Contents - February 2007

Special Report
Mutual benefit,
Improving quality standards among individual association members and forging new links within the industry as a whole remain top priorities for agency associations around the world. And the growing number of active association members worldwide marks a maturation of the agency business worldwide, says Bethan Norris.

High school attraction
Studying at a high school overseas for one semester or an academic year gives international students a valuable experience without the commitment of long-term high school education in another country. Gillian Evans reports.

Spanish diversity
Spain has so much to offer students in terms of local traditions, gastronomy and a party spirit. Amy Baker highlights just some of the fantastic study destinations in the country.


Visa clincher

Given that the language travel industry is over 50 years old in many countries, it is perhaps surprising that enforced government regulation of language schools in many countries still does not exist. However, as the industry continues to develop, school companies become bigger – another takeover in Vancouver is yet the latest omen of the maturation of our industry (page 7) – and immigration becomes a political hot potato in our current climate, enforced regulation of language schools is an increasingly likely scenario. In many countries, governments are realising the value in a robust accreditation scheme linked to visa issuance, while in others, industry associations are campaigning for such a scheme so that it might pave the way for more transparent visa processes.

In France, the industry has actually rallied together to try and obstruct governmental plans to usher in compulsory accreditation for language schools, given that European-wide standards already exist, and because of the government’s lack of liaison with the industry regarding its new visa rules (page 6). Conversely, in Italy, language schools’ association, Asils, is working for national accreditation in the hope that it will improve visa issuance (page 12). At the moment, problems with visas there are thwarting market growth (page 29).

Across the Atlantic in the USA, industry association AAIEP is also campaigning to bring compulsory accreditation into effect to strengthen adherence to visa conditions across the board, which will help improve national competitiveness (page 6). With competitors Canada and the UK already discussing such a move and national accreditation in existence in Australia and New Zealand, I think the US industry is mindful that it should keep up, especially as it recovers from a few difficult years post-September 11, when visa problems were reported everywhere.

A slow evolution towards greater legislation can only be a long-term boon for an industry. Having immigration departments working with the industry can really benefit student traffic – one Chilean agent testifies that working holiday visas to Australia and New Zealand have helped establish the countries as long-term destinations, although students may organise this visa themselves (page 43).

While students may not be consciously aware of the machinations of legislation or lobbying when making a decision about where to study, as we hear from one reader in Vietnam (page 11), it can be an agency’s visa success rate with a certain country that wins them business.

Visa clincher


French industry rallies under visa threat
Icef Berlin breaks all records
AAIEP looks to compulsory accreditation
Zoni moves into Vancouver
Ialca to develop safety packs for clients
UK restricts migrant funding for ELT

Travel News
EU wants to cap air fuel emissions
Use of mobiles possible on Qantas and Emirates flights
United Airlines expands routes

Agency News
Online forum for agencies
Speak Out
IAE Global forms partnership in Mexico

Agency Survey
Mexico's firm footing
The future looks good for Mexican agents this year, with a growing economy contributing to greater demand for language travel programmes. Canada remains by far the most popular study destination, according to our survey.

Agent usage is high among students studying English in Australia and Asian nationalities continue to dominate the classrooms, as evidenced by the results of this issue's Feedback survey.

Course Guide
Language plus surf/dive
Those language schools fortunate enough to be located by the sea are well placed to offer their students a range of watersports as extra-curricular activities.

Summer in the USA
Language schools in the USA generally offer a larger selection of courses during the summer months, with an emphasis on combining English tuition with a wide range of interesting activities.

Regional Focus
British Columbia's great outdoors
Canada's third-largest province, British Columbia, covers almost one million square kilometres. Within it, students can experience a diversity of experience that is hard to rival elsewhere in the world. Jane Vernon Smith reports.

South Africa 2005
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine, which gathers specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. For the first time, it is possible to compare world market statistics.