, UK. After six successful years at another Brighton-based school, St Mary';s Hall, Ms Kisray is delighted to join one of the world';s most prestigious schools for girls. "Roedean is a wonderful place full of bright, enthusiastic and talented people," she said.

After doing a fantastic job of bringing LSC Calgary to its current success, Angela Sammon (left) is moving back to Toronto, where she will join the LSC national team as Director-Planning. Heading to LSC Calgary is Rich Powell (centre). Mr Powell has been Director of Studies at LSC Vancouver for the past 10 years. And returning to LSC Vancouver as Director of Studies is Dennis Innes (right).

Murtagh Forde, who previously worked for Galway Cultural Institute in Ireland, has set up his own consultancy company, Forde Consulting. Still based in Galway, Mr Forde is interested in promoting quality schools in Ireland.

Bridge Linguatec, based in the USA, has a new Vice President, Ross Wehner. He will be involved with the operation of all divisions of the company, concentrating his efforts on some of the newest aspects of the business, such as Tefl certification courses, volunteer adventures and several other language-related products.

There are some new staff members at Study Group. David Mitchell (left) has been appointed Regional Manager (Europe), covering Turkey, France, Switzerland and Austria. He previously worked for a major agent in East Asia before moving into international sales. Lucy Greaves (right) also joins the team as Regional Manager for Germany. 

Chris Bray has joined Exsportise in the UK as General Manager. Mr Bray';s history is in the private sector of the leisure industry, and after 17 highly successful years managing real tennis clubs, he is thrilled to be joining a company that leads the industry in combining sports instruction with English tuition.


Q&A

With a tough year behind them, members of English New Zealand will be using the association';s unique quality accreditation as a marketing tool, says Chairperson, Angela Oliver.

Full name: English New Zealand
Year established: 1986
Number of members: 26
Type of members: English language providers
Association';s main roles:
Leading the English language teaching industry in New Zealand; improving quality standards; collaborative marketing
Membership criteria:
Three years in operation, fully registered and accredited by NZQA; prepared to meet extra standards that are exclusive to EnglishNZ.
Government recognition: Yes
Code of practice: Yes
Complaints procedure: Yes
Agent workshops/fam trips: Yes
Contact details:
Christine Schmidli, Secretary, English New Zealand, PO Box 2577, Auckland, New Zealand
Fax: +64 78355523
Email: info@englishnewzealand.co.nz
Web: www.englishnewzealand.co.nz


What has English New Zealand achieved this year?
English New Zealand has expanded membership to include state providers; it has continued its consolidation of agent relationships; commenced communication with peer associations worldwide; and introduced new academic standards for members.

How will the new membership dynamic, embracing state-sector providers too, change the focus of English New Zealand?
Collaboration between private and state English language providers will generate a broader spectrum of ideas and practices, which will benefit students, agents and schools.

Please explain how Appel and Education New Zealand work with your association.
Appel represents all private English language providers. Its primary role is to safeguard the local operating environment by liaising with government ministries and authorities. All English New Zealand members are automatically members of Appel. Education New Zealand is the government appointed body for the international student industry.

What are your plans for 2006 and what is your business prognosis for members next year?
We plan a consolidation of existing markets; further diversification into newer markets; increased cross-sector cooperation; and strengthened international links with peer associations. The market is strongly affected by the high New Zealand dollar, which has caused a significant drop in student numbers for all providers – in 2006 providers will be reassessing the validity of their programmes in terms of student attraction; many will be introducing new, innovative courses. Some may decide to reassess the value of remaining in the industry. Quality will continue to be the key to continued viability. English New Zealand';s stringent quality standards will enable member schools to market more confidently.


Grapevine



At the Icef workshop in Berlin in November last year, traditional German fare was on the menu for John Paxton of Perth International College of English in Australia (bottom right), although rumour had it that he was just helping somebody else out with his generously portioned meal. The social activities also went down well with delegates in Berlin, with reports of an unnamed Polish agent having to be carried off the dancefloor late in the evening (above)…


Alphe Russia in St Petersburg offered a fantastic backdrop for a workshop, as modelled here by the gorgeous Hothouse Media staff; from left to right, Jessica Mathieu, Bethan Norris, Jane Gilham and Delphine Aggoune-Soustre. And (right), two industry types try to blend in with the locals in their Russian winter headgear; Stephen Roberts, also of Hothouse Media, and left, Huw Morris from Netherwood School, Wales.

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
Education New
      Zealand Trust
Eltasa
English Australia

TOURIST BOARDS
Malta Tourism
      Authority

WORKSHOPS
Alphe Agent
      Workshops 

SERVICES
Language Travel
      Phonecard 

AUSTRALIA
English Australia

AUSTRIA
Cultura Wien

CANADA
Académie des
      langues de Trois
      -Pistoles
Algonquin and
      Lakeshore Catholic
      District School Board
Bodwell College
Bow Valley College
Canadian
      International
      Student Services
Cowichan Valley
      School District # 79
Delta School District
Fraser Cascade -
      School District # 78
Ottawa International
      Student Programmes
      (OISP)
Richmond School
      District # 38
University of Calgary
West Vancouver
      School District # 45

ENGLAND
Aspect (Australia,
      Canada, England,
      France, Germany,
      Ireland, Malta, New
      Zealand, Scotland,
      South Africa, Spain,
      USA)
Bell International
Eastbourne School
      of English
LAL Language and
      Leisure (England,
      Malta, South Africa,
      USA)
Langbourne College
Leeds English
      Language School
Malvern House
Oxford Brookes
      University
Queen Ethelburga's
      College
Salisbury School of
      English
St Giles Colleges
      (UK, USA)
St John's Wood
      School of English
Study Group
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, New Zealand,
      South Africa,
      Spain, USA)
University of
      Sheffield

FRANCE
Centre d'Etudes des
      Langues de Saint-
      Malo
ELFE
Institut Français Riéra
IS Aix-en-Provence
SILC - Séjours
      Linguistiques
      (England, France,
      Spain)
Université de
      Provence

GERMANY
F+U Academy
      (Austria, Germany,
      Russia)
Lichtenberg Kolleg
      E.V.
Prolog- International
      House Berlin

IRELAND
High Schools
      International (HSI)
      (England, Australia,
      Canada, Ireland,
      USA)

ITALY
Babilonia
Est Ovest
Istituto Linguistico
      Mediterraneo

MALTA
EC English
      Language Centre
      (England, Malta)
inlingua Malta
Malta Tourism
      Authority

NEW ZEALAND
Education New
      Zealand Trust

RUSSIA
Liden & Denz
      Language Centre

SOUTH AFRICA
Cape Studies -
      Pacific Gateway
      Study Group
Eurocentres Cape
      Town
Geos Cape Town
      Language  Centre
Good Hope Studies 
inlingua Language
      Training Centre
      Cape Town
Interlink School of
      Languages
International House -
      Durban
Jeffrey's Bay
      Language Centre
LAL Cape Town
LAL Durban
Shane Global
      Language Centres -
      Cape Town

SPAIN
Estudio Sampere
      (Ecuador, Spain)
Kings College
      International
      (England, Spain)

SWITZERLAND
EF Language
      Colleges Ltd
      (Australia, Canada,
      China, Ecuador,
      England, France,
      Germany, Ireland,
      Italy, Malta, New
      Zealand, Russia,
      Scotland, Spain,
      USA)
Eurocentres
      International
      (Australia, Canada,
      England, France,
      Germany, Italy,
      Japan, New Zealand,
      Russia, Spain,
      Switzerland, USA)

USA
American Language
      Communication
      Center
Kaplan Educational
      Centers (Canada,
      England, USA)
Zoni Language
      Centers

WALES
CELTiC (Schools)
Ltd