January 2005 issue

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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.

Australia feedback at a glance
Total number of students: 213 female 113, male 97 (Unknown 3)

Average age in years: 23.6

Average length of programme in weeks: 17.3

Average number of students in class: 14.8

Average number of hours of language tuition per week: 23.7

% of students who found their course through an agent: 55

% of students who booked through an agent or adviser: 65

% of students who had been on another lang. programme: 17

% of students who would recommend their school: 83

Respondents by world region of origin Top nationalities
Asia (75%)
W Europe (8%)
C & L America (8%)
C & E Europe (3%)
Unknown (3%)
Middle East (2%)
Other (1%)
Japanese 23%
Korean 19%
Chinese (11%)
Thai (8%)
Taiwanese (5%)
Brazilian (4%)
Hong Kong (3%)
German (3%)
Mexican (1%)
Swiss (1%)

In my class there are... How will you use your English in the future?
Too many students (18%)
Too many students who speak my language (22%)
Too many students from one other country (17%)
None of these (38%)
Unknown (5%)
For college study in Australia (47%)
For college study in another English-speaking destination (9%)
For college study at home (6%)
For current/future work (31%)
For pleasure only (6.5%)
Unknown (0.5%)

How did you find your programme? Standard of your social programme
Recommended by an agent 55%
Recommended by a friend/relative 26%
I found it on the Internet (12%)
I saw it advertised (5%)
Unknown (2%)
Excellent (8%)
Good (31%)
Satisfactory (33%)
Poor (11%)
Unsatisfactory (2%)
Unknown (15%)

Standard of your academic programme Standard of your accommodation
Excellent (13%)
Good (45%)
Satisfactory (21%)
Poor (4%)
Unsatisfactory (2%)
Unknown (15%)
Excellent (18%)
Good (32%)
Satisfactory (27%)
Poor (4%)
Unsatisfactory (2%)
Unknown (17%)

Standard of the teaching Before looking for your course, did you know where you wanted to study?
Excellent (12%)
Good (45%)
Satisfactory (21%)
Poor (5%)
Unsatisfactory (2%)
Unknown (15%)
Yes (75%)
No (11%)
Unknown (14%)

Yes (58%)
No (28%)
Unknown (14%)

Yes (34%)
No (52%)
Unknown (14%)

Student nationality
In contrast to last year's Feedback survey on Australia, which revealed a decrease in the dominance of Asian nationalities at Australian language schools (see Language Travel Magazine, March 2004, pages 17-18), the proportion of Asian students was up again this year. Asian students made up 75 per cent of our student respondents this year, compared with just 60 per cent last year. Japan, Korea and China remained Australia's largest student providers, although Chinese students played a smaller role this year, being relegated to third place from the top position last year. The rest of the student mix was largely evenly spread around the world and, overall, 34 different nationalities were represented.

Student motivation
Learning English for further study in Australia was the most common reason given by our respondents for their study abroad trip, with 47 per cent of students choosing this option. Of the nine per cent of students intending to go on to college study in another English-speaking country, 84 per cent were from Asia. With so many students concentrating on learning English for further studies, it is no surprise to find that 52 per cent of respondents were in the 20-to-25 year old age range. Overall, students were aged between 15 and 45 years and 88.5 per cent were aged between 16 and 30. The average length of stay remained similar to last year's average of 16.9 weeks and 75 per cent of students were studying for 10 weeks or over.

Student enrolment
Agent usage was generally high among our respondents with 55 per cent of students first finding out about their school through an agent and 65 per cent booking their course via an agency. Overall, 68 per cent of Asian students booked their course through an agent this year, compared with 50 per cent of Central and Eastern Europeans, 69 per cent of Central and Latin Americans, and 59 per cent of Western Europeans. The Internet proved to be the first port of call when finding a school for just 19 per cent of Asian students, 18 per cent of Western Europeans and 13 per cent of Central and Latin Americans.

Standard of the schools
Overall, 83 per cent of students who answered the question said that they would recommend their school to others, although 17 per cent of respondents didn't give a reply. At 14.8, the average number of students in a class was higher than last year's figure of 11.2, resulting in an increase in students who thought that there were too many students in their class. Of those who agreed with this statement, 87 per cent were in classes of 15 students or over. In total, 32 per cent of Japanese students thought that there were too many students who spoke their own language in their class, and 18 per cent of Koreans and 22 per cent of Chinese students felt the same way.

Living in Australia
With an average weekly spend by students of AUS$367 (US$492) on language tuition and accommodation, Australia was considered to have a higher cost of living by 54 per cent of students, when compared with the cost of living in their own countries. The majority of students - 58 per cent - also said they found it quite hard or very hard to practise their English language skills with the Australian people.

Thank you to the following schools for participating in our survey: ACL, Sydney, NSW; ACTH Management, Melbourne, VIC; Adelaide Institute of Tafe, Adelaide, SA; AG Mate Academy, Sydney, NSW; Aspect ILA, Perth, WA; Billy Blue English School, Sydney, NSW; Geos School of English, Brisbane, QLD; Monash University, Caulfield East, VIC; North Sydney Institute Tafe English Language Centre, St Leonards, NSW; Perth International College of English, Perth, WA; Queensland Institute of Business and Technology, Mt Gravatt, QLD; Southbank Institute of Tafe, Brisbane, QLD; Sydney West International College, Westmead, NSW; Universal English College, Sydney, NSW; UNSW Institute of Languages, Kensington, NSW; University of Queensland, Brisbane, QLD; University of Western Australia CELT, Crawley, WA; Wollongong University College, Wollongong, NSW.
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