Contents - February 2009

Special Report
Professional push
The agency industry is professionalising; more agent training schemes are popping up, agencies are taking investment in staff development seriously and educators and trade promotion bodies are seeking to provide first-class training input in an effort to cement business avenues or relationships. Amy Baker reports.

Market Report
Germany’s consolidation
While 2008 brought a growth in student numbers for many German language schools, industry sources remain cautious in their forecasts of this year’s performance because of the global credit crunch. Gillian Evans reports.

Glorious Vancouver
A multitude of sports activities await language students going to Vancouver to learn English, as well as beautiful scenery and a vibrant modern city. Bethan Norris finds out what makes Vancouver one of the most popular study destinations in Canada.


Driving knowledge

I was pleased to happen upon a “cabbie” of the traditional variety recently; a cab driver who loves to chat and spends the entire journey offloading his opinions and invaluable knowledge about London. For example, I found out that Covent Garden gets its name from Convent Garden, and that Charing Cross station is considered the true city centre because distances were measured to the memorial cross erected to Queen Eleanor by King Edward, which is outside the station. (In fact, it originally was erected in nearby Trafalgar Square and then moved).

Anyway, the conversation came around to what I did, and I was impressed that my driver could say “hello, how are you” in five languages; one for each of his favourite restaurants that he would visit from Monday to Friday. It is surprising where you can uncover a passion for languages; he was vehement that British students should be able to leave school speaking a language, not least to ensure good service in restaurants around the world when they are older!

And he reinforced the idea that learning a language to aid a passion is a strong motivator. In this issue, we report on language plus programmes such as English and football or Italian and jewellery design, which tap into a student’s nascent interest in something other than a language to fuel the language acquisition process

Of course, language schools offer access to cultural pursuits anyway, and sometimes, a school’s location puts it in an enviable position of being able to offer surfing, for example, or snowboarding. In the UK, while there are very limited opportunties to practise these sports, students studying in the countryside can access the great outdoors. For example, as we discover in our Destination feature, one rural school is a hill walker’s paradise, being located in the Lake District

While the differences between London and the Lake District might seem obvious, for a foreign national, any locations outside of the main metropolises may be completely unknown. For this reason, students rely on agencies to find the right school fit; with first-hand knowledge of partner schools, they can assess a student’s needs. Agents need knowledge on a macro-level about a particular study destination, and this is becoming more widely available in certifiable form. They also need to maintain knowledge on an intimate level, of individual schools. This is a challenge and a measure of an agency’s real worth; the ability to appropriately place clients all around the world.

Driving knowledge

Icef Berlin attracts the crowds this year
Uni of Essex absorbs Insearch Essex
Japan wants to woo international students
EC makes its third acquisition in the USA
IH Dublin opens new executive centre
New English training website in USA

Agency News
Australia wants to combat dodgy agents
MEI visits Istanbul

Agency Survey
China’s tertiary aim
Growth in China’s outgoing student travel industry slowed this year, reflecting worldwide economic concerns. Students were also studying overseas for a shorter length of time, although mainstream education remained the focus of most agency business.

There was less representation from Asian countries this year across Australia’s English language schools, with Western Europeans and Latin Americans more populous. Meanwhile, a small percentage of respondents were disappointed with class size.

Executive courses in Malta
With its sunny climate and abundance of leisure activities, Malta is the ideal destination for English language learners wanting a relaxing study break. This can include executive language learners and many schools are active in this sector, reporting good demand from North Africa and Germany.

Course Guide
Summer vacation in France
Summer vacation courses for juniors are often the mainstay of a language school’s business during the summer months. Students enjoy learning a language while also taking part in lots of fun activities and, perhaps, meeting local children. We list a range of options in France.

South Africa 2007
The Status survey is a venture by Language Travel Magazine that aims to gather specific market data about all of the main language teaching markets in the world. Through our initiative, it is now possible to compare world market statistics.