Contents - January 2009

Special Report
Junior focus
Student numbers for junior programmes are on the up, although the extra expertise involved in catering successfully for this market means that more providers are becoming specialists in this sector and the number of overall providers may be going down. Bethan Norris examines junior course trends among language schools worldwide.

Market Report
Spain hopeful
It’s a tense time for Spanish language schools; the global economic downturn could spell trouble for providers but with newer marketing tools in place and a concerted effort to concentrate on more popular course offerings, many remain steadfast. Nicola Hancox reports.

Outdoor life in NZ
An exhilarating country offering thrilling landscapes and adrenalin-fuelled fun for those in search of man-made adventure, New Zealand sounds like an inviting study destination with high quality, caring schools and welcoming cities too. Amy Baker reports.


Acorns and oaks

A new year heralds anticipation and, in England if we are lucky, a smattering of snow. Elsewhere around the world, January is the hottest month in the year and the beach beckons. Wherever you spend the New Year, I hope that you have time to reflect a little on the year ahead amid the mayhem and merrymaking.

Having time and space to think about expectations can be a crystallising experience – half-formed ideas and thoughts can become concrete action plans. It must have been an acorn of an idea once – but a global agency network in the shape of IAE Global is now very much a reality, whether you favour such unionism or not. I was reading about the UK’s major school operators (page 7) and thinking that an alliance of international agencies is the closest thing that the agency industry has to mega-chains of schools.

One positive about agency conglomeration is that the new muscle power of big agency brands has brought with it a trend towards higher commissions, in my opinion. Once one company demands a starting point of 30 per cent, the ball is rolling, and the parameters of the playing field may be up for discussion again.

Perhaps I am hearing about higher commissions because educators want to keep their agencies on side in case of any depressed demand in the year ahead. But as our agents indicate in this month’s Industry Issues (page 9), there is little concern at the moment that demand will fall long-term, although counsellors in our news report suggest a possible revision to destination choice if money is tight (page 6).

With the UK ushering in its new student visa system soon, schools will be concerned that the changeover is a smooth one, for fear of giving students, and their agents, a reason to consider an alternative destination. We talk to operators in the country and find out how the new system will impact on students (pages 38-41). If, however, agencies were to consider and reflect on options for their clients, they could add Cyprus to the list of English language learning destinations. The tourism board in the country is keen to work with the trade to grow “learning tourism” (page 8).

Agencies are not in a bad position as we enter 2009; the profession has been reinforced by new competitive thinking and educators are appreciating their partners more than ever. Good service means good rewards, and good service is not just about volume but quality and loyalty too.

Acorns and oaks

Financial crisis fallout on study abroad
Plimsoll Report assesses UK big guns
Three new members for Ialc
Japan wants to woo international students
Russia - China language link up
Alphe Russia grows in size
Two brands expand

Agency News
Cyprus Tourism embracing study abroad market
Learning’s student fair in Colombia

Agency Survey
UK cautious
The UK study abroad industry is cautious, but agencies are thinking outside the box and relying on strong branding to see them through a recession.

Fewer students in France sourced their programme via the Internet this year with many relying on the advice of an advisor instead. However, there was a disparity between those using an agency for advice and those actually booking with one.

German plus culture
German plus culture courses offer students the means to learn the language while also gaining an understanding of Germany’s impressive cultural background. Whatever a student’s interest, they will surely be able to find a course to suit their needs.

Course Guide
Juniors in Ireland
Junior programmes give children under the age of 16 the opportunity to learn a language alongside students of the same age. With many schools offering junior courses during the summer, children can utilise their summer vacation time to pursue such courses. With a range of sporting and social activities breaking up study time, students can benefit from either a one- or two-week course with the choice of residential or host family accommodation.

Malta 2007
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.