||ELC returns to Santa Barbara
English Language Center (ELC) has returned to Santa Barbara, California, after an absence of five years, adding to its schools in Los Angeles and Boston.
ELC Santa Barbara is located in a traditional Mediterranean building in the heart of the downtown area, across the street from the famous Santa Barbara Courthouse and a short walk from the beach and Paseo Nuevo shopping mall. The school has an initial capacity of 80 students, with future plans to expand, and features a student lounge with free Wi-Fi.
Ellyn Levine, President of ELC, said, “The sun-drenched city of Santa Barbara is an ideal place to study and have fun while immersing yourself in the American lifestyle.” Weekday activities take in museums, botanical gardens, and beaches, with weekend excursions to Universal Studios, Disneyland and Los Angeles, among others. Study options include General English, Toefl, Toeic, Cambridge preparation, Academic English, English Plus and the Third Age (50+) Programme.
“We look forward to working with both new agents and agents who worked with us in Santa Barbara previously. We guarantee that students will have an outstanding learning experience studying with us on what has been called the American Riviera,” said Levine.
Taiwan actively recruits students
Taiwanese Ministry of Education (MOE) officials have visited Vietnam, Russia and Swaziland recently as part of ambitious plans to increase the number of international students at Taiwan’s universities from the current level of 45,000 to around 70,000 by 2016.
MOE Minister, Wu Ching-ji, said the total number of domestic enrolments is expected to drop by 50,000 to 270,000 by 2016 due to declining population growth. It is hoped international students will help plug the gap.
A Taiwan education fair in Vietnam attracted over 3,000 participants, and Vietnam agreed to send 50 outstanding lecturers annually to pursue doctoral degrees. The Russian fair successfully recruited 200 graduate students. Meanwhile, the National Taiwan University of Science and Technology is launching a Mining Engineering Technology course to help equip Swazi personnel with necessary skills for the country’s mining industry, with outstanding high school students commencing in August.
Ardingly College becomes Bell summer centre
Bell has announced that this year Ardingly College will become its sixth young learner centre in the UK, offering a brand new dual-certificated programme of English language studies and activity-based courses for 12-to-17 year olds. Ardingly College is situated in the heart of West Sussex and boasts a range of indoor and outdoor facilities. The two-week Young Achievers programme will focus on developing language skills, for which students will receive a Trinity English Certificate if successful. Students also get the opportunity to study a certified activity programme in performing arts, watersports, outdoor survival skills, technology or sports leadership.
Demand for Bell’s young learner programmes has increased by 25 per cent since 2009, with over 3,000 attending in 2011. “Our decision to expand our portfolio of young learner centres comes in response to the outstanding success our young learner courses have enjoyed,” said Tony Anderson, Bell’s Director of Sales and Marketing. “Bell is committed to providing excellent courses to young people across the world, and our new venture at Ardingly will ensure we can offer an even more exciting activity programme to make the experience truly memorable.”
New study and work programme in China
CRCC Asia, a provider of internships in China, has launched a new course that combines Chinese language instruction with work experience in five-star resort hotels.
In conjunction with the Hainan Study-Work-Travel Program, operated by Hainan Normal University (HNU), CRCC has designed a course for students and graduates interested in the hospitality sector. The programme includes a three-month internship with one of a range of resort hotels on the tropical island of Hainan, preceded by 10 weeks of intensive Chinese tuition at HNU.
Daniel Nivern, Director of CRCC Asia, said, “This is an excellent opportunity for participants to acquire an in-depth understanding not only of the hotel sector, but also of Chinese consumer behaviour and Chinese language skills highly marketable for those aspiring to work in the hospitality sector in the UK or abroad.”
Canada and China forge tertiary partnerships
More than 20 partnerships or agreements have been signed between tertiary institutions from the Canadian province of British Columbia (BC) and China during a BC trade mission. It is estimated that the agreements will lead to an extra 2,500 students heading to BC over the next five years.
The Premier of BC, Christy Clark, led the mission to China that included representatives from 17 BC institutions. The agreements include pathway programmes, joint programmes and student exchanges.
“BC post-secondary institutions are working hard to build and expand important partnerships in China, knowing that international students bring social and cultural benefits to our communities,” said Clark. “With each post-secondary international student spending about CAN$30,000 (US$29,354) a year on living and schooling expenses, they also help create jobs and generate other substantial economic benefits for our communities.” The provincial government recently announced plans to double the number of overseas students over four years. The mission also visited India, Japan and Hong Kong.
Online prep for Cambridge English
The University of Cambridge Esol Examinations (Cambridge Esol) has launched a new, interactive web-based learning solution to help students prepare for the speaking part of the Cambridge English: First Exam.
The online speaking practice incorporates video footage of a real examiner asking authentic exam questions. Students can record and share their answers with teachers and friends and then compare their responses to videos of students giving sample answers. The practice also includes feedback on sample answers, useful tips and information on how speaking tests are assessed.
“Online speaking preparation gives students a really great opportunity to practice their speaking skills,” said Cambridge Esol’s Christine Nutall. “Speaking is a very complex skill and often presents many challenges to the learner. We’ve used videos of real examiners to create as authentic an experience as possible.”
New Bels centre in St. Paul’s Bay
Bels, the Malta-based English language school, has opened a new centre in St. Paul’s Bay, a resort on the north east coast of the main island.
Focusing on the adult market, the new Bels Malta centre is housed in a modern building and consists of eight spacious, air-conditioned classrooms. A large recreational area has vending machines and comfortable seating. The whole school is serviced with free Wi-Fi and is accessible for people with disabilities. The school is close to the student residence and the coast.
Bels Director, Rebecca Brincat, said, “For years now agents have often asked us why we don’t offer the ‘Bels Gozo’ concept of small- school-plus-personalised-service on Malta. Two years ago we brought the concept to the main island through our seasonal teenage operation and now we have added the new adult centre in St. Paul’s Bay to our portfolio. A truly worthy addition; offering facilities that are 100 per cent centred on student needs.”
British Boarding Schools Workshop expands
The recent 10th British Boarding Schools Workshop (BBSW) was the largest event to date, with 68 schools and 87 agencies in attendance. An adjacent room at the workshop venue, the Beaumont Estate, Windsor, was secured to meet the extra demand.
Delegate satisfaction was high for the event, which also featured an International Marketing Conference. Ann Sutton, Head of Boarding at Ryde School, said, “BBSW has proved to be an integral part of our annual marketing strategy and continues to enhance our international partnerships with educational consultants.”
Suzanne Rowse, Director of BBSW, said, “International recruitment in UK boarding schools increased this year for the sixth year running and I do believe this reflects that agencies are much better supported in working with UK schools through the BBSW, the post-workshop fam trips and the free resources that we make available to them.” The March 2012 workshop has sold out at the new higher capacity, with November 2012 already 80 per cent booked at the time of writing.
Meanwhile, the British Council in Milan recently held its first ever boarding schools event. Ten UK boarding schools and a summer academic programme provider were invited to the event, which featured presentations on the three different pathways to university by James H Kazi from Charterhouse School, Godalming, and the importance of Ielts and other exams for UK school and university entrance by Margaret Fowler, Head of the Exams Department at the British Council, Milan.
IH Cape Town launches volunteering opportunities
International House Cape Town has announced a closer partnership with you2africa, a specialist in African volunteer projects, and will be offering prospective students both language courses and volunteer programmes with a range of projects to choose from.
“We are finding more and more that people want to travel and yet at the same time make a real difference and a positive contribution when visiting a wonderful country like South Africa,” said Jonathan Thompson, Director at IH Cape Town. “That is why our English plus courses work so well as students can study English as well as combine their studies with a volunteer project.”
Volunteering opportunities include conservation, community work, education, childcare, and wildlife projects. Thompson adds that students have the option of doing one or two-week volunteer programmes previously the minimum stay for most projects was four weeks.
News in brief
MJA and Stars Language merge as UKLC
MJA Language and Stars Language have merged and will now be known as UKLC (UK Language Courses). The company will continue to offer a range of English language residential programmes and specialist activity courses. “MJA Language and Stars Language have been working together since 2008 when we realised the potential of bringing together the expertise of the Stars sports programme with the quality of the MJA language programme,” said Nathan Pearson at UKLC. The staff, operating procedures and contacts will remain the same.
Russia recognises foreign degrees
In an attempt to attract more international students onto MA and PhD programmes, Russia is simplifying procedures to accept foreign diplomas, meaning applicants will only need to have their diplomas translated. Previously it took over six months to verify non-Russian degrees. Russia’s education ministry is drawing up a list of universities whose qualifications will automatically be recognised. The list will include only universities that are located within G8 nations and feature in the top 300 in the Academic Ranking of World Universities or the QS World University Rankings.
Malvern House expands to Ireland and Oman
Malvern House, the UK-based English language course provider, has announced new centres in Dublin and Oman, adding to the recent expansion into Cyprus, part of an investment programme to expand the company brand internationally. Malvern House Dublin will offer English language programmes, executive and business English, work and study and internship courses. The company has secured premises in central Dublin, with classrooms being refurbished in the hi-tech Malvern House style. The college will officially open in March and will be offering a summer school from July. A college in Muscat, Oman, has also recently been acquired. The Middle East represents an exciting growth region for the company and the school is already enrolling students. Luke Simmons, General Manager, said, “Malvern House has a reputation for excellence and the expansion of our brand internationally, in Ireland, Oman and Cyprus, enables us to offer our English language programmes to a growing number of students in a location which suits them.”
Several new routes connecting the UK and Europe have recently been announced. German flag carrier, Lufthansa, will add daily services from Berlin to both Manchester and Birmingham from the summer, while low-cost airline Jet2 is inaugurating a Berlin-Leeds Bradford route. British Airways (BA), meanwhile, is to launch a flight from London Heathrow to Bologna in April, while also increasing capacity to Barcelona, Brussels, Amsterdam and Rome. Additionally, BA is reinstating a three times-daily route from London Gatwick to Nice from March. Spain’s low-fare airline, Vueling, is expanding services beyond the UK capital with a three times a week flight between Barcelona and Cardiff. Vueling CEO, Alex Cruz, said, “There’s a high student population within easy reach, so overall we are expecting high load factors as passengers will maximise the options provided by our connections service.”
Air France is expanding its services into China by establishing a new service between Paris CDG and Wuhan in China’s central Hubei province from April. In combination with its partner KLM, Air France already operates services to Beijing, Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Hong Kong, Hangzhou and Xiamen.
Barrack Obama, George Clooney and Angela Merkel have been nominated as the celebrities that passengers would most like to sit next to on an international train journey, according to a survey on high-speed rail conducted by YouGov. Clooney came tops with French and Spanish respondents, while those from Sweden (Obama) and Germany (Merkel) chose a political companion. The pan-European questionnaire also revealed that 77 per cent would use rail over any other means if the costs were competitive. The reasons for choosing rail over air included “a more enjoyable and comfortable experience” (51 per cent) and “seamless connections” (46 per cent). Sixty per cent said they would like to be able to reserve connecting rail travel and other modes of transport all on one ticket.
KLM has launched four new flights from its base at Amsterdam Schipol Airport to Latin America. The Dutch airline will fly three times a week to Rio de Janeiro, Buenos Aires and Havana and twice weekly to Punta Cana. The flights are part of a reciprocal codeshare agreement with Aerolines Argentinas in order to offer seamless onward connections at both ends. Emirates, meanwhile, has launched a daily service from Dubai to Buenos Aires, a service that will be linked to Rio de Janeiro.
New York-based airline, JetBlue, and India’s Jet Airways have announced the launch of a new interline agreement that will allow customers a range of travel options via Brussels. With the partnership, passengers will be able to purchase a single combined ticket with one-stop check-in and baggage transfer. JetBlue flies direct from New York to its European hub in Brussels, while Jet Airways offers direct services from Brussels to Chennai, Delhi and Mumbai. Both airlines have extensive domestic networks. Sudheer Raghaven, Chief Commercial Officer at Jet Airways, said, “Jet Airways’ transatlantic services from New York Newark and JFK to Mumbai, Delhi and Chennai, via Brussels, have proved extremely popular with guests, consistently registering very high loads. This partnership will enable us to tap into JetBlue’s impressive network into New York, thus offering guests an unmatched, seamless travel experience between several additional destinations in the USA and India.”
Jetstar is rolling out iPads across its domestic Australian, short-haul and long-haul international services after a successful trial. Passengers hiring the iPads will be able to enjoy movies, TV shows, music, games, e-magazines and ebooks. The carrier has worked with Disney, Universal, Sony and Warner Brothers to equip the iPads with the latest blockbusters.
London’s Gatwick Airport is continuing to pick up new international connections after the recent renovation of the North Terminal. Hong Kong Airlines has announced that it will base its flagship London to Hong Kong route here, with the daily service commencing from March. Meanwhile, Turkish Airlines became the only carrier with a direct link from Gatwick to Istanbul Ataturk Airport when it recently launched a daily flight, adding to its existing services to London Heathrow.