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Contents - February 2010

Special report
Right of return
Refund policies vary widely between language schools. Most schools say that they have a written policy on refunds regarding the amount of notice a student gives when cancelling their course. The percentage refund that a student might expect tends to decrease the closer they are to their start date, while deposits are rarely returned. In practice, however, Jane Vernon Smith finds that most schools are more flexible than this in certain circumstances.

Market Report
German push
German language schools experienced minimal growth in 2009 and are realistic about the future challenges that lie ahead. Gillian Evans reports.

Regional Focus
Lively Florida
Holiday theme parks, glorious weather and beaches make Florida a very agreeable destination in which to study. Add in a friendly population and many opportunities to get involved in local life, and students’ satisfaction during their time in the state seems assured. Amy Baker reports.

Regulation with intent

When a student studies abroad, I imagine that their parents’ concerns revolve around social issues: will my child be happy; will their host family be nice to them; will they make friends? And perhaps academic issues enter their thoughts too: will they make good progress in their studies?

Of course, these two concerns are linked: a happy and settled student is more likely to succeed in their studies. More regulatory concerns such as: will my child receive an adequate refund if they have to cancel their course for an unavoidable reason; what happens if the education provider fails? are unlikely to enter their heads.

But for education agents, whose professional remit is to be concerned about such questions as well as the more obvious social and academic considerations, it pays to be clued up on varying refund rules and tuition assurance (pages 28-32).

Australia is really trying very hard to provide a comprehensive umbrella of international student support via its existing tuition assurance scheme, recent visa changes to support this scheme, and ongoing regulatory efforts to improve the international student experience (page 7). The official in charge of the Esos Act review has called for greater efforts to be made in terms of social cohesion of domestic and international students; better regulation of accommodation provision and a whole raft of other measures (such as a national body for dispute resolution), which will be officially presented to government sometime this year.

Such macro-efforts to tighten up the nuts and bolts of an industry will translate, if adopted, into a more satisfactory outcome to the international student experience, even if these are not considerations at the forefront of the mind of a student or their parents when deciding where to study.

Meanwhile, the UK is making its own efforts to redefine the international education industry, but without the end consumer in mind; rather, with the electorate and the upcoming general election. Concerns over bogus immigrants continuing to enter the country, despite an overhaul of the visa system – which is still in the process of being rolled out – led the government to announce a very hasty review of the system and outline specific proposals, all of which left the industry aghast (page 6).

One point that Australia and the UK seem to agree on is that a greater focus on agent integrity is a good thing, and this seems likely to be a focus in 2010. A government official in Australia is advocating agent certification, for the benefit of Australia-bound clients; while English UK recommends introducing a trusted partner scheme, for the benefit of nervous visa officials.

Regulation with intent

UK plans another shake-up of visa system,
Canada values foreign student income
Australia rules on agent disclosure
World Innovation Summit for Education held in Qatar
Open Doors: Big boost for USA

Agency News
ICEF Berlin larger than ever
i-graduate ICEF Agent Barometer is positive for 2010
Quality English’s European road trip

Agency Survey
Poland expanding
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.

Australia Feedback
A diverse range of nationalities took part in this year’s Feedback survey of Australian language schools and 93 per cent of them said that they would recommend their school to others.

The Russian language market
Business and culture are the two main drivers of a slow growth within the Russian language teaching market, and tailored programmes for culture vultures or business beavers are available accordingly. Amy Baker reports.

French & cooking
Students who appreciate French gastronomy will delight in a course that focuses on French cooking techniques as well as language acquisition. Nicola Hancox explores some of the different options available in France.

Course Guide
Language plus in Canada

South Africa 2008
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.

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