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Contents - January 2005


Special Report
Stepping up standards
Quality assurance has become increasingly important among language schools, due to rising competition between schools and study destinations, and also because of concerns regarding the legitimacy of institutions that provide a route into a country for student visa holders. Jane Vernon Smith discovers that both association-led quality assurance schemes and government-endorsed national registration schemes have a role to play within the industry.


City Focus
New York's buzz
The Big Apple sells itself better than any other destination in the world, with an iconic status created through film and reputation. Language schools in the city say they endeavour to make students feel at home, relates Bethan Norris.



Destination
England's Midlands and north

Agents seem unanimous in their impression of England's Midlands and north as a friendly destination that allows for great immersion opportunities. Gillian Evans profiles some institutions in this region and finds out what experiences they offer.



Opinion

Engendering trust
There are many factors involved in a student's decision about where to study, some are obvious and some play a more subtle role in the decision-making process. The affordability of a language course has a huge implication on a student - this encompasses issues such as the economic health of a student's home country, the tuition prices charged by a language school, the cost of living in a chosen destination and part-time work possibilities. Other issues that come into play are airfare prices and, for long-term students, access to free health care.

Combined with affordability is the issue of visa issuance. This issue is of concern for all language schools, with simple and successful visa issuance the holy grail for language schools worldwide. A general rise in enrolments at South African language schools has been attributed to a comparably relaxed visa system there.

Future plans for academic study also figure in the mix. Ireland plans to attract more international students into its higher education sector, realising the growth potential of the market. We detail a number of foundation courses geared towards further study in the UK in our new feature, Spotlight, in this issue.

Once these factors have been considered, the lure or attraction of a country or specific destination is likely to have some impact on a student's decision. Schools in New York testify that the city has a strong appeal for many students. But as Japanese agents reveal in our Agency Survey, this is not always the case. Only 71 per cent of Japanese agency clients had a specific country in mind prior to consultation with an agent.

Finally, there is recommendation or personal assurance to consider. This influences many students who visit an agency or talk to their friends and family. Personal satisfaction or connection is also important to agents. In several cases, agents point to close relations with school staff as a prime reason for working with that institution.

Quality is of course also important. Ireland is considering quality certification for language schools while existing quality schemes are upping the ante and improving their standards. But as well as defined quality standards, it is clear that business in this industry is born out of trust and friendship. We hope to foster this sense of international community in Language Travel Magazine, and hope to hear from you all during the year.


Opinion
Engendering trust
There are many factors involved in a student's decision about where to study, some are obvious and some play a more subtle role in the decision-making process.

News
Ireland looking at quality control
Changes made to Australia's Neas
Wellington, NZ, courts students
Second association for South Africa
Refusal rate rockets in UK
New schools for Malvern House

Travel News
Australia-Asia links improved
New routes to and from Bournemouth
Scotland links up with Prague
Rebound in arrivals

Agency News
Another workshop success for Fedele
QE visits Ialca in Italy
Agency offers Czech lessons

Agency Survey
Japan's slow heartbeat
There have been some changes in market trends in Japan, but the overall growth rate among agencies who took part in this year's Agency Survey remains minimal.

Feedback
Australia feedback
A rise in the number of Asian students, coupled with an increase in class sizes, meant that students were less happy with their classroom environment in this year's Feedback survey on Australia.

Course Guide
Schools in Canada
More and more high schools in Canada are offering students the chance to experience classroom life and there are a range of medium- to long-term programmes available.

Direction
Young developments
Younger students, more groups and an emphasis on security and value for money all characterise the junior sector of the language travel market today. Gillian Evans reports.

Spotlight
Foundation to success
Academic preparation programmes are rising in popularity as students and agents realise the value of a programme that aids orientation into a new study environment and culture. We profile a range of courses on offer in the UK.

Status
Status: Malta 2003
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.