January 2004 issue

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Italy feedback

This issue's Feedback survey of students studying Italian in Italy reveals that more language travellers are learning Italian for work purposes now and a much higher proportion of students are booking their course through an agent.

Italy feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 113 female 81, male 27 (unknown 5)

Average age in years: 27.6

Average length of programme in weeks: 5.31

Average number of students per class: 6

Average number of hours of language tuition per week: 20.4

% of students who found their course through an agent: 33

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 38

% of students who had been on another language programme: 60

% of students who would recommend their school: 93

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
W Europe (64%)
Asia (12%)
N America (7%)
C & E Europe (6%)
Australasia (3%)
Latin America (2%)
Middle East (2%)
Unknown/other (4%)
1.German (17%)
2.Austrian (12%)
3.British (11%)
4.Japanese (10%)
5.Swiss (6%)
6.American (5%)
6.French (5%)
8.Spanish (4%)
9.Australian (3%)
9.Slovenian (3%)

In my class there are... How will you use your Italian in the future?
Too many students (4%)
Too many students who speak my language (8%)
Too many students from one other country (10%)
None of these (76%)
Unknown (2%)
For college study in Italy (10%)
For college study in my home country (11%)
For current or future work (34%)
For pleasure only (45%)

How did you find your programme? How easy was it to practise Italian with native speakers?
I saw it advertised (7%)
I found it on the Internet (35%)
It was recommended by an agent (33%)
It was recommended by a friend/relative (20%)
Unknown (5%)
Very easy (7%)
Quite easy (58%)
Quite hard (29%)
Very hard (4%)
Unknown (2%)

Standard of the teaching Standard of your academic programme
Excellent (56%)
Good (36%)
Satisfactory (2%)
Poor (1%)
Unknown (5%)
Excellent (19%)
Good (50%)
Satisfactory (15%)
Poor (4%)
Unknown (12%)

Standard of your accommodation Standard of your social programme?
Excellent (20%)
Good (43%)
Satisfactory (15%)
Poor (8%)
Unsatisfactory (3%)
Unknown (11%)
Excellent (17%)
Good (38%)
Satisfactory (22%)
Poor (9%)
Unsatisfactory (3%)
Unknown (11%)

Did you book your course through an agent or educational adviser? What do you like most about the Italy?
Yes (38%)
No (51%)
Unknown (11%)

Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Yes (81%)
No (15%)
Unknown (4%)

Yes (56%)
No (43%)
Unknown (1%)

Yes (28%)
No (66%)
Unknown (6%)

Student nationality
In contrast to our last Italy Feedback survey, when North Americans made up the single largest group of students (see Language Travel Magazine, October 2002, pages 14-15), North Americans accounted for only seven per cent this year. Instead, Western Europeans accounted for the largest student group by world region of origin, representing 64 per cent of students, compared with 38 per cent in 2002. The top three nationalities this year were from Europe, with Japanese coming in at fourth position with 10 per cent. Canadian students, who were in second place in our last survey, made up under two per cent of students this year.

Student age and motivation
Unlike most other languages, Italian is still learnt for pleasure by many people. However, although 45 per cent of students gave this reason as their main motive for learning the language, this was significantly lower than the 56 per cent recorded in our 2002 survey. Learning Italian for work purposes gained ground this year, with 34 per cent of students giving this as a motivating factor, compared with only 12 per cent in 2002. The proportion of students who had been on another language travel programme was also up, by 23 percentage points on 2002. This year, 60 per cent of students had been on at least one language travel trip before, 57 per cent of whom had taken an English course, 29 per cent French and 14 per cent Spanish.

Student enrolment
The Internet and agents are becoming more important in the marketing of Italian language schools. This year, 35 per cent of students said they first found out about their school via the Internet, compared with only 19 per cent in 2002, while 33 per cent said they had been told about the school by an agent, up from 22 per cent in our previous survey. A much higher proportion of students also booked through an agency this year; up from 11 per cent in 2002 to 38 per cent.

Standard of the schools
With student numbers varying from two to nine, class sizes at the schools in our survey were small, averaging six students. Not surprisingly then, only four per cent of students said there were too many students in their class. Looking at the standard of individual aspects of the study package, the teaching was rated either excellent or good by 92 per cent of students, while the academic programme was graded at least satisfactory by 84 per cent of respondents, and 77 per cent said the same of social arrangements. When we asked students if they would recommend their programme to others, 93 per cent said yes (four per cent said they would not, while three per cent gave no reply).

Living in Italy
In terms of the cost of living in Italy, 45 per cent of students said they found it to be about the same as their home countries, while 39 per cent said it was higher. All our Korean respondents and 55 per cent of Japanese students said they found Italy to be more expensive than at home. On average, students spent e389 (US$448) on tuition and accommodation per week.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: Babilonia-Centro di Lingua & Cultura Italiana, Taormina, Sicily; Il Globo, Florence; International House Dilit, Rome; Linguaviva, Florence; Omnilingua, San Remo; Societa Dante Alighieri, Siena; Studioitalia, Rome; The British Institute of Florence, Florence
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