||Tracking Poland’s outgoing student market for the first time we discover language students are intent on learning English in either the USA or the UK with general and summer vacation courses high on the list of wants.
|• The total number of students placed by the eight agencies in our survey was 2,218
• Individual agencies placed between 40 and 1,000 students on courses per year
• Average business growth was 3.1 per cent in the last 12 months
• The average length of stay for Polish students was two weeks, excluding the results of one agency
• Overall, 49 per cent of Polish students stayed with host families when studying overseas
• Five agencies charged their clients a handling fee of between US$74 and US$250
• In the last 12 months, agencies worked with an average of 32 different providers
||Most popular courses
|1. UK 39%
2. USA 27%
3. Australia 15%
4. Malta 11%
5. Germany 3%
6. Canada 1%
6. France 1%
6. Spain 1%
||1. General 23%
2. Summer 21%
3. Lang. plus work 16%
4. Intensive 13%
5. Junior 6%
6. Academic prep. 5%
7. Business 4%
8. Foundstion 1%
|Reasons for language travel
||Average percentage agency business
|1. Future work 44%
2. Studies at home 15%
3. Current work 10%
4. Pleasure 9%
5. Studies overseas 8%
||1. Language progr. 51%
2. Work & travel 18%
3. Higher education 5.5%
4. Internships 3.5%
|How do agencies recruit students?
||How do agencies find new business partners?
|1. Website 43%
2. Word-of-mouth 28%
3. E/online 12%
4. Seminars to students 6%
5. Advertising in press 2%
6. Mail shots 1%
7. Other 14
||1. Workshops 44%
2. Internet 23%
3. Fairs and expos 14%
4. LTM/ETM 2%
5. Other press 17%
|Percentage of agents who recognised each of the following organisations
English Australia 43%
Languages Canada 43%
Italian in Italy 14%
English NZ 43%
English SA 0%
English UK 100%
British Council 100%
Quality English 71%
Opinion varied among the eight agencies that participated in LTM’s first survey of Poland. Three posted good growth figures of between five and 35 per cent while three said bookings had remained consistent with previous years. The remaining two agencies each reported a -15 per cent downturn in business. However, both were quick to point out this dip would be short lived with one planning to expand its list of offerings and the other citing an intensive Internet marketing campaign aimed at boosting the agency’s profile. Consequently, average business growth although positive was relatively low at just 3.1 per cent.
Language and destination trends
English-speaking countries dominated the list of preferred study destinations for Polish students in 2009 with the UK leading the way with a 39 per cent market share. Compared with other Central & Eastern European markets like Russia (see LTM, January 2010, pages 24-25), where non-English speaking destinations like France and Germany were cited as progressive markets, interest in languages other than English was relatively marginal for Polish students. The next most significant language requested after English (which accounted for 87 per cent of all bookings) was German with four per cent of bookings.
Student and course trends
General language programmes (23 per cent) and summer vacation courses (21 per cent) generated the most business for Polish agencies. But courses that comprised a work experience component were also popular; chosen by 16 per cent of agency clientele. Motivation behind a study abroad vacation hinged on future or current work opportunities. Forty-four per cent of the client base said future employment prompted them to study abroad, while 10 per cent were brushing up on their language skills for current work purposes. Polish students showed a penchant for short-term courses with average length of stay coming in at two weeks, although this excludes one ageny’s figure of 31 weeks.
Agents were largely reliant on their web presence when attracting new clients. Forty-three per cent of all agency business stemmed from web bookings while referrals from previous students or family members accounted for 28 per cent of all agency interest. As for new business sources, Polish agents found agent workshops to be the most effective means (44 per cent) while a further 23 per cent utilised the Internet. One agency specialised in the vocational education and training sector (accounting for 35 per cent of their total business) and another noted that half of all enquiries received were for summer camps.
Polish agents remain upbeat about the forecast for 2010. One agent noted that the nation’s way of thinking is changing with many keen to invest in education abroad. Forward thinking students are said to be particularly keen to tie in work experience with language learning reported one agent. Meanwhile, the USA and Australia were markets to watch out for in the next 12 months, report agents.
• Poland’s economy grew by 1.1 per cent in the second quarter of 2009, making it the only country in the European Union to experience economic growth.
• Polish exports fell by 17.1 per cent on the previous year in September, while imports were down 26.4 per cent.
• The number of registered unemployed was 14 per cent higher than the previous year in August while salaries have also declined.
• The Polish economy will expand by 1.8 per cent in 2010, up from 1.4 per cent, according to a central bank projection published in June 2009.
Sources: Bloomberg, Nationa Bank of Poland.
Polish agents named a range of language programmes they work with, including, in Australia: Ability Education, Sydney, NSW; English Language Company, Sydney, NSW; Geos, Perth, WA; Greenwich College, Sydney, NSW; Inforum Education, Gold Coast, QLD; Langports, Brisbane, QLD. In France: Institut Linguistique Adenet, Montpellier. In Germany: Sprachcaffe, various; Humboldt Institut, Konstanz. In Malta: Easy School of Languages, Valletta; Gateway International School of English, St. Julian’s; NSTS, Valletta; Sprachcaffe, various. In Spain: Malaca Instituto, Malaga. In the UK: EAC, Edinburgh; Eastbourne School of English, Eastbourne; Geos, London; King’s School, Bournemouth; LSI, London; Oxford English Centre, Oxford; United World, Bournemouth. Worldwide: Kaplan International College (KIC); Embassy CES.
Thank you to the following agencies for taking part in this survey: Lektor School of Foreign Languages; The Best Way; Glossa Language School; USA Studencki Punkt Konsultacyjny; Almatramp; Almatur; Bridge Agency; iAE Poland.